A legend has it that two shepherd children discovered silver in a valley in the Kongsberg area, Norway in 1623. When the Kongsberg Silved Mines were closed in 1958 it was the largest mining field in Norway from pre-modern time, with more than 200 different mines. At its peak in 1770, 4,000 workers were engaged there. Visit the silver city in Norway. The silver mines are still open for tourists.
The city of Konsgsberg (meaning ‘the mountain of the king’) lies just a little more than one hour by train from Oslo. The Silver Mines in Kongsberg were once the place where all the silver was mined to produce coins for the whole country. Today, the city still has an eerie energy that brings Middle Earth to mind.
Related: Norway’s Mining Past
Between 1623 and 1957, silver mining made Kongsberg Norway’s second largest city for a brief period. The city produced over a million kilograms of the world’s most coveted form of silver, the native wire silver. Today, you can join a train ride that takes you, 342 meters below the surface and 2.3 kilometers into the deepest mountains through stopes, adits and shafts- The “Fahrkunst”, a mine elevator built in 1881 is just one of many attractions to experience on a guided tour which takes about 1,5 hours.
Kongsberg’s Mining Museum is in fact five museums housed under the same roof and there you can see one of the biggest raw silver collections in the world, learn the history of coinage and even brush up your knowledge on Norwegian minerals in a range of extraordinary presentations. The exhibitions include the world’s largest crystalized silver exhibition, the Ski exhibition, The Royal Norwegian Mint Exhibition, the Kongsberg Industry exhibition and the Norwegian Minerals and Mining exhibition. The Mint Collection holds the Norwegian central bank’s collection of coins and medals dating back over 300 years.
Related: The Cobalt Works and Mines in Norway
The Stone Chambers
Be sure to be dressed warm, for the temperature in the mines is just 6 degrees Celsius. The Stone Chambers, built in 1943, was once a storage room for the National Archives of Norway with 2,000 shelf meters of documents. From July 1943 to June 1945 a dozen people had their daily work there. Today, it is a banquet hall with a capacity for 200 people used for events, concerts and company get-togethers.
The Silver Mines, located 8 kilometers west of Central Kongsberg, are open seven days a week from May to September.
The Activity Square
Outside the Silver Mines, the Activity Square provides fun and educational activities where children can learn and take part in the tasks of a traditional miner. You can make your own coin in the same technique as was used in Kongsberg 300 years ago. With a hammer and chisel you can “excavate” minerals that are yours to keep.
There is also a popular spot for bathing, a café (Sakkerhuskroa) and a museum shop in “Sakkerhusene”. Sakkerhusene was traditionally the shelters used by the miners during the week. These magnificent buildings were built by architect Georg Andreas Bull between the period 1867 and 1874. Sakkerhuskroa is open daily from 18 May to 30 August, and during weekends in September.
Beer as cold as your ex’s heart
Kongsberg Bryggeri is a small microbrewery hidden in an alley. Once they had a sign declaring that they served “beer as cold as your ex’s heart”. The beer selection is indeed cool and not to be missed. Groups should definitely arrange a beer tasting.
Krona Kino in Kongsberg is part of a cultural center and also a part of the local university. Going to watch a movie there feels almost like you just stepped on campus. When it comes to your viewing experience, however, the shows are just as professionally as in any good cinema in the world with 4D movies, latest releases and all.
The Silver City in Norway
In 2014 Kongsberg celebrated 200 years in business, emerging as a pioneering global technology provider. Today, Kongsberg is Norway’s leading industrial technology enterprise in a number of fields within the maritime, defense, aerospace, oil, gas and digitalization sectors.
In April, Kongsberg Maritime parent company Kongsberg Gruppen, following European Commission approval, completed the acquisition of Rolls-Royce Commercial Marine (RRCM). Officially part of Kongsberg Maritime, RRCM will operate under the Kongsberg brand and the Kongsberg Maritime legal entity.
The Silver City in Norway, written by Tor Kjolberg