Norsk industriarbeidermuseum
Maskinhallen på Vemork
Foto: Ian Brodie/NIA

World Heritage Site

On 5 July 2015 Rjukan-Notodden Industrial Heritage Site was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The inscription is based on an epochal invention: the industrial production of fertiliser for agriculture using hydropower.

Professor Kristian Birkeland and engineer Sam Eyde pioneered the development of the electric arc furnace, which made it possible to bind nitrogen from the air and produce fertiliser for farmers. By harnessing the energy from waterfalls and channelling the water through tunnels and pipes, it was made possible to build large-scale power plants and vast amounts of electric power. It is the most important invention ever made in Norway.

Inscription on the World Heritage List represents the highest recognition bestowed on a site, and implies responsibility to safeguard World Heritage Sites for posterity. The Rjukan-Notodden Industrial Heritage Site runs from Møsvatn Lake in Vinje to Heddalsvannet Lake in Notodden, comprising 97 significant objects.


Work is under way to establish World Heritage Centres in Notodden and Rjukan, where we will disseminate and manage the four main components of the Rjukan-Notodden World Heritage Site:

  • Power production, including dams, tunnels and power plants.
  • The factories, including the production methods for producing mineral fertiliser
  • The towns of Rjukan and Notodden
  • The Rjukanbanen-Tinnosbanen transport artery, which served as the lifeline to the world market.