The Iron Works at Næs - a brief guide
A historic walk through the industrial era at Næs Iron Works Museum
What is Næs Iron Works Museum?
At Nes Verk in Tvedestrand - on the southern coast of Norway - there is a unique old iron works. It is almost intact and completely preserved, consisting of buildings, machinery and equipment which date back to the 17th, 18th and the 19th centuries. It is thus one of the technical industrial sites of cultural heritage in Norway, which enjoys the highest priority.
Video and a guided tour
Visitors have the opportunity of watching old authentic film recordings, showing the production of iron and steel in the good old days. The film depicts the various stages; the burning of charcoal in the forest, iron ore extraction down in the mines, as well as forging of steel under large water-driven hammers.
Afterwards a guided tour in and around the museum premises is held. Then one has the chance of seeing the old production equipment inside the buildings as it looks like today. The museum guide will offer many explanations and mention a whole range of relevant topics in a most interesting fashion. The visit at Næs Iron Works Museum ensures that you gain an insight into how this important activity was operated in the good old days, not merely at Næs, but also at the other old iron works in Norway. Scroll down to read more about the history of the site.
Opening hours and contact information:
From 15th of May to 31st of August, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Otherwise an appointment has to be made.
Entrance fees: Adults: 50 NOK Children: 25 NOK, Families: 125 NOK.
Address: Næs Jernverksmuseum, Nes Verk, 4900 Tvedestrand
Phone: +47 37 16 05 00
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Click here to download our museum leaflet!
Depart from the motor way "E-18" at Fianesvingen (Fiane) to the west of Tvedestrand and drive three kilometres northbound on the road "riksveg 415" to Nes Verk. Click on "Finn veien til museet" in the leftside menu to see a map of the area. Click here for general tourist information of the area.
A brief summary of the history of the iron works
In 1574 an iron works was established in Arendal. It was called Barbu Iron Works and upheld its operations until approximately 1660. From 1665, Baaseland Iron Works close to Nes was established as Barbu's successor. In 1738 the name Baaseland Iron Works was altered to Nes Verk. After 1870 almost every iron works in Norway had closed down.
The smelting of iron ore in the charcoal-based blast furnace at Næs continued as long as up until 1909. The rest of the activity continued using the old equipment until the dams belonging to the iron works burst during a massive flood on Friday 13 November 1959. Consequently, the works' operations were finally brought to a close, and the works was shut down.
A multiple activity
Apart from being the second largest iron works in Norway, it to a large extent refined its own raw materials. There were foundries, steel mills, rolling mills, a forge, a mechanical workshop and factories producing files, horse-shoes, horse-shoe-nails and axes.
The majority of the employees, however, were occupied with burning charcoal, extracting iron ore in the mines and transportation. Furthermore, the works engaged in farming and forestry, mills, wood processing, shipping and trade. From 1853 onwards Egelands Iron Works was run as a branch of Nes Verk.
Establishing a museum
Right from the very close-down of the activity in 1959, efforts were made with a view to preserving the plant HTML clipboard as a site of technical cultural heritage. This happened in 1967. Ever since the authorities have made great efforts to secure the plant and ensure access to the public. In 1993 the museum was opened to the public, and new attractions are constantly being restored and displayed to visitors.
What made the iron works famous?
The main product of all the old iron works was wrougt iron, sold in rods of varying dimensions. Today Nes Verk is mainly renowned for its production of elegant stoves, dating back to the first part of the 19th century. From 1860 onwards the manufacturing of special high-quality steel was predominant. Among other things the works produced cannons of steel which were delivered to the Norwegian Field Artillery towards the end of last century.
Other places worth seeing
The cultural landscape, the museum premises and their surroundings have not changed noticeably over the past 150 years. The old romantic park "Lunden" is being restored, and is now a nice place for strolling and picnics. Storelva, the river running through the middle of the iron works - which earlier powered all the pieces of machinery - is today an outstanding resort for the purpose of sports-fishing, especially salmon and sea trout-fishing. There are marked-up paths leading to the old workers' houses, and the adjacent golf course at Nes Verk is one of the largest and most beautiful in all of Norway.