three green bullets

1929 - 1945

Hydro struggled with market slumps, trade barriers and labor unrest. During the Second World War, Germany occupied Norway and Allied attacks damaged many Hydro facilities.

Workers in front of a locomotive

The distance from Rjukan in Upper Telemark to Herøya in Lower Telemark is just under 160 kilometers as the crow flies. The railway connection from Rjukan to Notodden and then on to Herøya truly was the lifeline of Norsk Hydro.

The big party

The twenties were difficult years, and the thirties were even harder. But to understand how Hydro managed to manoeuvre through the great depression, we first have to take some steps back to the 1920s.


The 1920s and the early 1930s were fraught with political tension and labor conflicts. In 1931, during the depression, companies were forced to reduce production costs. In Norway, this led to the great lock-out - lasting from April to September of 1931.


In 1939 Hydro acquired land by the sea in Lower Telemark to provide its employees with opportunities for open-air recreation. The area is now known as Hydrostrand Hydro beach and has 80 cabins.

Herøya Plant

Hydro saw a future in the production of metal. It already had valuable access to hydroelectric power, which presented an opportunity. But the entry into this new industry tuned out to be both dramatic and unexpected.

Rjukan plant

The Allied forces high command in London determined that the Germans must be stopped from developing an atomic reactor and nuclear bomb at any cost.