Today the Telemark region of Norway is celebrating the addition of Notodden and Rjukan to the UNESCO World Heritage List. Hydro's contribution includes the new website industriarven.no, a popularized account of what this world heritage really means.
There was a lot of excitement on 5 July when UNESCO decided to include Hydro's founding in Telemark in its exclusive World Heritage List. The official celebration is happening today, with befitting events in Notodden and Tinn, and a boat trip across Tinnsjøen aboard the ferry Storegut which is itself part of the heritage. Among the guests are Environment Minister Tine Sundtoft, Director for Cultural Heritage Jørn Holme, mayors of the two towns involved and Hydro CEO Svein Richard Brandtzæg.
"The unique recognition represented by being added to the UNESCO World Heritage List fills us with both pride and humility. It is this legacy we are building on every day when we work to renew Hydro to meet current and future challenges," says Brandtzæg.
"It is a fantastic recognition of the innovative engineering expertise, determination and social awareness shown by the company's founders."
The world heritage in Notodden and Tinn is basically the industrial legacy of the first two decades of the last century. This was when scientist Kristian Birkeland, engineer Sam Eyde and project manager Sigurd Kloumann created Norsk Hydro together. In addition, Eyde and Kloumann separately built several companies that became central in Norwegian history. They drove the second industrial revolution in Norway, and created growth, optimism, jobs and new industrial towns. In fact, the building of Hydro was not just the beginning of a spectacular industrial adventure; it was also the first viable green shoot of what would become a whole new industry.
"The work carried out by the founders was of an exceptionally high quality. More than 100 years later, what they created is still relevant and to some extent still in operation. It is unique on a world scale, and will give Telemark an even more prominent place on the world map," says Brandtzæg.
Hydro has contributed to the celebration with the launch today of the new website industriarven.no.
"We want to help make this industrial heritage and Hydro's origins better known and accessible to many more people," says Ole Johan Sagafos in Hydro about the website, which was developed in collaboration with the Industrial Workers' Museum.
"The target audience is primarily not history buffs already familiar with the details, but tourists, especially families with children, who are planning a road trip or are maybe already on tour. As a result, we have developed a 'one-pager' that is easily accessible, with short, popularized texts that are easy to read on PCs, tablets and mobile phones."
He says that industriarven.no is a work in progress, and the plan is to develop it further, with more content, new experiences and opportunities to dig deeper into the history of how Hydro began.
Industriarven.no is currently only available in Norwegian, but additional languages will be added in the future.