Bærums verk was a old iron smelting village on the Western outskirts of Oslo that has been refurbished into a shopping village. It was built in 1641 in its current location. It was the biggest iron plant in Norway in the 1700s and had a great impact during the Great Nordic war.
The smelter was shut down in 1964 but continued production in carpentry, making doors. In the 1980s, the protected buildings, combined with award winning architecture and restoration work, made the foundation for a heritage shopping and craft hub.
The king of Denmark owned Bærums verk from 1610 to 1624. The Norwegian Iron Company owned it from 1624 to 1640. It closed down after a flood in 1638. In 1641 the Dutchman, Gabriel Marcelis, became the new owner and moved the plant to its current location (and apprantly ran it much better with producing more pure iron). The plant manufactured nails, cannons and cannonballs.
From 1664 the family Krefting ran the plant which then became the largest plant in Norway. For four years it was then run by a holding company. Conrad Clausen took over the plant in 1773 at the age of 18. He included new modes of operation which led to the kiln being run all year round. (Before they couldn’t run in winter because there wasn’t enough flowing water in the Lomma river.) Clausen died at 31 after establishing a trade school at the location. His widow ran the plant for a few years before it got sold to Peder Anker in 1791.
Anker reopened one of the old mines and rebuilt roads. His son-in-law, Count Herman Wedel Jarlsberg, became the owner in 1824 before his son, Baron Harald Wedel Jarlsberg, took over the operation in 1840. Harald was an educated naval officer and was the last person to run the plant by the old method. He was also the Mayor of Bærum for several terms.
In 1898 the plant was turned into a co-op, which consisted of Baron Jarlsbergs’ heirs and Carl Otto Løvenskiold, who was also the Prime Minister of Norway at the time. Løvenskoid was also a son-in-law and a newphew of Jarslberg. At the time, it was not proper for young women to inherit business and Jarslberg only had three daughters. Therefore he brought his son-in-laws into the inheritance to keep the money in the family. The plant was later turned into a Limited Company and still is today, even though the smelter was closed down in 1964.
Apart from all the big name dropping, Bærums verk is a nice, casual place to visit for an afternoon. It is a place where you can find Norwegian fine specialty stores mixed with craft and bric-a-brac stores. They have a glass workshop where you can see the blowing and buy handmade goblets and trinkets.
The stores are packed with quirky items that certainly aren’t for minimalist tastes. All sorts of ‘one-of-its-kind’ can be found.
Of course there are stores selling freshly made Norwegian treats such as smultringer, waffles and lefse – hot to go.
Often in winter there are reindeer rides for the kids too.
To get to Bærum is a 30 minute bus ride from Oslo bus terminal.