The Cobalt Works

There are activities for everybody at the Cobalt Works! Here you will find the annual art exhibition, historical exhibitions of the Cobalt Works, tourist information, homemade food at the Barrelmakers’ Inn and The Blue Shop.

At the Cobalt Works there are activities for all generations. Here you can find the annual art exhibition, historical exhibitions about the Cobalt Works and Mines, Tourist Information, homemade food in our cafeteria the Barrelmaker’s Inn, and exciting shopping in the Blue Shop. The Bouldering Cave for children and the Children’s Farm are fun activities for the kids.

The Cobalt Works are the old industrial area by the river Simoa that through over 50 years are transformed from an abandoned and dilapidated area to one of Norway’s most visited tourist attractions containing industrial history, art exhibitions and experiences for all generations in green and pleasant surroundings.


Museum and historical exhibitions

The chemical transformation of the cobalt ore to the cobalt blue pigment took place at the Cobalt Works. After transporting the ore by horse and cart from the mines, the ore was crushed in the crushing plant by the waterfall and further transported across the river to the Works. Here the chemical process took place and the product, cobalt blue pigment, was shipped all round the world in wooden barrels.

The foundation was made at Skuterud Hill in 1772 when there was discovered cobalt and the mining started immediately. To do the chemical processes they needed crushing plants, mills, and large ovens for melting processes. This needed power and that power had to be made in a waterfall. Therefore, the Cobalt Works was built 8 km away from the Cobalt Mines, by the Haugfossen waterfall.

The growth was rapid and during the first half of the 1800’s the Cobalt Works became Norway’s largest company with more than 2000 employees at it’s most. The history of the Cobalt Works and Mines are like a fairy tale but like all fairy tales this one also ended. In 1893 the Cobalt Works and Mines were history.

Here is a quick introduction to the museum:

Tourist Office
The old, logged house by the entrance to the museum contains the regions Tourist Office. It is also a ticket shop for the Cobalt Works, kiosk, and a selection of our souvenirs can be bought here.

It is important to us that the museum is available for everybody. That is why you do not have to pay for parking og buy a ticket to enter the area. The only ticket we sell at the Cobalt Works is to enter the annual art exhibition. Even our Sunday concerts during the summer has got a free entrance.

The Smeltery
The main building at the Cobalt Works was built in 1776. This is where the concerts take place and contains exhibitions on the process from cobalt ore to cobalt pigment.

The Barrelmaker’s Inn
In the building where all the barrels were made in the old days, we have our cafeteria today.

The wheelhouse and the glass pavilion
Used to house the water wheels powering the plant. Today containing a presentation of our archives and history.

The Blue shop
Housed the mill where the melted glass was crushed to pigment/powder. Today this is our glass shop with the largest selection of blue glass in the Nordic region. We also exhibit old glass and porcelain from all round the world containing cobalt.

The Childrens Farm
Walk among the animals at our farm. Goats, hens, calves, rabbits, horses, and other farm animals live here during the summer. This is a good opportunity to come close to animals for the first time. Free entrance.

Children’s bouldering cave
Next to the Smeltery there is a cave. For many years people have been wondering what it is. Some think it is the Cobalt Mines, some children think it is the home of the trolls. Now they do not have to wonder any more, because it has become the Children’s Bouldering cave.

Art exhibition
Our annual art exhibitions have shown Scandinavian art of high quality since 1978. The exhibition also contains a bookshop with a wide selection of our own art literature, postcards, and posters.

Park areas
The museum is surrounded by a large park area. This area by the Simoa river is perfect for recreation and on hot summer days you can find it refreshing with a little swim. There is also a little playground here.

The park is also the base for two of our cultural trails in the area, The Haugfoss trail and the Nymoen trail.

Please take a tour on our website and discover everything you can experience by visiting us.

Other things you can see and experience at The Cobalt Works