Bærums Verk - from ironworks to shopping & culture
400 years ago, King Christian IV of Denmark and Norway wanted his kingdom to be selfsufficient in iron production.His wish became reality when an iron ore was discovered at Kirkerud- and Eineåsen in Bærum. In1610, Paul Smelter as given the Kings commission to set up a melting hut at Wøyen. In 1922 the first melting furnace in the country was built here. In 1641 the ironworks was moved to where its remains are found today. During the ironworks heyday, everything from cannon balls and cannons to bar iron, armoured plates and rivets were produced. Later items, such as ovens, grave ornamentations, kitchen utensils, hardware and machine parts gradually became the mainstays of production. Five light-houses were also cast at Bærums Verk.One well known lighthouse; “Færder” (1855) is standing at the entrance of the Oslo Fjord. The Løkke Bridge in Sandvika was casted at the ironworks in 1829, and in 1895 it was immortalized by the French impressionist painter,Claude Monet.1872 saw the end of the meltery and the beginning of a foundry and mechanical workshop that lasted until 1964. The area surrounding Bærums Verk saw an extensive housing boom in the 1980’s which created the cornerstone for the development of Handelsstedet Bærums Verk.
Verksgata at Bærums Verk has a rich and exciting artisan milieu. From the era of the iron works, there has been skilled craftsmen at Bærums Verk. Woodcarvers and smiths have had their production tasks.For the rich decorated oven plates, the moulds were first carved in wood, and afterwards the plates were casted in sand. Today one will discover a dynamic atmosphere within the handicrafts, strolling down Verksgata, the main street of Bærums Verk. Among others one will find a blacksmith, glassblowers, a special shop for patchwork, carpenter’s workshop and traditional Norwegian handicrafts. The18th century wooden living quarters of the workers have been restored, and is now providing a distrinctive framework for this memorable setting. Here one can purchase that unique gift. Here is something for every taste and every occasion.
A stroll down Verksgata is a pleasant experience in itself. From the smithy’s sounds the clang of the anvil, and from the carpenter’s workshop one can enjoy the smell of freshly cut wood. If one is lucky,one can also see the most exquisite glasses being blown.“custom made” gifts are being produced by the artisans at Bærums Verk.
THE FOUNDRY - THE FURNACE - THE IRON STOCK
Trade and commerce have always been of central importance to Bærums Verk’s history. This tradition continues today. In 1985, restoration began to revitalize the old buildings into a charming cultural and social centre. The second stage in this process accured in 1997 with the refurbishment of the old production locations: The foundry, the furnace and the iron stock. Today, Bærums Verk has become a unique shopping centre in historical surroundings. Apart from shops that offers necessities and services for the local community (such as health services, food, clothing and leasure activities), there are also speciality establishments in interior design. In the spring of 1998, “Handelsstedet Bærums Verk” received ICSC’s international prize for innovative thinking within the development of shoppingcentres.
Prize for building esthetics.
In earlier days, this section contained workshops such as a smithy, tinker workshop and a gaswork. After a large fire ravaged the area, the octangular Gas Building (1870) was the only one left standing. This gas building, together with the Tavern (1640) and the Stoke House (1924) created the foundation for the new row of houses that were constructed in 1985. Løvenskiold-Vækerø recieved an arcitectual prize for Building Esthetics in 1988 for this new development. Here is to be found eating establishments, shops and various services.
THE MUSEUM OF BÆRUMS VERK - THE OVEN MUSEUM
The oven museum houses an unique collection of antique cast-iron ovens produced at the Ironworks. The styles and designs shown strech from the baroque period in the the 1700’s up to the end of production in 1964.
The museum is included in a guided tour at Bærums Verk.