|In the heart of Buskerud County there is a valley which was central to the golden age of Norwegian painting. The Valley of Artists it is called, because well-known painters such as Edvard Munch, Chr. Krogh, Tidemand & Gude, and others painted many masterpieces here.
What was it that triggered this creativity in these well travelled artists? The answer lies in the open, bewitching landscape, from where the shapes of trolls emerge - if only you keep your eyes open. Many put it down on the canvas, and the painters Chr. Krogh and Th. Kittelsen took up residence here to be close to their motifs. Join a roundtrip through the valley which inspired so many.
The towship / municipality of Modum, situated in the heart of the county of Buskerud, is most renowned for its rivers, forests and healthy climate. The rivers, with their many rapids, provide beautiful scenery and recreation as well as having been the basis for industry in Modum since the 16th century. First the saw-mills, then Blaafarveværket (the cobolt mine works), and later the wood-processing industry have all been dependent on the rivers. The inclusion of the rivers in the municipal coat of arms is, therefore, no surprise.
The trip starts at Blaafarveværket, which, in its time, was the world´s leading supplier of cobalt blue to the glass and porcelain industry. The ore was mined from the Skuteruåsen ridge, 7-8 km to the north. Between 1830 and 1840, this was Norway´s largest mining operation with nearly 2,000 employees. The Blaafarveværket exported cobal dye all over the world, including China. The works was gradually forced to close down when cobolt was produced chemically at the beginning of the 1870s.
The wooden framed houses are 200 years old, and the museum consists of five different constructions stretching out over an area five miles long. Here you can, among other things, see a diverse range of exhibitions, experience local history, visit the Children´s Farm, the Blue Shop at the Mill, or go to see the cobalt mines. Not least the place is known as one of Scandinavia´s most important exhibitors of pictorial art.
Heggen Church seen from the Ski-fly hill.
With beautiful ceiling and wallpaintings, have celebrate its 800 years anniversary in 1997. The municipality has been a popular health resort since the middle of the last century with Modum Bad, Vikersund Bad and several convalescent homes. The stable, healthy climate has attracted many visitors.
Vikersund Ski-fly arena
At Vikersund there is a world famous ski-fly areana with a slope record of 171 metres. The municipality of Modum covers 516 square kilometres and includes farmland, forests, mountains and lakes.
We continue along the river Simoa which is winding its way, wide and beautiful, up to Prestfoss. Next stop is an old country courtyard with buildings with tarred walls. The Centre for Folk and Traditional Music in Buskerud, and the museum of Sigdal and Eggedal offer presentations and activities throughout the summer. It is not just the nature, but also the cultural traditions, that makes Sigdal a miniature of Norway.
Sigdal and Eggedal museum is not a lifeless token of a past time. In the centre of an environment with buildings from the 18th century, you will find a pulsating and blooming cultural life. The places are teeming with people, and there is dancing and fun, and the opportunity to buy handicraft products. At Prestfoss lake Soneren begins. Here you can find Th. Kittelsen´s home Lauvlia, where he created his beautiful poetry of the nature. He decorated the house himself with carvings and paintings. You can see models of the toys he made for his children, and there are easels, brushes and paint ready for the little ones to use.
The home of Th. Kittelsen, Lauvlia lies beautifully by the Soneren lake. The house is decorated with Kittelsen´s own carvings and paintings. Theodor Kittelsen and his wife Inga had many children, and he made many of the children´s toys himself. The visitors can buy the wooden toys as a momentum of both Kittelsen´s spirit and Lauvlia. Visiting Lauvlia is like a fairytale coming true. Here Th. Kittelsen created the Norwegian troll and you can easily find out why he was inspired to do so.
There are many activities for the children, they can borrow painting shirts, canvas, paint and paint brushes - the young artists can paint the Andersnatten mountain and see if it turns into a troll. Afterwards they can rush up the children´s path, where they may find trolls hiding in the woods. At the edge of the woods, the outdoor amphitheatre, where one might see live trolls, is situated. Then the adventure continues into the troll cave.
Every year there are new exhibitions at Lauvlia that shed light on different aspects of Kittelsen´s art. The exhibition this year shows the variety of Kittelsen´s artistic career.
Welcome to the seters. In some parts of Norway, dairy cattle are still driven up to the "seter", or mountain pastures, in the summer, and the dairymaids and herdsmen - and fortunate visitors - still live in the picturesque, rustic cabins. Grøset Seter is located in beautiful natural surroundings, in the Troll country of Norwegian folk artist Theodor Kittelsen. Surrounded by thick, tar-impregnated timber walls peat roofs with the grass still groving on them, and with the sound of cow bells in the distance, you will be able to experiencc oldfashioned muntain dairying and taste real mountain food - delicious !
Eggedal, the valley between edges, is itself worth a visit as it was here Skredsvig discovered a hidden pearl which gave him plenty of inspiration. Sharp rock formations tower where wild waterfalls of the Eggedøla river come rushing down displaying a white froth. In Eggedal you will find Chr. Skredsvig´s house Hagan, high above Eggedal church. Christian Skredsvig was born the 12th of March 1854 in Modum. In 1869 Skredsvig travelled to Christiania (now called Oslo), and became a student at a painter"s school and the Royal Drawing School. Later on, he continued his studies in Copenhagen. In 1874, he went to Paris, but stayed in Munich, Germany during the period between 1875 and 1878. In 1879, he was back in Norway only to return to Paris.
The Salon in Paris was an annual art exhibition, and nobody would be considered as a "real" artist before they had been part of this. Christian Skredsvig had his first picture "Snekjøring på Seinen" estimated at the Salon in 1880. However, his most famous picture is "Bondegård i Venoix" for which he received a gold medal at the Salon in 1881. During the years between 1880 and 1890, Skredsvig had his best years as a painter.
Later, he also became an author and published autobiographies and novels. The artist was not influenced a great deal by the modernistic currents at the turn of the last century. The isolated environment of Eggedal could be one of the reasons for this. Throughout his entire artistic career, Christian Skredsvig maintained his classical style, clearly influenced by French naturalism. On January the 9th 1924, the artist died at his home, Hagan, in Eggedal. He will always have an important position amongst the masters of the golden age both as a painter and an author.
The home of Christian Skredsvig is situated on the top of Eggedal with a fantastic view of the valley. In his exciting house you can easily understand why the artist was inspired to paint several of his most famous pictures. It is a strange house, put together of several buildings, and there is a unique collection of 150 original paintings and drawings by Skredsvig himself and his artist friends. Beautiful and old rustic furniture also adorn the rooms. The home ist well-kept and true in every little detail from when Christian Skredsvig used to live here. Part of the house was originally a renovated barn.
Then you cross the Djupsjøen lake to Norefjell mountain, with its magnificent possibilities for hiking, summer and winter alike. On Norefjell you will find 24 kilometers of trails. The vertical rise is 1010 meters, and no other skiing resort in Norway can compete with that. There are good possibilities for offpiste skiing in a somewhat demanding and varied forest terrain. The fairytale castle Villa Fridheim is situated by the Krøderfjord. The large wooden building was raised in the 1890s in a unique style and it has a tower rising a 100 feet above the ground. The walls in the hall are embellished with large murals with motifs from the fairytales.
The Krøderfjord has been beautifully captured in the painting "Evening at the Krøder" by Tidemand & Gude from 1851. At the end of the fjord lies Krøderbanen. Norway´s oldest museum railroad, which is 16 miles long. You are taken back to the era of steam powered locomotives, with smoke and steam in historically correct surroundings from the turn of the last century. The gold miners town of Deadwood City at Kløftefoss is rampaged by cowboys every Sunday.
And - beware of trainrobbers!
From the Old Master.
Villa Fridheim is well worth a visit. It is a fairy tale castle originally built as a fashionable summer house, beautifully situated on the island of Bjørøya. A viariety of activities are available, such as: handicrafts, art exibitions, paintings & tableaux from well known and cherished fairy tales, etc. Also, an exciting walk through a fairy tale forest is offered for the kids.
A living museum is a steam powdered, standard gauge railway between Vikersund and Krøderen in Buskerud. The travelling distance of 26 kilometres (16 miles) makes it "the longest museum of Norway". Krøderen station is a superb example of an old Norwegian railway station. The steam train with wooden carriages operates Sundays in July and August. Throughout the summer we offer special arrangements. At Vikersund our trains correspond with trains from and back to Oslo.
One of Norway´s oldest ancestral fanns, belonging to the same family for more than 600 years.
The OLD Master
The famous tree which Jørgen Moe, (the poet, priest and collector of folk tales) wrote his poetry under.