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Holtålen in Norway Holtålen municipality coat of arms


1.209,3 km2

Holtålen Local Directory

Accommodation, Businesses and more pictures from Holtålen

Hessdalen lies in the municipality of Holtålen which consists principally of the villages of Ålen the municipality's main centre and Haltdalen. In addition there are the two mountain hamlets of Aunegrenda and Hessdalen. Hessdalen is approximately 5 km from the municipality's centre.

Holtålen municipality, with its approximately 2.100 inhabitants and a area of 1.209,3 km2, is situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty, and has much to offer that is of historical and natural interest, as well as hunting and fishing. The abundant animal life includes moose, reindeer and roe-deer. There is good salmon and trout fishing in the river Gaula, and the municipality boasts several excellent fishing lakes.

From November to April the area is under snow, giving excellent conditions for skiing in the fresh, clean air.


Project Hessdalen is run by CRULP at Østfold College. Hessdalen is a valley in Holtålen, south-east of Trondheim, about 30 km northwest of the town Røros. The valley is about 12 km long, and about 200 people live there. You can look at some pictures of the nature.

The valley is best known for the huge amount of strange lights (UFO´s, nocturnal lights or "the Hessdalen Phenomenon") which started to show up in December 1981. This high activity, about 15 to 20 each week, lasted until the summer of 1984. Then the activity descreased to the order of 20 each year. In 1996 there were 17 reports. The Hessdalen Phenomenon looks like a big light with different shapes, and it is sometimes down in the valley. It can stand still for more than an hour, or it can move around slowly in the valley. Sometimes it can move very fast.

At one time a speed of about 8 500 m/s was tracked by radar. The movement is sometimes irregular, and the light can pulsate. The intensity can be so strong that it illuminate the ground. The color is mostly yellow, sometimes red and sometimes blue.

Project Hessdalen main goal is to find out what this phenomenon is. There have been two periodes with fieldwork and instrumentation in the valley. The results is presented in the final technical report. There has been made several talks, radio-programs and TV-programs about the project. You can look at the history of the project, and what is proposed as an answer.


The municipality contains much that is of interest, in addition to the Hessdalen phenomenon. Holtålen has, amongst other things, a long history of iron and copper ore extraction. The last mine, Killingdal, was closed in 1986. Remnants from the days of mining are still to be seen: e.g. Eidet Smelting Works, Leset Smelting Works, Killingdal mines and a number of primitive iron ore plants. As yet there are no regular guided tours of these places, but printed information is available, and people who wish to visit them are at liberty to do so.


There is a preserved stone bridge at Ea Falls, which was completed in 1853. There are only two such bridges to be found in Norway.


At one time there was a mill here, which was built long before 1800, but was still standing in 1882. Three large hand-hewn millstones remain, and remind us of the way in which our forefathers lived.


Salmon are to be found from the north-west borders of the municipality as far as Egga Falls. In the summer salmon can be seen leaping and jumping over the falls in order to come as high up the river as possible before spawning.


In 1718 the Swedes tried to conquer Trondheim. Lieutenant-General Armfeldt's 7000-strong army had been unsuccessful and was marching back to Sweden. The army reached Haltdalen around Christmas time. They made the Old Farm their headquarters and the soldiers settled down in the surrounding district. December was especially cold that year and the soldiers were bitterly cold and starving. Morale was at a low ebb and they took all the farmers' food and clothing. As they continued their march over the mountains, the unusually severe winter took the lives of over 3000 soldiers. Excursions are now organised along the path taken by the soldiers.

Even at this early date, skiing competitions with prizes were organised between the soldiers. These are the oldest recorded skiing competitions in Norway. Competitions were held in jumping, downhill with shooting, and cross country. They were arranged in order to keep the soldiers fit.

The company was re-established in 1993. Uniforms, weapons and skis are identical with those used by the original company. A number of farm girls accompany the soldiers. The group performs at many different types of shows, and may be booked for this purpose.


Gammelgården was built in the 16th century as a Rectory. It is now owned by Holtålen municipality. The original farmhouse was added to on several occasions, and has now been restored as nearly as possible to how it was in the 18th century. The surrounding area has also been recreated as it was during that period, and includes a herb garden. The original herb garden contained species which are rarely to be found in this climate.


Rugelråen was formed during the last Ice Age. This narrow ravine with its precipitous sides up to 100 metres high, creates ideal climatic conditions for animal and plant life. People have settled here from the middle of the 18th century. This is a unique landscape which includes animal trapping pits, two crofters' cottages from approx. 1800, Råen farm, Råfossen waterfall with a drop of 30 metres, and a rich flora and fauna. Trips are organised here, during which we also gain an insight into the life and times of the emigrants to America.


This is an agricultural municipality where summer farms are still in regular use. Some of these are open to visitors during the summer.


The municipality has two museums: Aalen Village Museum and Petran Museum in Haltdalen. Guided tours by arrangement.

The municipality has 3 churches: Haltdalen, Ålen and Hessdalen. In addition there is a chapel at Aungrenda. The present Haltdalen church was dedicated in July 1881. It replaced the old church from 1704.


The oldest church in the village, was Haltdalen stave church which today is in Sverresborg Museum in Trondheim. Plans are in hand to build a copy of the stave church in Haltdalen. The original church was built around 1170, and is thus one of Norway's oldest stave churches.

The Stave Churches are constructions of high quality, richly decorated with carvings. In virtually all of them the door frames are decorated from top to bottom with carvings. This tradition of rich ornamentation appears to go back to the animal carvings of the Viking age. The dragons are lovingly executed and transformed into long-limbed creatures of fantasy, here and there entwined with tendrils of vine, with winding stems and serrated leaves. The elaborate designs are executed with supreme artistic skill. The stave church doorways are, therefore, among the most distinctive works of art to be found in Norway. However, it is difficult to connect them with the Christian gospel.


Aunegrenda Stables. Excursions on Iceland ponies are organised in this beautiful mountain country. Day, evening or weeklong excursions.


Moose, reindeer and roe-deer.


There is good salmon and trout fishing in the river Gaula, and the municipality boasts several excellent fishing lakes. Salmon are to be found from the north-west borders of the municipality as far as Egga Falls.