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Visnes Mine Museum

At Visnes you will discover the history of the mining community which in the 1800s had 3000 inhabitants and was the largest and most modern copper work in Northern Europe. Operating in two periods between 1865–1972 the mine produced 4.2 million tonnes of unrefined copper, zinc and sulphur.

Visnes Copper Mine was a great believer in modern technology and a very early advocate of technical innovation:

1875    Pneumatic drills used for the first time in Norway
1880    The telephone arrived in Visnes just four years after its invention
1885    Visnes installed electric lighting
1887    The Old Mine produced 82% of Norway’s iron pyrite ore.

In 1882 we are told that Visnes was Norway’s largest workplace, with almost 1000 workers at the peak. In just a few years the hamlet at Visnes was transformed to become a thriving mining town, with school, hospital, dairy and shops.

Operation of the mine was courtesy of Charles Defrance, a French engineer. A true nature lover and believer in the outdoors, he created a large area of parkland and riding trails for his supervisors and clerks. Today the trails are a popular walking area. A walk to the remains of the building that was once the Smelting Shed on the foreshore is highly recommended. Children will also love the adjacent playground and zipline – and this activity puzzle!

With the Time Travel app you can explore Karmøy and see scenes unfold in the cultural landscape. Here at Visnes you can see filmscenes from the mining era. Experience a story about the miner and join in on a champagne reception at the pavilion, circa 1887.

Today the site includes a large expanse of recreation area near the 730-metre deep Old Mine. Apart from the derelict Smelting Shed, buildings include the management offices, two mining cottages and Fransahagen gardens. Copper from Visnes was used on the world-famous Statue of Liberty in New York harbour. A much smaller version of the statue commemorates the connection here at Visnes.

Visnes is also one of many strategic locations along the Norwegian coast where the Occupation Forces established coastal forts during WWII. The massive structures are still in evidence.

Opening hours:

Visnes Mining Museum is open during Winter and Easter Holiday.  Thereafter every day from mid June to the end of August.  Then only open Sundays in September.  During Autumn Holiday; open all week. For exact opening hours, please see our Facebook page “Visnes Gruvemuseum”.

Guided tour also out in the mining area and culinary food experiences all year round. Minimum 15 people.

T: +47 406 35 816. Email: Visnesvegen 380, 4262 Avaldsnes.

Welcome to Visnes Mining Area