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Rjukan is a town and the administrative centre of Tinn municipality in Telemark, Norway. It is situated in Vestfjorddalen, between Møsvatn and Lake Tinn, and got its name after Rjukan Falls ('the smoking waterfall') west of the town. The Tinn municipality council granted township status for Rjukan in 1996. The town has 3,386 inhabitants (Jan. 2007).HistoryRjukan was formerly a significant industrial centre in Telemark, and the town was established between 1905 and 1916, when Norsk Hydro started saltpetre (fertilizer) production there. Rjukan was chosen because Rjukan Falls, a 104-metre waterfall, provided easy means of generating large quantities of electricity. The man with the idea to use the Rjukan falls was Sam Eyde, the founder of Hydro. It is estimated that he, together with A/S Rjukanfoss (later Norsk Hydro), used about two times the national budget of Norway to build Rjukan and that there were approximately 12,000 workers from Sweden, Denmark, and Finland, as well as Norway, building the factories and the town.In 1934 Norsk Hydro built what was at the time the world's largest power plant at Vemork in Rjukan, and with it a hydrogen plant. A by-product of hydrogen production via water electrolysis was heavy water. It was the later Nobel prize winner Odd Hassel who told Norsk Hydro that they were in fact producing heavy water. The Norsk Hydro was run by the Germans during World War II, and later sabotaged multiple times by the Norwegian resistance movement and the allied forces.Our Norway sightseeing website allows you to schedule your trip to Rjukan, learn about its attractions, and find out about where else to go during your holiday.
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