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Ringerike


Ringerike in Norway Ringerike municipality coat of arms

Population:
29,712

Areal:
1.552,1 km2


Ringerike Local Directory


Accommodation, Businesses and more pictures from Ringerike

Ringerike municipality has approximately 29.500 inhabitants and covers a area of 1.552,1 km2 and lies in Buskerud. The administrative centre of the municipality is the town of Hønefoss. The town Hønefoss established on the northern banks of the river in the beginning. Today however, the southern side is perhaps 10 times as big as far as the city structure concerns. It´s a small city anyway, having only some 10.000 habitants living within the old city borders. I say old, because the city do not exist as a township anymore. This ended in 1964, when the former townships of Hønefoss, Norderhov, Hole, Tyristrand and Ådal joined in a single township called Ringerike. Hole later withdrew to form a township of their own again, which is very much as the situation remains today. Ringerike is famous for two agriculture products; Ringerike potato (Ringerikspotet) and Ringerike pea (Ringeriksert).

A well known former local politician and hobby historian, who was once the mayor in this district too, has guided and entertained tourists here for many decades. He says it like this when people asks him:

"If the history of Ringerike was to be removed from the history books, it would only consist of the cover."

His name is Trygve Ellingsen and we can only agree to his statement, because that is how important this district is to the history of this nation. The sculpture known as the Sash Saw is placed in the middle of waterfall of Hønefoss City, the natural center of this district today. It commemorates the once so prosperous lumber businesses that surrounded the waterfall from the latter stages of the 16th century and onwards to our time. However, this period of time is really nothing compared to many millenniums of history before the lumber businesses settled here.

Ringerike is like a Norway in miniature, and both the wildlife and the nature is breathtakingly beautiful.

HISTORY

This wonderful landscape may indeed also hide the truth about Norway's origin as a nation, which the history says originated under the power of King Harold Fairhair (ca. 890-937) in approximately 890 AD. Harold's father was the most powerful petty king ever prior to his son's founding of a nation. He had his chieftain seat on a farm called Stein in this district, where he also is said to have been buried after a drowning accident in Lake Rand. His name was Halvdan the Black, and we believe he must have drowned in approximately 860 AD. A huge burial mound is actually also situated on the farm and it has attracted a great deal of international publicity lately.

His son Harold Fairhair succeeded in becoming the first to unite the kingdom we know as Norway today, but Harold is only one of several kings that either originated or brought up in this district. St. Olaf (1015-1028) and Harold the Ruthless (1045-1066) are merely two of those, but many more had close connections to this district because of their heritage. However, this was not how it all began, but merely a small part of the more resent history. Evidence is found here that points to the fact that this district must have been amongst the first populated areas in the whole nation.

HØNEFOSS

The natural rendezvous of Ringerike today is Hønefoss Town, one of only three privileged cities in all of Buskerud County. This place was however not the power center prior to the 1650's AD, but merely a wild waterfall that nobody could benefit from.

The city name derive of an old farm near by and the waterfall, which literally explodes right in the middle of the town and separates it in two halves - the southern and northern Hønefoss. The first part of the name, "høne", derives directly from the name of a farm at the northern side of the town. We believe this word literally means corner, because the town is situated at a "corner" made by the river. The name ending, "foss", simply means waterfall.

This waterfall was previously known as the Weien Falls, which indeed is mentioned in an old diploma that dates back to 1337 AD. It's therefore obvious to us that the two farms (northern) Hønen and Veien (modern form) once owned the area, of which the River Begna must have been their common border.

The bridge was built in 1952, for the 100 years anniversary of the city. The sculptor Ståle Killingstad, who is one of the best known and most famous sculptors in all of Scandinavia, decorated the northern bridgehead by putting up two large bears on each side, which he had cut in granite. The granite basements contains each a relief on both sides too, which commemorate the lumber businesses once surrounding the waterfall. You may still get soaking wet if you want a picture or even if you forget to close your car window. Just beneath the waterfall and city bridge, the river Begna blends with another river, the river Rand. Jointly they become the River Grand (Storelva), which rather quietly streams towards the northern shores of Lake Tyri (Tyrifjorden).

TYRIFJORDEN

Tyrifjorden (Lake Tyri) is Norway´s fifth largest lake with an area of 137 km2. It is 295 meters deep at its deepest, and lies 63 meters above sea level. The lake´s primary source is the Begna river, which discharges into Tyrifjorden at Hønefoss where the river forms the Hønefossen waterfall. Its primary outlet is at Geithus near the lake´s southwest corner, where Tyrifjorden discharges into the Drammenselva river.

Utøya is an island in Tyrifjorden. The island is 10.6 hectares and situated 500 metres off the shore, where road E16 passes by, 38 km driving distance north-west of Oslo. Tyrifjorden is located in the county of Buskerud and borders the municipalities of Hole, Lier, Modum, and Ringerike. Tyrifjorden is a landlocked fjord. It consists of a main body, Storfjorden, along with the Holsfjorden, Nordfjorden and Steinsfjorden branches.

VASSFARET

Vassfaret is a forest valley between Hallingdal and Valdres, bordering Flå, Nes, Ringerike in Buskerud and Sør-Aurdal in Oppland. The valley is said to be between the Hallingdal and Hedalen in the traditional district of Valdres.

A special area covering cultural protection covers about 8 km² within the Inner Vassfaret landscape protection area. It is about 30 km long, with lakes and rivers with remnants from the timber floating era. There are streams, steeps and rocky mountains. All togheter there are the remains of 12 farms and subsidiary places, as well as the remains of mountain farms. Timber production has existed for more than 300 years. Vassfaret and Vidalen was made a protected area by Royal Decree on June 28th, 1985. It was the intention to take care of flora and fauna characteristic of the inner area of eastern Norway, as well as the diverse cultural remains.

A cultural protection plan was made for an area for about 8 sq.km within the inner Vassfaret landscape protection area. Here is timer production still using the old methods. Every spring the timber is floated to the Nevlingdammen.

During World War II (1940-45), there was intense activity in Vassfaret. It was the homeground of the operational base code-named ELG and the location for many parachute drops. Vassfaret in the past was a good area for bears. The last bear shot fell at Bukollen in 1956. The authors Mikkjel Fønhus, Per Hohle and Edvard Elsrud have written many bookds based on the history and legends from Vassfaret. From Flå you can go to Vassfaret with roads from Gulsvik, Veneli and Domfet.

VASSFARET NATURE TRAIL

Vassfaret Nature Trail goes through the central part of Vassfaret that is part of Flå community. The nature trail has 20 information posts with 38 placards which tell about Vassfaret's geology, plant life, cultural history, protection plans, forest use, hunting and fishing etc. The trail is about 16 km long. At Likkistefjell there is a good view over Vassfaret.

BIRDS

Lots of small areas, which surrounds the lake, are protected bird sanctuaries and nature reserves, which are absolutely unique to this part of Europe. Indeed, some species may only grow on these tiny spots in all of northern Europe. You may carefully go and watch, but you aren't allowed touch or pick even a tiny flower. Actually, you should consider every footstep you take, so you don't step on to something valuable. That's namely forbidden. Nor are you allowed to camp in these areas, which are all clearly marked.

The bird sanctuaries are especially interesting during the spring and fall, because of the bird passage to and from the northern hemisphere. Some birds are actually so rare, they can only be spotted here in all of Scandinavia, perhaps even all of Europe. Other birds crowds here, like the swans which literally can join in the thousands when the conditions are right. People have many times rescued swans from freezing firm to the ice of lake, which not always freezes totally.

FISHING

Fishing in the lake can be quite exciting. You can catch a big perch, pike, trout or char at any time and all year around. The lake usually freezes in during the winter season, but this doesn't stop people from go fishing. Ice fishing is quite popular actually, but catching the bigger species can of course make it difficult to get it up through a small hole on the ice. I believe trout and pike can grow to more than 20 kilograms (44 pounds) in the lake, but I don't recall anyone catching that big a fish. The biggest char ever captured weighted approximately 9.75 kilograms or 21.5 pounds, but this was many years ago.

A big perch, pike or trout is more common to catch and I have seen the pike and trout excessing 15 kilograms many times. Another popular catch is the exotic sweetwater crawfish, for which the lake is amongst the most famous places in all of Scandinavia. To catch crawfish is only allowed for a very short period of time during fall each year, but what an exciting moment. Some may appear rather professional, but most catches it to have a single evening of pride and glory amongst friends. You can buy it course, but that is really expensive, even to our standards.

GOLF

Tyrifjord Golfclub have 18 holes and is located at the island Storøya. Ringerike Golfclub have 6 holes and Hønefoss Golfclub will have 9 holes when it´s finished.