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Villages and People

Historically, the people of Tinn gathered in five main villages outside of Rjukan. These towns are picturesque and friendly, and capture both the traditions and the history of this region that was isolated for a thousand years. Now accessible on modern roads, we invite you to explore the villages of Tinn:


  • Miland

  • Austbygda

  • Vemork

  • Atra

  • Hovin

Survival here relied on a constant negotiation with nature. The brutal winters would give way year to a short summer where agriculture was nearly always combined with forestry, fishing and foraging in the mountains.


The farms were small, steep and difficult to manage, and while other areas in Norway could often manage to scratch by a good living with field of grain, the men and women of Tinn had to rely on everything that nature had to offer to scratch by a living. 

At the same time, the natural rule of order was to have a few farm animals as well such as cows, sheep, pig and goats. Upon the spring thaw, the animals were taken further up the mountain to feed, and during the summer they would be taken up into mountains until the fall came and they would be brought back towards home.

Working with Nature

The mountains were important for hunting and fishing, important for survival. Aside from work as farmers, other activities were needed to make ends meet – included crafts as carpenters and other handicrafts, as well as other making money working with the early tourist trade to provide transportation, mountain guiding, food and accommodation.


The winters were long and hard. Coal burning stoves in the autumn and winter made the air heavy with soot, but these stoves were necessary for the ironsmiths and other necessary activities. The coal disappeared into the ovens during the early parts of the winter months when the smithing was at it height. For example, in 1879, over 30,000 scythes were sent by steamer southwards towards Europe on Tinn Lake.

By the 1800’s the farms were being split up in the region. The families were large, and emigration to America began in 1837 as each new generation took over the farms, and  the ownership for each offspring became smaller and smaller. As the farms dwindled, the forests with each farm began to be sold off.  

Creative Expression

The photos here tell only part of the story of these villages where the personality is shown in architecture, where creative expressionistic storytelling was part of building techniques, arts and crafts, and clothing - all developed in special and unique ways that very much reflect the Tinn ‘personality’. 


A good example of this is the national costume, shown poignantly in the stories that the ‘bunad’ represents – a fierce and uncompromising independence. The women of Tinn had unqiue freedom of creative expression – less regimented that in other parts of Norway and a part of the lore of this traditionally isolated enclave of East Telemark.

The creative expressionistic storytelling all ran to areas that included building techniques, arts and crafts, and clothing was developed in special and unique ways that very much reflect Film Region Rjukan´s personality.

The art of Roselmaling grew from the 1700’s into the 1800’s in Norway, and there was great variation in the art in different regions in Norway, but it is said that nowhere was the art so comprehensive than in Eastern Telemark.  


Musically, the ‘Hardingfela’ with the ‘Dahlespelet’ and Dahle tradition is unique to the folk music in Tinn. It has its background with Knut Dahle (1834 – 1921) who was an excellent musician and storyteller. 


See the examples of the locations in this section. Better yet, pay Film Rjukan a visit and let us help you discover the magic found here.  

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