Hønefoss is a town in Eastern Norway located in Ringerike municipality in Buskerud in Viken county, about 60 km northwest of Oslo. The city covers an area of ​​10.52 km² and as of 1 January 2020 had 16,260 inhabitants. Between 1852 and 1964, the city was an independent municipality.

Hønefoss was granted city status and was separated from the former Norderhov county municipality as a separate urban municipality in 1852. The town was built around Hønefossen (which is the origin of the town name) and is located as an "island" in old Norderhov. In 1964, the municipality was merged with the municipalities of Hole, Norderhov, Tyristrand and Ådal into the new large municipality of Ringerike, where the city became the administrative center. However, Hole withdrew from the large municipality in 1977 and became an independent municipality again. Today, Hønefoss is a natural trading center for the populations in Ringerike, Hole and Jevnaker. It is located as the northernmost point in a triangle with Drammen in the south and Oslo in the southeast.

Hønefoss is an inland town and a central hub in Eastern Norway. From here, railways run to Bergen, Drammen and Oslo, and to Gjøvik via Roa. Through Hønefoss, Europavei 16 also ran from Sandvika to Western Norway via Valdres, as well as national road 7 to Western Norway via Hallingdal and national road 35 to Hokksund and Hadeland. However, these roads now go mainly outside the city itself, except for Rv35 which still passes through.

Within the old city limits, there are today a total of 62 streets and roads. The vast majority of them have a street as a suffix in the name.


The place that is today known as Hønefoss, has not always carried this name. In the 14th century, the place went around the waterfall under the name Weienfoss, which indicates that the waterfall was owned by the large farm Weien (now Veien in Heradsbygda). A diploma from 11 July 1337, which is in the Arnamagnæan collection at the Nordic Research Institute at the University of Copenhagen, states that the nobleman «Ogmund på Veigin acknowledges that the priests at Maria Church in Oslo have the right to cut in Weien forest for maintenance of the mill they owner in Weienfoss ».

The plot on the north side of the waterfall belonged to the large farm Hønen, but it was only after the sawmills began to appear on the north side of the waterfall that the name "Hønen Fos" was used in the 17th and 18th centuries. The waterfall is actually called Hønenfoss, but the last n in the name has at some point disappeared and the name became Hønefoss. In everyday speech, however, the place around the waterfall was originally referred to as the "sawmills" locally, and one must until 1914 before the city presidency formalized the name Hønefoss.

The town name is composed of the two words hen and waterfall. The word hen has nothing to do with hens, although many over the years have had a joking relationship with such a context. Onomasticians and others disagree about the origin, but most agree that it probably has to do with either the topography or ancient pagan theology. There are thus two main theories that have gained general acceptance, one of a topographical nature and one with roots in Norse mythology.

The hen can also be a derivation of horn (corner of the river) and the suffix -vin (green land, place of residence).

The first main theory links the name to Norse theology. Hen (also called Ve) was a side god to the god Ullr. Hønen gård (in Haug parish) is centrally located in an area known locally as "Hov" and "Ullerål", which indicates an old pagan place of worship. As such, the hen has with great certainty been separated from Hov once upon a time, and perhaps this head was dedicated to the god Høn. This theory is supported, among other things, by Professor Oluf Rygh, who in his work «Norwegian Farm Names» (of 1897) believes that one must look at Hønen and Hov together to find the origin of the name.

The second main theory is that the name may have to do with the topography of the river. Hen can mean corner. The river meanders quite a lot in this area and forms natural corners in several places. Since the urban community actually originated on the north side of the waterfall, it may have to do with the seaweed between Begna and Randselva, a seaweed that lies on the ground of Hønen and is also known locally under the names "Glatved" (after a former hotel on the site) and "Bilthuggertangen ».

The history of the city
The idea of ​​a town by the waterfall was launched in 1839 by the ethnologist and historian Ludvig Daae, through a series of articles in Morgenbladet. He launched the city as one of eleven new possible cities in the country, but it would be many years before the place by the waterfall became a separate city.

In 1841, Norderhov County Council's council Buskerud County applied for Hønefoss to be built as a town, but was rejected. The idea of ​​a town by the waterfall, however, was then so central that the case was not allowed to lie dormant especially long after the rejection. All in 1842, the then Storting representatives Thor Breien (Ringerike) and Christopher Simonsen Fougner (Hole) presented a new case to the Storting, in which they proposed Hønefoss as a market town. At the census in 1845, Hønefoss had 793 inhabitants.

Towards the end of the 1840s, the Storting appointed «Business Committee No. 2» to investigate the question of establishing two new shopping centers, Hønefoss and Odnes. Now several others also threw themselves into the struggle to get city status, including the local workers' unions. In the winter of 1849/1850, the workers' associations sent an application to King Oscar II in Stockholm that "Hønefods had to become Kjøbstad". On June 24, 1851, Anton Martin Schweigaard and his committee also submitted their recommendation, in which they unanimously agreed that Hønefoss should be chosen as a new market town over Odnes. The committee's recommendation was crowned with success, and led to a law of 3 September 1851: "Establishment of a market town at Hønefos in Norderhov's parish, Buskerud County". On April 22, 1852, Hønefoss was granted city status.

The city got its own city coat of arms by royal resolution of 15 March 1902. It was designed by coin engraver Ivar Throndsen and has a motif that refers to the city's background and origin. When the city municipality at the turn of the year 1963/1964 became part of the new large municipality Ringerike, it was all decided to allow the old and venerable Hønefoss Sparebank to use the old city coat of arms, which has since been part of the bank's logo.

The hatter's feud and the Thranite movement

Hønefoss was central in Norway during the hatter's feud. The Thranite movement was locally led by the radical hat maker Halsten Knudsen (1805–1855), while Marcus Thrane (1817–1890) was the one who started the most workers' unions in the country. Thrane visited Hønefoss in 1849, when the first workers' association was started here. Knudsen came to Hønefoss as a hatmaker's friend, under Lars Andresen, and became leader of the local workers' association.

On July 21, 1851, the riot started. Judge Jørgen Meinich held a court interrogation of the cave keeper Christian Fjeld in Madame Glatved's farm on Norsiden. The background was that Fjeld had been Hole Arbeiderforening's representative at the central board meeting ("Lilletinget") on Bygdøy, and a number of radical points had been raised there, which the Storting decided to intervene against. The next day, Knudsen was to be questioned, and then there was a serious commotion.

One of the hatmaker's weapon bearers, the well-grown Helge Gunbjørnsen Tytodden, shouted out to people who had gathered: "It must be worse advice to let the authorities take Knudsen!" When the hat maker was given time off to eat, he took the opportunity to urge people not to let him down, because then he thought he would be arrested. More came, and now Knudsen had up to fifty men who supported him. There was a great atmosphere when the scribe went out on the stairs to calm the mood. When the authorities were to lead Knudsen to the arrest in Norderhov, there was a scuffle. A Nils Kittelsen shouted: "Hooray for Knudsen!". Kittelsen was the brother-in-law of police officer Peter C. Aas, who was one of those who was to lead Knudsen to arrest. The other two were police assistant Syver Sonerud and sheriff Robshahm. In the ensuing handshake, Tytodden sprang forward and freed Knudsen. However, he was soon arrested again, but once again released by his friends. The sheriff had almost been thrown into the waterfall during the scuffle, so he realized that it was not possible to arrest the hat maker in this way.

On the evening of 26 July 1851, therefore, two companies from the Norwegian Hunter Corps arrived at Klokkergården by Hønen in Norderhov. Among other things, they had with them two 6-pound cannons. Immediately after, a company from Modum also arrived. Knudsen understood that it was starting to burn under him and went up to Ådalen on the evening of 22 July. There he mobilized more than a hundred fellow believers, it is said, who after hearing his fiery speech marched towards the city. They must have been armed with manure grips, picks and sticks. When he arrived, the Ådølings claimed that they had not broken any law, and demanded to be present during the interrogations of their chairman, Johan Semmen. This was granted and the situation calmed down. However, the hatmaker did not feel as safe, and immediately went up Ådalen again. There he again gathered a horde of fellow believers, but this time he wanted trouble to break out in earnest. It did not help that people tried to calm Knudsen, who managed to mobilize close to 300 men by promising help from both Western Norway and Trøndelag. On the way down the valley, however, they heard that military units with cannons were waiting for them in Hønefoss, and courage sank abruptly. Knudsen tried to stir up the herd again, but it turned around anyway. The battle was lost to the hat maker, who along with several other leaders was soon arrested. They were locked inside the grain warehouse at Norderhov church and sent on to Akershus on 2 August. After this, the Thrane movement was put under the microscope by the authorities.

One year later, charges were brought against 149 of the movement's members, five of whom came from Ringerike. In the spring of 1854, the hat maker was sentenced to nine years in prison, along with several others. In his deep despair he took speed and stuck his head into a tiled stove and died it is said. He did die the night before he was to be transferred to prison, but from the cholera epidemic. Marcus Thrane himself received nine years in prison, and emigrated to the United States after serving his sentence. It would be many years before there was any momentum in the labor movement again, but in 1887 the sawmill worker Anders Andersen (1846–1931) from Hønefoss was elected the Labor Party's first party chairman. One might argue that he was a result of the hatter's feud.


City fires and fire brigade
The town has had its own fire service since 1855. It came into being after the large town fire that started in the owner Erik Tandberg's farm on the North Side at around 3 pm on 23 May 1854, where 20 buildings were reduced to ashes. Only nine of the buildings were insured. At half past five in the evening on 12 August 1878, a new large fire broke out on the north side, where it is believed that a limpotte caught fire at carpenter Løkken. Despite great help from many, 16 buildings burned to the ground. Nine people were also injured in the fire. After this fire, it was decided that the city would later be developed on the south side of the river. The fire service's first fire truck, a 1927 model Mercedes, is still intact and owned by the fire service.

The railway is coming
The last half of the 19th century led to a significant technological development for Hønefoss and the districts around the city. From being a small community with business activities connected to the waterfall and the sawmills, the connection to Drammen via railway in 1868 became important for the city's industry and trade until the 20th century.

The idea of ​​such a railway was launched in 1846, when the Land County Council made an inquiry to the Ministry of the Interior and expressed a desire for better communication between Drammen, Tyrifjorden and Randsfjorden. However, nothing happened at that time. In 1853, however, the Drammen presidency appointed a committee to study a connection to the Oppland. At that time, the canal was also studied, but since this could only be used for half a year, it became obsolete. In 1857, Carl Abraham Pihl, a civil engineer, was commissioned by the Ministry of the Interior to investigate whether it was possible to build a railway between Drammen and Randsfjorden, and his report was already available on 31 May 1858. There he concluded that this was entirely possible to build the Randsfjord line. , and he had also estimated the project to cost 1,150,000 speciedaler. This was uplifting news, and Drammen's presidency convened a meeting about the project in Hønefoss on 12 September 1859, where it was agreed to start.

On 11 June 1863, the Storting decided by 65 to 44 votes to build the course. On October 31, 1866, the first part of the stretch was opened. It connected Vikersund and Drammen together. On December 1, 1867, Skjærdalen on Tyristrand was connected to the stretch. Eventually, the work of building Hønefoss station was also completed, and on 12 October 1868, the train could roll all the way from Drammen to Randsfjord station by the Randsfjord. The Randsfjord line, as it was called, was the fifth railway line in the country. Passenger traffic was discontinued from 26 May 1968, after 100 years of operation. On January 7, 2001, all local traffic on the line was shut down, after 133 years of operation. "Because of. failure in passenger traffic »said NSB.

On Saturday 27 November 1909, the stage was again set for a major transport event in Hønefoss. At that time, it was the Bergen line that was opened. As is well known, it is still in operation. On 31 July 1926, the Sperill line was also opened, connecting Finsand in Ådal to the Randsfjord and Bergens lines. It was decided to build in 1921, but on 1 July 1933 it was decided to close down passenger traffic at the track. The competition with bus traffic had become too great. On 1 August 1957, freight traffic was also shut down and the track was laid waste.

The city gets power plants and street lighting
Many believe that the largest cities were the first to come with electric power and electric street lighting, but that is not true for Hønefoss. All in 1885, the then Follum Træsliberi (later known as Follum Fabrikker and Norske Skog Follum, now part of Norske Skog) built a 110 V DC generator that provided 10 KW for lighting inside the factory. The same year, Hønefoss Træsliberi followed, and then the development went fast. It gave positive ripple effects for the city that the business community was at the forefront of technology.

As early as 1896, Hønefoss received electric street lighting. It was only five years after Hammerfest, which was among the first cities in Europe with such lighting. (The Swedish city of Härnösand received electric street lighting in 1885.) Oslo received its first electric street lighting in 1893.

In Hønefoss, 36 incandescent lamps were installed, which cost the city 25 kroner each to operate a year. It was Edward Lloyd Limited, who established himself in the city through the acquisition of Hønefoss Træsliberi (later known as Hønefoss Brug) in 1893, which gave the city the opportunity to get electric street lighting.

Norway's first steamship is built
Hønefoss is not known as a maritime town, but on the lawn in front of the town hall there is an old anchor, which for many may seem out of place in an inland village. The anchor was a gift from the twin city of Emmeloord, which is located in the municipality of Noordoostpolder in Flevoland in the Netherlands, and is over 100 years old. It was found in Zuidersjøen and handed over to Hønefoss on 27 September 1980. The anchor is a symbol that the city in its time launched the first steamship ever built in Norway.


The steamship was launched on the river in Hønefoss on July 9, 1837, just below the city bridge and Hønefossen. The steamboat was named DS "Kong Ring", and it was built on Øya (where Øyabakken is today), which at that time was approximately in the middle of Hønefossen, before it had to change its many downspouts. The boat was to transport timber and goods on the river and across the Tyrifjord to Svangstrand in Lier, but it soon turned out to be too weak for the task. A new and more powerful steamboat, which was named "Halvdan Svarte", was therefore built on Randsfjord in Jevnaker and transported over Eggemoen and launched on the river in Hønefoss.

North side and south side
The north side and the south side are two very central concepts in Hønefoss. The original town and town development started as wooden houses on the north side of the waterfall, but after several town fires, it was finally decided to develop it further on the south side of the waterfall. As a result, since the end of the 19th century, the city has consisted of two distinct parts, called the North Side and the South Side. The modern part of the city grew south of Hønefossen from the late 1870s onwards.

Parts of the residential area on Vesterntangen (Vesterngata, Elvegata and Christies gate), up to Ole Torkildsens vei by Hønefoss nursing home on the east side of Randselva, are also within the old city limits and parishes naturally to Nordre torv, but is not included in the district Nordsiden.

The squares
The place concepts North Side and South Side have become attached to the area description of the city as two primary areas, even though they have no official status. Each of the districts has had its natural center in its own square. The north side at Nordre torv and the south side at Søndre torv.

The parks
As for the squares, there are also parks attached to each of the districts. Nordre park was laid out after the ravages of the last major city fire in the wooden houses on the north side on 12 August 1878. Søndre park was laid out on Løkka, on the south side, as the largest of them. In close proximity to Søndre park is also the outdoor area Petersøya.