Kongsberg (originally Konningsberg) is an urban municipality and
historic mountain town in the province of Buskerud in what is now
Viken county. It is located at the top of Lågendalen and at the
bottom of Numedal. It borders in the north to Flesberg, in the east
towards Øvre Eiker and Holmestrand, in the south towards Skien,
Siljan and Larvik, and in the west towards Notodden and
Midt-Telemark municipalities. Kongsberg has 27,013 inhabitants (as
of 1 January 2016). The neighboring towns are Rjukan, Notodden,
Hokksund and Drammen.
Christian IV founded the mountain town of Konningsberg when he visited Sandsvær in 1624 to inspect the silver finds. He actively participated in the planning of the city and the silverworks and ordered i.a. construction of a separate royal residence.
Kongsberg was established as an industrial town based on silver mines that were established in 1623; from 1683 Kongsberg was one of two mountain places in Norway (next to Røros). Kongsberg was incorporated into Buskerud county in 1760. Kongberg was Norway's largest mining community and the country's oldest industrial city, and by the middle of the 18th century was Norway's second largest city. The traditions from Kongsberg Våpenfabrikk have given the city significant professional environments within the production of high-tech weapons, car parts and equipment for shipping, aviation and the oil and gas industry. The Kongsberg industry has an annual turnover of close to NOK 40 billion. The largest companies are the Kongsberg Group (Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace and Kongsberg Maritime), FMC Technologies and Kongsberg Automotive.
Numedalslågen divides the city in two. The west side ('Vestsia') is the oldest and most original part of the mining town, with the unique baroque church as a landmark towering over the rest of the buildings. The east side (Nymoen) has a more modern downtown feel with shopping streets, schools, hotels and a bus and train station. Despite its industry, Kongsberg has large natural areas with forests and mountains. To the south you see Skrimfjell, to the north is Blefjell. An alpine resort and well-developed ski trail network are located right by the city center. The historic mining ridge with Jonsknuten to the west is a protected cultural landscape which, with its distinctive nature and many cultural monuments from the mining period, is a popular outdoor area all year round.