Settlement by the slag heaps.Settlement by the slag heaps.

Røros Copper Works

Røros Copper Works was founded in 1644 and continued in production for 333 years, until 1977. In 1769, Røros had 2 000 inhabitants and more than half of them were employed by the copper works. Most of the others were farmers who helped in the mine when required.

The magnitude of the copper works meant that it received a number of privileges. The most important was the right to circumference. This meant an exclusive right to all natural resources within a 44 kilometre radius (4 old Norwegian miles) from Røros. Part of what we now call Gränslandet was included, namely the northern part of Femundsmarka National Park. The right included minerals as well as forests, waterways and people living within the circumference. Although they were paid a small wage, they were obliged to work for the copper works whenever they were asked.

Already in the early 18th century the company had to turn outside the circumference to secure wood to feed the constantly burning smelting furnaces. The enormous requirement for wood has left its mark on large parts of the landscape in Gränslandet.

Røros mining town

Two years after the first copper deposits were found in 1644 the mining town of Røros was established. At this time, knowledge of mining was scant in Norway and therefore experts were sent for mainly from Germany and Denmark. The town became a mixture of cultures, still mirrored in the unique wooden buildings.

Smälthyttan vid Røros är återuppbyggd efter brand och är numera museum.The smelting plant at Røros, restored after a fire, is now a museum.

The wooden buildings in Røros mirror a mixture of European cultures.The wooden buildings in Røros mirror a mixture of European cultures.

Photos: Naturcentrum AB.

Did you know that…

… air pollution occurred even in the 17th century. Such great quantities of wood were burned that the air around Røros Copper Works became polluted. The trees in Røros died, and it was hard for new plants to grow.

… the reindeer hunter Hans O Aasen was 87 years old when in 1644 he found a piece of copper ore, which led to the start of Røros Copper Works.

... the class society in Røros was evident since the foremen spoke German and Danish and the workers spoke Norwegian – but also on the dance floor. While the upper classes danced minuets and quadrilles, the workers twirled around in a traditional Rørospols.

In 1980, Røros Mining Town and the Circumference was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.