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September 1, 2012 / landscapeiskingston

M/S Henrik Ibsen sailing on the Telemark Canal

“Since waterways flow from one place to another naturally, we decided to use it as the common thread that ties all communities together. You could say the waterways act as our means of communicating.”  Thrond Kjellevold

NRK: Minute by minute on the Telemark Canal 26/8-2012.

You can now board the MS Henrik Ibsen for a spectacular and historic trip on the Telemark Canal to take in the beautiful scenery of the Telemark region.  MS Henrik Ibsen is a historic Norwegian diesel-powered ship from 1907. Together with the MS Victoria, it sails on the Telemark Canal in Norway between Skien and Dalen in the summer. The ship was built by Eriksbergs Mekaniska Verkstad in Gothenburg, Sweden in 1907 and named SS Styrsö. The ship sailed the Gothenburg archipelago until 1970 and after that she was used as charter ship.

After being adapted to channel traffic, the ship arrived at Telemark Canal in 1992. She was renamed MS Henrik Ibsen after the former steamship SS Henrik Ibsen, which also went on the Telemark Canal from 1907 to 1919. From 1992 until 2009 the ship was owned and operated by Skien Dalen Skipsselskap AS.  The ship was then sold to the Telemarkskanalen Skipsselskap AS. Upgrading of the ship was carried out by Hansen & Arntzen mechanical in Stathelle and boatbuilder Geir Røvik in Tønsberg. After a complete restoration new operations on the Telemark Canal began summer 2010.

The Telemark Canal was hewn out of the rocks by hand well over 100 years ago, and when completed in 1892.  500 men had worked for five years to dynamite their way through the rocks.  The Telemark Canal stretches 105 kilometres from Skien to Dalen. The Canal consists of eight locks with a total of 18 lock chambers, and a difference in height of 72 metres. There are six municipalities which are known as Canal Municipalities: Skien, Nome, Kviteseid, Tokke, Sauherad and Notodden.

Click to view a longer video of the M/S Henrik Ibsen trip

Waterways Forward partners Telemark County Council are working to develop the Telemark Canal Regional Park along with  Municipalites located along the Telemark Waterway, Telemark Research plus private and public Telemark Stakeholders.  The objective is to facilitate economic development along the Telemark waterways. Together with stakeholders  Telemark County Council would like to focus on business and tourism development.

“Dialogue is critical for success. We have been working on this project since 2000 under the Interreg IIIB Waterline Economy and Interreg IIIC VNE-Inland Waterways of Europe projects when we first started connecting the private and public sector more together. Then we tried to link this network with larger European partners such as within the Interreg IVC Waterways Forward project. The value in a partnership like this is that dialogue is constant. Through the process of dialogue, communities start improving their own product development with regards to management arrangements, tourist attractions, cultural assets and other issues that are brought to the discussion.”

Thrond Kjellevold, Sr. International Advisor, Telemark County Council

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