Long before Stavanger became known as the Oil Capital of Norway, fish canning was the major industry and there were dozens and dozens of canneries in Stavanger until the early 1960's when there was a serious decline in the industry. During its height, the canning industry supported many related industries which supplied products to the canneries such as wooden crates, labels, and machinery. It seems that the Rogaland County administrators, both in the past and more recently, are particularly keen on erasing this part of Stavanger's history and have demolished over 50 of the canneries which once operated here as well as changing a significant number in other ways. (The effort to preserve these buildings has not faired as well as that to the preserve Gamle Stavanger -- only 23 purpose-built canneries still exist.) However, the city of Stavanger has come forth with a plan to preserve more of these historic buildings.
The "Norsk Hermetikk Museet", or Norwegian Canning Museum which opened in June, 1982, attempts to keep alive the fish-canning heritage of Stavanger and share it with new generations. The museum's main exhibit has been designed to give visitors an understanding of the canning process through the 12 stages or processes involved in canning sardines and fish balls. On exhibit is the machinery and equipment used for various stages of this process such as salting and smoking, cleaning and packing. Staff demonstrates the operation of the machinery and vintage photos also highlight the history of the working conditions of the time from the 1890s to the 1960s.
I find it unique that on the first Sunday of the month, visitors are offered the chance to sample freshly smoked sardines traditionally cooked in original wood-burning ovens. In the summer, cooking and sampling of sardines also takes place also on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
On the second floor of the museum there is an enormous collection (33,000 ) of historical sardine can labels (known as "iddasar," and there is even a club of these label collectors. (For more history on this, see: https://www.finebooksmagazine.com/issue/200906/norway.pdf) It's interesting that the museum includes an adjoining Worker’s Cottage which features furniture, toys and decorative items common to the time period of the 1920s - 1960s.
Location: Gamle Stavanger. Address: Øvre Strandgate 88; Ph: +47 407 28 470
Guided tours are available on Sundays in Norwegian or English at 1pm & 2:30pm. From the website, museum hours are as follows:
Tuesday – Friday: 11.00 – 15.00
Saturday – Sunday: 11.00 – 16.00
Summer (15.May – 15. September)
Monday – Sunday: 10.00 – 16.00
The Workers Cottage
Open first Sunday of the month:
11.00 – 16.00
Summer (15.May – 15. September)
Monday – Sunday: 11.00 – 16.00
Admission prices:Adult: 90 NOK
Children under 6 years: Free
Children/Teenagers: 6 – 18 years: 50 NOK
Student: 50 NOK
Pensioner: 60 NOK
Family: 250 NOK (Valid for two adults and up to three children over 6 years)
Admission also includes entry to the Stavanger Maritime Museum and the Norwegian Printing Museums. A gift shop is on-site for purchases of gifts or souvenirs including canned products such as herring, kippers, mackerel, and sardines.
I admit when we passed by this building I had no idea what it was so did not attempt to enter it. Instead, we continued our walk through Gamle Stavanger for lots more photos, and then walked to the harbor front where you find yourself at some point on the Blue Promenade.
This building used to be one of Stavanger's many canning factories. From the 1890's to about 1960 the canning industry was the most important industry in Stavanger. After 1960 the oil industry took over...
In the museum you can see the whole process of how the fish was canned.
The museum is located in the old town of Stavanger.
The website below is in Norwgian only...
The museum exhibits machinery and stories from the history of norwegian sardines. The buildings used to be the largest sardine factory in scandinavia (Bjelland).