Sunday, June 01, 2008


The Smelteverk used to be the largest employer in Odda and the area. At one point it had between 500 S7302088.JPG and 800 workers. Don't quote me on that. =) But there were a lot of people working there. I think this was around the turn of the century. It was the largest Calcium Carbide factory in the world, according to my Uncle. The following story is also according to my uncle:
There were two American brothers who owned the second largest calcium S7302362.JPG carbide factory in the world, at the time, based in Germany. Through various means they bought the Smelteverk and ran it into the ground. Their purpose was to drive up the price of calcium carbide by limiting the supply (they must have read Mr. Smith's book on economics), and they succeeded. In the process they decimated the local economy and the government here in Norway didn't do anything to stop them. Eventually they just left, the factory mostly in ruins and the ground contaminated, and most of the workers left as well. The land now belongs to the government by default.
If you go around Odda, most of the old buildings are somehow connected to the Smelteverk - many of them built by the original owners of the factory to house workers or provide places of entertainment, shops, a library, etc.. There is actually still a performance hall located on the premises of the factory that gets regular use. It seats about 500 people and is usually full for a performance. But most of the land and the buildings are in disrepair.

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