Be greeted like King Oscar II
Visnes is today a museum area, consisting of the Mining Museum, two Workers Homes, the Administration Building (where Café Fransehagen is due to open in June this year), the Smelting Hut ruins, King Oscar’s Gate and the Gazebo.
Café Fransehagen is now undergoing a renovation. However, as from June 1, 2023, we will welcome guests again and serve delicious food with a hint of France.
In Visnes you can also take a stroll around Fransehagen. This beautiful park was established by Charles de France. Or you can take a hike along the Riding Paths and view the bunkers from World War II.
Visnes Mining Museum was established in 1993.
Please come in and enjoy our exhibition, watch the new Visnes film in our cinema, plus four other films from the mining period.
We also have a small mine for children – Litlaortå – where children can pretend to be miners. They are free to take the stone that they mine out with them as a memory of Visnes.
Five rooms in The Administration Building is also part of the museum.
The Workers Home from the 1850ies was, before it was moved to Visnes in 1921, located several other places on Karmøy island.. Two miners with their families lived in this house at the same time.
The Svend House is also a Workers Home, built in the 1870ies. Svend Knutsen was the last owner of this house. Before he died in 1990, he gave the house to Kobberverkets Venner. Kobberverkets Venner means Friends of the Copper Mine. This is an association founded in 1979 to take care of the history, This house is now part of the mining museum.
The Administration Building was built in 1868. The managers and other clerks had their work place here.
On the Ground Floor you will find Café Fransehagen, serving delicious food from a local farm, with a hint of France. At the moment only open to preordered groups.
The First Floor contains furniture from Charles de France’s villa – his living room and bedroom. The Lund Andersen Room contains furniture from the office of the last CEO of the copper plant.
The Smelting Hut was built in 1872, however closed down in 1887 already. This was due to heavy pollution destroying the farmers’ crops.
The farmers sued Visnes Copper Plant and won their case.
Today only the walls are still standing.
This is a very popular place for newly weds to have a photo shoot.
The Old Mine opened in 1865 and was closed down in 1894.
King Oscar’s Gate was built in connection with King Oscar II of Sweden and Norway’s visit to Visnes in 1872.
The king, or actually a crown prince at the time, was in Haugesund to unveil Norway’s national monument King Harald’s Mound. He then also paid Visnes a visit. This gate was built only for the king to enter and look down into the mine where the miners saluted him with lit torches.
Only the managers and the office clerks had access to the Gazebo.
Here they held champagne receptions and their wives used to sit in here drinking tea and enjoying the fabulous view over the ocean.
Here you are also welcome in to enjoy the view.
Charles de France established the beautiful park Fransehagen.
The managers and office clerks from Europe, and especially their wives, were verry unhappy with the Visnes nature and climate when they first moved here. Not a single tree in sight, only heather – and with the North sea on the doorstep the climate was very rough.
So Charles de France planted trees, bushes and flowers to make his employees happy.
The miners had no access to this park.
Today the park is visited daily by local people, as well as Norwegian and foreign tourists. On the big open field – Sletta – in Fransehagen, you can have a barbecue while your children play in The Mining Playground.
A little bit further up into the park, you will find a Grill Cottage and a zip-line.
The park contains more than 20 different tree types.
Down at Neset you will find an outdoor training park, frisbee field, skatepark, sand volleyball field, basketballl nets and also a football field.
Visnes also contains hiking tracks in all directions.
The hiking tracks going out from Fransehagen park to the View Point and Bunkers from World War II, and back again, are called the Riding Paths. They are wheelchair and pram compatible.
The Riding Paths were also made from an idea by Charles de France for the benefit of the office people. The workers did not have access here either.
You don’t have to go to New York to see the Statue of Liberty! We have our own. You can see it down by the seaside. The Statue of Liberty in New York is covered in copper from The Old Mine.
80 tons of copper were shipped from The Loading Dock in Visnes to France, where the statue was constructed and built. It was thereafter shipped in many crates to New York. The people in Visnes have always known that the copper had its origin here, but it was only in 1985 that the final proof came from Bell Laboratories in New York.