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Installasjonsfoto: Nøstetangen Glassverk, Galleri Star 2023 / 02
Installasjonsfoto: Nøstetangen Glassverk, Galleri Star 2023 / 01
Installasjonsfoto: Nøstetangen Glassverk, Galleri Star 2023 / 03
Installasjonsfoto: Nøstetangen Glassverk, Galleri Star 2023 / 04
Installasjonsfoto: Nøstetangen Glassverk, Galleri Star 2023 / 05
Installasjonsfoto: Nøstetangen Glassverk, Galleri Star 2023 / 06
Installasjonsfoto: Nøstetangen Glassverk, Galleri Star 2023 / 07
Galleri Star

NØSTETANGEN GLASSVERK (1741–1777)By the mouth of the Vestfoss River


Curated by Randi Gaustad

Since the opening of Galleri Star, we have exhibited works, both new and old, that belong to the traditional visual arts. In 2023 VKL turned 20 yoears old, and in this jubilee year, we chose a different art form that was produced some 250 years ago just a few kilometres from Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium.

Nøstetangen Glassworks made glass of such cultural significance that it still fascinates those who see it exhibited in the museums of several countries. These glasses was first shown at Vestfossen, and then at the Nøstetangen Norwegian Glass Museum – finally returning home to Hokksund. The exhibits came from several private collectors in Norway, as well as some in Denmark. Some have been purchased at auction.

We were proud to be able to celebrate our twentieth anniversary with glass as its shining star. This exhibition also brought us closer to the vision we had when we started VKL in 2003: to seek out places where contemporary art converges with local history and identity.

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Nøstetangen – an industrial fairy tale in Hokksund

How did it come about that, in the 18th century, glass of the finest European quality was being made in a tiny place like Hokksund? Glass had never been produced in Norway before.

The explanation lies in the passionate wish of King Christian VI to exploit the natural resources of the forested and mountainous Norway. For this reason, Det norske Kompani (The Norwegian Company) was founded in 1739, with a mandate to find the best ways to exploit Norway’s natural resources.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, glass of every kind had become an attractive commodity across Europe. In Denmark, glassworks were forbidden, as they demanded so much timber fuel to run. Hokksund had everything necessary for glass production: fuel, sand, and water power, as well as a river on which to transport goods to the customer.

German expertise was brought in and, after years of trial and error, the glass fairy tale was a reality at Nøstetangen. This was the start of a flourishing industry in Norway. Several glassworks were established, but it was only at Nøstetangen and in Hurdal that fine drinking glasses were produced. The others concentrated on bottles and window glass.

Major Casper Hermann von Storm was appointed director in 1753. His goal was to establish a national industry that could supply Denmark-Norway with all its glass needs. Most glass workers at Nøstetangen came from Germany, but von Storm also indulged in industrial espionage, enticing a leading English glassblower to come to Norway, and procuring the secrets of English lead crystal.

In 1755, an eminent glass engraver came to Nøstetangen. Heinrich Gottlieb Köhler had been Royal Engraver at the court in Copenhagen for 10 years. Besides the exquisite engravings he executed on goblets and wine glasses, he also designed the wonderful chandeliers of Kongsberg Church.

The Hokksund fairy tale was short-lived. From the outset, there had been competition for timber with the mines in Kongsberg. To ease the burden on Nøstetangen, a new workshop for fine glass was started in 1769 alongside the large crown glass workshop in Hurdal. In 1770, the gradual winding-down of activity at Nøstetangen was begun. Most of the workers were transferred to Hurdal, and with them the usual production of fine glass. Only luxury items – the special orders that required decoration – were still carried out at Nøstetangen. From the price lists we can deduce that both glassworks continued to produce the old Nøstetangen models for many years.

In 1777, the doors of the glassworks closed for good.


We would like to thank the Nøstetangen Norwegian Glass Museum Foundation, Randi Gaustad, Ingeborg Korvald, Inge Solheim, Terje Olsen, Øystein Alexander Sølvesen-Myhre, Preben Holter Ellingsen, and Håvard Lind. Special thanks to Sparebanken Øst.

Nøstetangen Glassworks (1741–1777)
Nøstetangen Glassworks (1741–1777)
Nøstetangen Glassworks (1741–1777)


Installation photography: Øystein Thorvaldsen