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Østfoldmuseene - The Halden Canal Museum, Ørje

Discover the natural and cultural history of the waterways through pictures, objects, a series of models and 5 different aquaria.

The Haldenvassdraget's Canal Museum is housed in the old wood sander on Ørje Brug and conveys the rich cultural and natural history of the Haldenvassdraget.

Cultural history
Central to the museum's cultural history exhibition is the log. By following its journey from the forest, through the river's waterways and up to the sawmills and wood sanders, you will get to know the history of timber floating. Along the way, you will also get to know the loggers, rafters, sawmill owners and of course the great canal builder, Engebret Soot. The Halden watercourse has been used to float timber for over 500 years. From the rich forest areas in Nes, Sør-Odal and Eidskog, as well as the Swedish forests in Vest-Värmland and Dalsland, timber was transported through the waterway to Fredrikshald (Halden) where the logs were processed and sent to the European market. In 2016, we made a film showing the long history of timber in the Haldenvassdraget. You can see this film in the small cinema hall at the museum.

Natural history
In the museum's inner circle, the glacier shows the way into the natural history department. The retreat of the ice after the last ice age has had a major impact on how the landscape in the Haldenvassdraget looks today. When the ice melted and the sea level dropped to lower-lying areas, the watercourse was shaped with many lakes, rivers and wetlands. This geological process has shaped the rich species diversity in the watercourse and explains the presence of some rare animal groups, the so-called Ice Age immigrants. At the museum, we have an aquarium where you can see some of these Ice Age immigrants up close, and we also have aquariums with fish, crayfish and other freshwater animals. You will also find the forest's birds and mammals in our exhibition and – for those extra interested – many of the tracks they leave behind.

The children's museum
Haldenvassdragets Kanalmuseum is well suited for families with children. The house in the "forest" is ready for play for the little ones, and for the slightly older ones, the "water chute" is ready for examining small animals found in running water. In the outdoor area there are play stands, and from the wharf outside the museum you can see the large boats from Ørje's active steamboat community.

For opening times and events, see the Kanalmuseet's website:

Source: Visit Indre Østfold


Østfoldmuseene - The Halden Canal Museum, Ørje

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