Canned fish and a museum

One of the crazier places I visited during my stay in Norway was the so-called "Norsk hermetikkmuseum". I'll translate for those who are not fluent in Norwegian: it's the Norwegian can museum. Residing in an old factory building in Stavanger (Rogaland, Norway) it is also one of the weirder museums I've been to (I've already been to the manga museum in Kyoto and the bread museum in Ulm).

outside the museum

What sounded like a boring one or two hours in a dusty factory hall turned out into a quite interesting visit. After an entrance fee of 60 NOK (about 7 euro, students cheaper) you get an impression of how the Norwegians earned their money before they found oil. As the cliché indicates, mostly with fish.

Brisling and sild/sill or sardines, canned in oil or sauce were shipped to all kinds of places in the world. Canned fish made Norway and especially the city of Stavanger rich. Now they have petroleum in Stavanger so fish cans are not produced anymore. Except on Tuesdays and Thursdays in summer and on every first Sunday every month: on these days the museum smokes fish in the old ovens and you can taste some authentic Norwegian fish. 

Inside the museum you see all kinds of machines that were used during the production process. From catching to washing to beheading the little fishies. You also see the working steps that couldn't be done by machines, like putting the little fishes into cans. This kind of work was done by women: 38 sardines on the right, 32 on the left side of the can.

hanging up fish for letting the brine drip off

The museum is very eager to provide a realistic feel, so rubber fish are a crucial part of the exhibition. They lie on tables, inside cans, they hang on dryers etc. However, the rubber sardines also make a great souvenir, so rubber fish thefts occur fairly often, which is why they put up the following note:


"We need every single rubber fish inside the museum. You want one? Buy one at the reception desk" Yep, a mere 10 kroner and the rubber fish is yours. You can also buy canned sardines for about 25 NOK a can.

The brand's trade mark.

All in all I had a great time. I love being all alone in a museum (I think I was the only visitor that day). If you are interested in industrial history and like (weird museums), this might be a place for you to go. The museum is fairly small, but the exhibition is put together very thoroughly.

I should check if there are any weird museums in Munich...

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