A unique 18th-century building from Drammen

Elstergården is a typical example of a medium-sized urban building built 300 years ago. Its original address was Tollbugata 20 in Drammen, and Elstergården was probably the last house to be built in a row of 17th-century houses in that street. The building is unique in that it is one of only two remaining buildings in Norway with a cog-jointed oriel. Such oriels were common in commercial buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries. The building takes its name from the Elster family, which owned the building for much of the 18th century.
59,7527616 10,2011161
spiraltoppen, Drammen, 3016

Drammen, Buskerud (Viken)

Owned by the National Trust of Norway since 1984.

Troublesome oriel. From the mid-17th century, the town of Drammen and its trade developed rapidly, and many commercial buildings were built along the river. The buildings were close together and housed Drammen's trade activities. Typically, these buildings had a facade where the top floor overhung the ground floor, and a gallery at the back by which people could enter the first-floor rooms. Oriels facing the street were inspired by European architecture, and were possibly built to attract customers. The oriels made the already narrow streets less passable, and a ban on building oriels was introduced in 1745.

Torn down, but saved. Elstergården, which has also been a merchant’s house, a bakery and a café, was torn down in 1984. The efforts of enthusiastic volunteers and the National Trust of Norway ensured that it was saved for posterity. The National Trust tried to have it re-erected in a suitable urban setting, but in the end, it was placed by the gate at the entrance to Drammen museum’s open-air section at Bragernesåsen in 1993. Elstergården now houses the Buskerud branch of the National Trust of Norway, and there is a kindergarten next door.

Things to do in the area: The drive up the unique spiral tunnel to Bragernesåsen and Elstergården is in itself an experience. Drammen and its environs has plenty of museums and attractions. There is Drammen museum, Berger textile museum, Buskerud Art Centre, Fossesholm manor and Blaafargeverket with cobalt works, mines and museums. Kongsberg is only a short distance away, as is Numedalen valley, where you will find two of the National Trust’s eight stave churches: Nore and Uvdal.