Isdammen Lake


Before refrigerators became widespread ice production was both a basic need and a luxurious Norwegian export article. (These sort of “ice-boxes” isolated with sawdust were used to keep the groceries fresh)


Artificially constructed, Isdammen Lake is still a visible manifestation from this era. This former marshland turned to a production site in the 1920s, became the core of a small industrial community, staying active untill the end of the 1960s.


Family Høvik, living by the lake, had ice production as their main livelyhood. Originally sawn by hand, ice procducion was a year round activity. In the summer keeping the lake clean from vegetation and mud, and in the winter cleaning the surface from snow to thicken the ice (as the snow works as an insulation)


Forest surrounding the lake is scattered with traces of human activity. Numerous quarries show the withdrawal of building stone, gravel and crushed stone, used for builidng Oslo.


In the forests surrounding Oslo lived construction workers, stonemasons and outliers. One of the preserved houses in Isdammen gives an idea what those simple after-war cabins were like. Belonging to the local stone mason the cabin is quite cleverly lined with the material available to him -mainly wood from dynamite boxes. By now, most similar structures have disappeared as, in the 60s, the police and fire department had a “clean-up” mission. Almost all the cabins were removed or burned, and their inhabitants placed in modern social housing blocks.


Nowadays, owned by the city of Oslo, the area is used for different outdoor activities and cultural events. Many trails in the forests are used for hiking and the cabins are available for rent…


Walking and talking with Håkon Gøthesen

Isdammen. Information booklet, with the help of googletranslate.


by the author, base material collected 25.09.2016