Crown Prince Haakon visited ‘heavy water’ plant 75 years after WWII action

Vemork, RjukanVemork, Rjukan.Crown Prince Haakon : Håkon Mosvold Larsen / NTB scanpix

Crown Prince Haakon walked sections of the ‘Saboteur Route’ on foot and on skis when attending the 75-year anniversary of the ‘heavy water’ action at Vemork.


It has been 75 years since the sabotage of the ‘’heavy water plant at Vemork during the Second World War, which was marked on Wednesday night. For that reason, Crown Prince Haakon visited the last part of the sabotage route with soldiers from the Special Armed Forces.

On Wednesday afternoon, they came up the gorge that splits the valley where Vemork is located. It was here that the Norwegian saboteurs came up when they carried out the successful action against the German occupation power’s production of ‘heavy water’, wrote The Norwegian Royal House.

The visit on skis and on foot in the snow took approximately five hours.

“It was a dramatic story, and amazingly impressive what they achieved. They managed to sneak in without discovery until they were in the basement where the production of ‘heavy water’ was taking place. They managed to blast explosives, blow up the plant and retreat without faltering. Everyone survived and managed to get away. So it was a success story which was recognised internationally’’, said Crown Prince Haakon, according to VG newspaper after the trip was completed.

In total, eleven Norwegians participated in the Vemork action against Hydro’s plant. They were the ‘Heroes from Telemark’ (as they were called in the famous Hollywood production of 1965). The purpose of the action was to prevent Nazi Germany from accessing ‘heavy water’, a necessary component in the development of nuclear weapons.

According to the Crown Prince, it was an uncomfortable climb.

“It was about minus 20 cold, and nine meters per seconds of wind, so it was a bit fresh, yes, but it went well. We had OK equipment, and weren’t there for so long. The five “Grouse” saboteurs were onsite for three months, and waited for reinforcements before they could carry out the operation, so what we did today was relatively simple compared to that,” he said with admirable understatement.


© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today