Skien (pron. /²ʃe:en/) is the capital of Vestfold and Telemark with about 55.000 inhabitians, situated close to Porsgrunn and Bamble, which makes Grenland a working and living area for more than 100.000 people.

Skien is an old viking town, known through the Middle ages as a supplier of wood, now a modern technology area. The people of Skien are known for their ability to cope with big restructuration – from heavy industry in the past - to smaller, innovative businesses in our time.

Skien is the birth town of playwright Henrik Ibsen, and the port to Norway’s most spectacular canal with river locks taking you all through Telemark.

Telemark is known to be the miniature of Norway, stretching from the sea right outside Skien, through the agricultural landscapes of middle Telemark to the high mountains of the Hardangervidda plateau.

Need help to get established in Skien? 

Move to Skien - see our digital brochure

Life in Norway

Norwegians are happy and easygoing, and not at all difficult to talk to. English is mandatory from 1st grade, and many people talk both German and French. 

School and basic health care is free, there are voluntary kindergardens for all children under 6, these at a cost.

Our unemployment rates are low.

For more information:




Place to live

Skien has many possibilities for hiring a place to live, and good access to all kinds of propety for sale

Check: is the most popular site to visit when you are looking for something to rent or buy. Unfortunately it is in Norwegian, so please ask us for help if you need to look up something


Need help til get established in Skien? or the  municipal service center: +47 35581000


Real estate agents:




Shopping and city centres

There are several places to shop in Skien, in the city centre or right outside.

Skien city centre





Tripadvisor Skien


Visit Telemark

Attractions, activities and entertainment


Cultural centres

Enjoy concerts and shows in Ibsenhuset cultural centre

and in Parkbiografen


Modern arts

Telemark kunstsenter

Spriten kunsthall



Telemark museum



Teater Ibsen



Skien library

Litterature and debates:


What’s on?


Skien, birthplace of playwright Henrik Ibsen

Skien is the birthplace of playwright Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906), the father of modern drama and behind immortal classics such as A Doll’s House and Ghosts. Approaching the 200 years anniversary for Ibsen’s birth, Skien muncipality is planning a new library with an integrated Ibsen dissemination centre to offer unique Ibsenian experiences for all visitors. The “Ibsen Library” is the centrepiece of Skien municipality’s cultural building programme for the years ahead. The artistic heritage of Henrik Ibsen is to be integrated at all levels.


Sports and water activities

Skien fritidspark is loaded with  possibilities for water sports, skating, climbing, frisbeegolfing, skiing – or just a lazy swim.


Odd is Skien’s premier league football club

Norwegian premier league’s Odd FC is a team from Skien, with Skagerak arena, of international standards, as home arena. Odd FC was founded in 1894 and is one of Norways oldest football teams.


Gjerpen is Skien’s premier league handball club


Voluntary organizations

For information in English, call Skien municipal service centre, phone +47 35581000




Skien church

Skien church was completed in 1894 after the great town fire. It is built in gothic revival style, with two spires, quite unusual in Norway. Inside there are beautiful stained glass windows and walls of glazed stone.The church has one of the largest and best organs in Norway with 5200 pipes and 70 votes. 


The Telemark Canal:


You are invited to trout- and salmonfishing, berry- and mushroom picking, even hunting in the surrounding woods.

Endless tracks and narrow pebbled roads take you straight into nature close to the city, open to canoe paddling, cycling, running or trekking. Don’t forget niste: Norwegian for packed lunchJ

In Norway everyone has the right to use surrounding nature, of course with some restrictions.

Check:  allemannsretten

Take a bath outside:


Developing the city of Skien

Downtown Skien welcomes you with lovely shops and cafes, and a team working together to  become a smarter, greener and even more lively city in the future. Our goal is to see more people live in the centre, work and use their spare time here – in a clean, traffic reduced environment. A new retirement home, a new Ibsen library and visitor’s centre are soon to ble realized.


The roads to and from Skien

By road
R36 goes from E18 in Porsgrunn to Skien and further up Telemark, connected to E134 via the Hardangervidda plateau, to the Bergen region and the fjords.

By train
It takes two hours by train from Oslo to Skien. (Vestfoldbanen) Skien is also connected to Sørlandbanen, going to Kristiansand and Stavanger. A local train goes to Notodden.

Oslo International airport/Torp, by Sandefjord is 45 minutes away, connected to bus and train.

Geiteryggen airport in Skien serves private jets and aero clubs.

By bus
Bus transport is crucial in Skien and covers the whole region. Grenlandsekspressen travels between Skien og Oslo, og Telemarkekspressen travels Seljord, Skien, Oslo Airport/ Torp and Tønsberg

By boat
Skien is port city for the Telemark Canal. Main terminal for bigger ships is situated by Frierfjorden.

Skien is connected to Sweden and Denmark with daily ferries  from Langesund and Sandefjord.