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The Rjukan Waterfall is unfortunately much less impressive than it used to be as most of the water has now been diverted into pipes running to the Vemork power station. But at the same time, it's so much more beautiful and powerful when they release it.
In 1810, geology professor Jens Esmark "discovered" the Rjukan Waterfall, and sent a report to the King in Copenhagen about the "world's highest waterfall". This was a slight exaggeration. The Rjukan Waterfall is no more than 104m high, but it led to increased tourism in Rjukan. The mountain man and heavy water saboteur Claus Helberg claimed that Rjukan was the cradle of modern tourism in Norway.
Great artists such as I. C. Dahl and Johannes Flintoe came first and painted the two giants of nature, Gaustatoppen and the Rjukan Waterfall, followed by the upper classes from large European cities who came to "inspect this beautiful scenery". There are many descriptions to be found of first meetings with the Rjukan waterfall. The lawyer Bernhard Dunker, totally entranced, wrote the following:
"After passing Skovbekken and reaching the cliff face close by, it seemed to me that I should see the waterfall. Finally and unexpectedly the path led out of the forest and on to a terrace on the mountainside, and there was the waterfall in all its glory. As if by magic, I was standing face to face with this great waterfall and a natural phenomenon, the power and beauty of which surpassed even the most spectacular dream. Neither words, brush nor colour can do justice to the Rjukan waterfall and its surroundings. But for he who is granted the privilege of standing on the terrace just opposite the Rjukan Waterfall and hears its thundering roar and observes the clouds of mist rising towards the sky, a picture of nature's majesty and power forms in his soul which will remain with him throughout his life."
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