Nordland Portland Cementfabrikk was the reason for existence of the little town of Kjøpsvik. The general manager’s residence is now used as a museum, and the collection of trinkets, antiques and art objects tell us the story of the great change experienced by Kjøpsvik in those years.
Kjøpsvik had the largest population of Sami around Tysfjord in the 1600s. Throughout the 1700-1800s the area was gradually taken over by Norwegians. A trading post, village church and parsonage were established. Kjøpsvik later became the municipal seat.
Nordland Portland Cementfabrikk was founded in 1918. A huge building project started at that time with factories, workshops, quays, warehouses, silos, residential barracks and a number of other buildings that had different functions.
The company purchased farms and moved houses to make space for the limestone quarry that changed the topography. This industrial adventure created places of work, bringing many people to the new town of Kjøpsvik. The growth of industry led to major changes in the cultural makeup of the community of Tysfjord, which was historically an agricultural community. The villagers were Sami and ethnic Norwegians who became day and weekend commuters. They were fisher-farmers who did seasonal work at the factory. People also moved here from other parts of the country. Engineers and salaried staff members were recruited from southern Norway, even from Germany and the United States. The industrial society it became created a need for unions.
Norcem Kjøpsvik is currently a part of the HeidelbergCement Group and it is still the biggest employer in the municipality. The museum center in Kjøpsvik will focus time and energy on the industrial history of the area since the cement factory became an integral part of the community and municipality, about 100 years ago.