The history begins in a time when mastercard and visa did not exist, and the value of goods was measured in pure gold and coin.
At the end of the 19th century the population in Lillehammer increased by 11%. The necessity of a bank capable of handling large amounts of money was apparent, resulting in Norges Bank gaining interest. Eventually they bought land of Thor Bergseng at the price of 13.000 kr.
The building of the bank was finished in 1913.
The bank was constructed with vaults surrounded by thick walls and an alarm system, both particularly modern at the time.
However, April 9th 1940 the vaults really proved their quality and necessity. A large amount of gold was sent to Lillehammer at the same time Blücher was sunk. The ship contained plans on how the Germans were going to obtain the Norwegian gold.
A total of 25 trucks loaded with gold arrived in Lillehammer that day, the last of which leaving Oslo at the same time German troops marched up the street of Karl Johan. Most of the trucks drove straight to Lillehammer. Interestingly enough some drivers, despite their precious cargo, took the time to enjoy a cup of coffee in some of the few cafeterias along the way.
For a total of 10 days all the gold in Norway was stored in this very building, protected only by 4 men from the local rifle club in Lillehammer.
Shortly after, the gold was up for relocation to ensure the continuing safety. However the General Manager had forgotten the code to the vault, resulting in a tense and stressful half hour. Some people claim the Minister of Finance was informed, and seriously assessing the possibility of using dynamite in order to open the doors. Fortunately, the General Manager was able to open the vault, and the relocation could continue as planned.
A total of 30 volunteers carried the gold from the bank and all the way down to the train station. All carrying two gold bars each; they were instructed to walk around in the city for a while not to arouse suspicion.
Valued at 240 million crowns, the gold left the station at 04.29 am. Adding the consumer price index, the value today would be 5,9 billion crowns.
The history continues in dramatic ways, however it will not be explained any further here. Eventually the gold ended up in the US after visiting Åndalsnes, Molde and Tromsø.
In the years to follow the building was host to a post office, communication offices and municipal offices. Lately, NOKAS has chosen to use the facilities as well.
April 16th 2011, the history continued as the doors to Hvelvet opened.
Welcome to Hvelvet