Klippfish Museum

Milnbrygga 2

- Miln Warehouse

The method of air drying salted cod was probably developed by the portugese or basque fishermen along the coast of Newfoundland in the early 1500's, possibly earlier. The method was brought to Norway and Kristiansund in 1690 by a Dutch merchant called Jappe Ippes. British and Scottish merchants settled in Kristiansund in the 1730's and began exporting salt cod. Kristiansund officially became a city in 1742, and from then on the klippfish-trade was of great importance. The reasons why these foreign merchants came here were mainly because of the very rich fishing grounds and because of the climate, which is ideal for drying klippfish! The klippfish-industry was of great importance to Kristiansund for about 200 years.

The Museum is located in Walter Milns packhouse and was officially opened by King Harald V. and Queen Sonja on 29th June 1992. The building became museum in 1989. The oldest wing of the packhouse was built by the Scotsman William Gordon in 1749. Gordon is considered as one of the founders of the salt cod trade in Norway. In 1772 the packhouse was bought by Walter Miln, whose name is still used to designate the packhouse "Milnbrygga" or "Miln's" packhouse. The eastern wing here was built in 1872 and the washing sheds were built in the 1950s.

The packhouse tells the story of the salt cod trade in Norway from the 1740's to the post World War II period. As the museum continues to dry salt cod in the traditonal manner, production is unbroken from 1749 to the present day! Modern standards of hygiene have brought about radical changes in the industry so that our museum will soon be the only place where salt cod production can be experienced in its traditional surroundinigs.

When the method of making klippfish came here in 1690, the product was unknown in Norway. Cod and other fish was dried without salting, socalled "stockfish". Stockfish is also dried in the round and not salted, so it has an entirely different appearance. 

"Klippfish" is salted, dried fish. Traditionally cod and other members of the cod family such as tusk and ling are used. In more recent times saithe or pollack has been made into "klippfish". 

The first step in the production was the washing of the fish. This was mostly done by women. When the ships came with fish to town, the first they had to do was to wash the fish clean from salt and blood etc. Originally, the women washed the fish directly in the sea, but later they began to wash inside. You will go through the washing sheds on you way out.

Our photo exhibit  shows conditions in the salt cod trade in Kristiansund around 1900-1920, photographed by one of Norway's most famous photographers Anders Wilse. Many of the pictures show cod being dried on the grounds belonging to the Miln packhouse.

Klippfish has traditionally not been used by the Norwegians, outside of the region where it was produced. The main markets were and still are Spain, Portugal and the formere colonies of these countries in Africa and Latin America. Salt cod is still one of the main items in traditional cooking in Spain and Portugal, Brazil and Cuba, not to forget Jamaica!

The most known recipe with klippfish in it here in Norway, is "bacalao". Bacalao means cod in spanish. The dish was brought here from the Mediterranean countries, and consists of: Klippfish/salted cod, tomatoes, pimientoes, olive oil, onions, potatoes and spanish pepper. 

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