Gift from Mandalsfondet

At the opening event on June 20, chairman Stig Skjævesland came with good news: The Mandal Fund has decided to award the Mandalselva Villakssenter a grant of 125,000 kroner to the two theme areas Life in the river and Protection of the wild axis. Anders Sveaas` and wife Granvilde f. Knutsen's memorial fund, called the Mandal Fund, was established autumn 2019. This year's allocations are the fund's first. Now in the Wildlife Center's first year, the exhibition "Life in the river" is of six smaller aquariums that show others fish species in the watercourse. The plan is to further develop this so on it on a basic can explain the biological system and food chains in such a "watercourse society".

The salmon has many "enemies", not least the human who catches large-scale catches of it - and which in several ways affects the living conditions in rivers and seas in a negative way. Worldwide has the stock of salmon in the last ten years has been greatly reduced. With the theme area Protection of the wild ax we will disseminate knowledge about the most important threats. But it must also be shown how implemented measures, not least in the Mandal River, have yielded positive results.

Skjævesland says that the further project investigation will start as soon as the opening season for the aquarium is over, that is, in October. Early in the new year, the production of exhibition and the communication elements start, so that everything is in place when Villakssenteret opens at the beginning of June 2021.


The opening day!

After a lot of hard work – with many amazing helpers – we’ve finally opened the doors to this great facility! We’ve had a successful and nice opening ceremony together with everyone that in some way have helped us realize this project. We are forever grateful and very proud. Now, we are looking forward to the continuation, and to create an even better experience in the years to come.

Hope to see you at Villakssenteret this summer!


Four days left till the opening!

The official opening of the aquarium is around the corner, and in accordance with corona-restrictions, we have decided that the opening ceremony is going to be a closed event for invited guests only. The ceremony ends at 2pm, and after this it will be possible for others to buy tickets to visit our facility. There will be no special happenings after 2pm this day. We will have to make assessments along the way regarding how many people there can be on the facility this day, and because of this there may be some waiting to enter the area. We kindly ask for understanding of this and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

With that being said, we are very much looking forward to opening the doors to this cool facility, and we hope that many of you would like to visit us this summer!


The historic fishing

in the Mandalselva

The center's exhibitions are still being worked diligently, and one of them is the exhibition on the historic fishing in the Mandal River. Here we will present the story of "Notfisket i flatelva", "Lordefisket" and the unique "Klubbefisket i Kavfossen".

We are so lucky to have talented Odd R. Jørgensen with us on this project. He will create large oil paintings that illustrate the three stories, and we look forward to decorating the wall with this art.

When it comes to the situation we are all in now - with the ongoing corona pandemic - we will of course also take into account everyone's best interests. It is still a bit early to say how summer is going to be, but we evaluate the situation continuously and keep you updated in case the opening of the center has to be postponed.

Happy Easter!



continues at Villakssenteret

For 13 years, the Marnar Salmon Center at Laudal has been the central gathering place for the salmon fishermen in the Mandal River. Sub-area 3 of the Mandalselva Elveigarlag, which has been in charge of the operation of the center, has now entered into a collaboration with the Villakssenteret on the further operation.

The introduction to the cooperation agreement states: The parties want the Salmon Center to be able to continue - and further develop - as a gathering place for salmon fishermen, with fishing license sales, disinfection of fishing equipment and other services. This means that the Mandalselva Villakssenter will take over the operation of Marnar Laksesenter, which in this way will receive joint service and reception with the new aquarium - in the same place as it has been in the past.

As in the past, the center will also sell fishing licenses for Zone 4 and for Klevelandsvallet.

This year, the opening hours for the Salmon Center will be the same as in 2019, except that the center in June will open at. 14 instead of 2 p.m. 16. Otherwise, contact and info for the fishermen will be as before:

Phone: +47 941 66 725



Facebook: Marnar laksesenter


100 days left!

Today, February 27, there are 100 days until Mandalselva Villakssenter opens to the public - June 6, 2020. Planning is in full swing. The activity will increase in the future towards the opening day. In particular, there will be a lot that will happen in May. Then fish should be caught and put into the aquarium tanks. How it behaves there will give answers to the location of gravel, rock and pits. The goal is for the fish to thrive and behave as much as they would in the river.

It also prepares how information about the salmon and exhibits that tell about the history of the watercourse should be designed. The salmon-bearing part of the Mandal River is almost 50 km long. The river has historically been one of the country's best salmon rivers. Before the hydropower development began, there was plenty of fishing on virtually the entire stretch. In recent years, environmental measures in collaboration between the power producer, the authorities and the local players have resulted in an increasing proportion of the river approaching its original state.

At the aquarium, we are now preparing to present the historical fishery in the estuary (Østerland fishing) and at Kavfossen in Bjelland - which was the top spot for salmon to come.


Opening hours in 2020

The official opening of the Villak Center for the public is scheduled for Saturday, June 6. To mark the event there will be a special program this day. It will be presented here as the day approaches.

From June 6, the center will be open every day through August, but at slightly different times. In September it will be open on Saturdays and Sundays.

For groups of at least 10 people it is possible to arrange visits also outside of the official opening hours, but it must then be arranged at least one week in advance.

Fishing license sales will have a slightly extended opening hours compared to the aquarium's opening hours. Information on this will come at a later date.

Hours for the aquarium:

June (from 6th):




Saturday / Sunday

Monday – Friday

Every day

Saturday / Sunday

10.00 - 18.00

14.00 - 19.00

10.00 - 18.00

10.00 - 16.00


Elise Lauvdal appointed Center Leader

Elise Lauvdal is now employed as Managing Director of Mandalselva AS and Center Manager of the Villakssenteret from 1 April. Thus, another important piece in the "building work" is in place.

“We are very pleased that Elise said yes thanks to the offer of this position,” says Chairman Stig Skjævesland. “Elise has contributed a great deal in preparation over the past year. She is therefore very familiar with the project and the challenges, and we are so lucky that she can also help us a great deal in the period up to April.”

In recent summers, Elise has worked at the Marnar Salmon Center in Laudal with fishing license sales and service to the salmon fishermen in the Mandals River.

Elise is completing her Bachelor's degree in Marketing and Management this spring - and will go straight into one of the country's most exciting jobs.


200 days left!

Today, November 19, there are 200 days left for the Mandalselva Villakssenter to be opened to the public - June 6, 2020. The aquarium building is complete. But preparations will continue through the winter and spring. The building is just "the shell." Now it should be filled with "life and soul."

Work on creating a good and proper environment for the salmon in the seven large aquarium tanks has begun. In total, approx. 130 large sacks of river gravel for this "furnishing." But there are likely to be many adjustments to keep the flow conditions in the tanks optimal for the fish. Most of this work is scheduled for May next year. Then hopefully it will be something exciting to see in each of the 14 aquarium windows.

A working group is in the process of drawing up plans for everything else that the Villak Center will show to its guests. This will be both indoors and outdoors. Through exhibitions, information and activities we will tell about life in the river, salmon fishing, the production of renewable energy and other aspects of the watercourse's current and historical significance for the local community. The ambition is that much of this will be in place before the center opens on June 6.


Topping-out ceremony

Today we had a topping-out ceremony together with entrepreneurs from skanska Norway and the architect, Jan Antonsen. We had a great ceremony with food and cake celebrating the unique construction and the future it holds

If everything goes to plan the building will be completed during October.


The building arises

The aquarium glasses are installed, which means that a new milestone has been reached. Parts of the wooden construction is also completed, and the finished product is starting to show.

The testing of the aquarium is going to happen in about two weeks. Pebbles and stones will be placed carefully in the aquariums, and then it will be filled with water and a few salmons.

Different water levels and currents will be tested, to find out what works best for the salmon. The testing period will probably last for a month, and then the salmon will be released back into the river for spawning.


The aquarium

will open June 6, 2020

It can sound like a long time that it will be a year from we start building till the opening. But we think that it is wise to do so, so that we are well prepared. .

For the grand opening at June 6, there will be an extra program. There will be more information about this as the day approaches.


The building process

of the aquarium has started

Today they started the building process, and in July/august the 7,5 cm thick aquarium glasses will be installed. If everything runs smoothly, the building will be finished in September. After that the aquariums will be filled with gravel and stones, and then filled with water and a few salmons to test how everything works. The salmons will be released shortly after. New fish will be caught in May 2020 and placed in the aquarium for the grand opening in June.

The building will be approximately 300 m2. The centerpiece will be the seven aquarium tanks that are lined up with a 30 cm height difference between each of them. With 200 l/s of fresh river water flowing through the aquariums, it will be similar to the actual conditions in the river.

The aquarium is being built on Agder Energi’s property. This is a Norwegian powerplant who are producing renewable energy, and they are highly involved in the realization of Mandalselva Villakssenter. A significant amount of the funding is grants from Mandal- and Marnardal municipality, and Vest-Agder county municipality. The intension is that Mandalselva Villakssenter will contribute to positive development in the region.

It has taken many years to realize this project, and that the building now is being made is a huge milestone!

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