The city of Silkeborg grew up around a paper mill established in 1844 on the banks of the River Gudena by Michael Drewsen, who in 1867 helped to acquire the paddle steamer Hjejlen (Golden Plover), which still plies on the Silkeborg lakes. The mill had a 6o hp iron waterwheel, and in 1847 acquired a water turbine, the first in Denmark. It once employed 2000 people, and produced 70000 tonnes of paper a year. The factory closed in 2000, and its buildings have been integrated into the town centre.
Papirmuseet Bikuben (the paper museum beehive), in a former vat house, portrays the mill’s history and enables visitors to make paper by hand. The life of Michael Drewsen is illustrated in the city museum, which is also responsible for a small house at Chr I Vej, 52, which displays the way of life of working class families of c.1910.