April 21, 2017

Vikingaliv: New Viking Museum in Stockholm

There is a new museum opening in Stockholm on April 29th! Vikingaliv, loosely translated as "the life of Vikings", takes a look at the Viking Age (circa 800 to 1050 AD) in Sweden, who the Vikings were, how they lived and what is myth and what is fact when it comes to what we have heard of these ferocious(?) people. Vikings are by far the most well known historical Swedes and it is high time they get their own museum in Stockholm.
Still putting on the finishing touches ouside.
My ancestor?
I was invited to a sneak preview of the museum yesterday. While they are still putting on the finishing touches and waiting on the delivery of the components of a couple of the exhibits, it was great to have the chance to see the museum before tourist season starts in earnest. The museum occupies some prime real estate on the island of Djurgården, where many of Stockholm's main museums and attractions are located.
Their tagline is "a true adventure" and the adventure starts on the first floor after entering the building. Here they have set up exhibits showing the history of the Viking Age, how far their long ships sailed, what they looked like, how they lived/fought/played and where the myth of the blood thirsty, horned helmet wearing Vikings came from. Many of the exhibits are interactive and the information is in both Swedish and English. There are also quite a lot of child friendly exhibits.
Some of the...
The adventure continues downstairs with Ragnfrid's Saga. Here you climb into an open carriage and are taken on an 11 minute ride, following the tale of Ragnfrid and her husband Harald and their journeys through Viking Age Europe. The narration comes in several different languages... from what I could tell, the staff determines the language for each carriage after consulting with the riders. It is a child friendly ride, though they don't recommend the ride for children under 7 due to loud sounds and the slightly violent parts of the story.
...dioramas from...
...Ragnfrid's Saga.
The adventure then ends back upstairs where they have a gift shop with plenty of Viking knick-knacks to purchase as well as a restaurant called Glöd. The restaurant wasn't open yet during our sneak peek, but it will have nice views over the harbor and I am sure the menu will contain Viking "dishes" and Nordic ingredients. Apparently you will be able to try mead here as well. The restaurant will be run by the owners of the popular restaurant Broms, so it should be good quality! You can visit the shop and restaurant without having to pay the entrance fee.
Gift shop
Vikingaliv isn't a huge museum but its location on Djurgården means that it is easy for visitors to combine a visit with another nearby museum like the Vasa Museum, Skansen or ABBA the Museum. And speaking of combining visits... if you are especially interested in Vikings, then you can visit the nearby Museum of Swedish History (Historiska) where they have a great exhibition on the Vikings as well as the gold and silver treasure found in Viking hoards discovered throughout Sweden (the museum has free admission). And during the warmer months, a day trip out to Birka (Viking Age trading town) is definitely worthwhile! Click here for more Vikings in Stockholm.
Part of the Viking display at nearby Historiska museum
The easiest way to get to Vikingaliv from the Rival Hotel is by taking the Djurgård ferry from nearby Gamla Stan (just a 10 minute trip). If you are already in the downtown area, then you can take the street car out to Djurgården. The entrance fee for Vikingaliv is a little high (190 SEK for adults and 120 SEK for children between 7 and 15) due to the interactive nature of the museum. But I figure that if you combine the visit with one to the history museum, which is free, then you can have a full Viking day for the price.
One of the runestones at nearby Skansen.


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