Three proposals have been accepted for the final phase of the architectural competition to design the new Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, Denmark.

Launched in December 2022, a tender was issued for a new, future-proof exhibition building for the five Viking ships at the Roskilde museum, as well as a new reception building and outdoor areas, which together will provide visitors with an overall immersive experience.

What is there to see at Roskilde?

The Viking Ship Museum is built around the five Viking ships uncovered at the nearby Roskilde Fjord in 1962. 

The Skuldelev ships were deliberately sunk just north of Roskilde in 1070 in order to block the passage of the Peberrenden waterway and defend against potential invasion. Each different in character and purpose, the vessels have given up a wealth of information from several points of view. 

Capital of Denmark from the 11th century until 1443, Roskilde was a vital trading center during the Viking era for routes over land and sea. Founded by Harald Bluetooth in the 980s, it was made a bishopric by King Cnut nearly four decades later.

Built on Bluetooth's original church, the 13th-century cathedral at Roskilde, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, gives tourists an additional reason to visit, but the key draw is the Viking Ship Museum.

All five Skuldelev ships are on display in the Viking Ship Hall at the museum after being excavated, raised, documented, conserved, and pieced together.

This initiative provides family-friendly entertainment at the boatyard while the team works out in the open. Over time, this will also reveal deeper secrets into how these vessels were built. Reconstruction is expected to last several years.

Decisive phase for designs

Out of an overwhelmingly large field of applicants, five teams were selected to compete, each with their own proposal for a new Viking Ship Museum. 

On March 17, these five were presented to a judging committee formed of representatives from the board of the Viking Ship Museum, Roskilde city council, and professionals from the fields of architecture or engineering.

After thorough scrutiny of the five proposals, the judging committee has recently selected the three proposals which will proceed to the final phase of the architectural competition.

During the coming months, the selected teams must further develop their projects in dialogue with the judging committee until the final submission of the competition proposals, which will take place this November. An overall winner will be announced in January 2024.

Viking boat replicas at the harbor in Roskilde. Photo: Attila JANDI / Shutterstock

Who is who

Each designated by a letter from A to E for the purposes of the competition, the teams in question are:

Competition team B
Architecture, landscaping, transformation, and sustainability:
• C.F. Møller Danmark A/S
• Snøhetta Oslo A/S

• EKJ Rådgivede Ingeniør A/S with associated specialists:
• DBI - Danish Fire and Security Institute
• Gade & Mortensen Acoustics A/S
• A1 Consult A/S
• DIFK · Dipl.-Ing. Florian Kosche AS

Communication and exhibition design:
• Kumulus Agency ApS
• Walk ApS (v. Klaus Matthiesen)
• Fortheloveoflight ApS (v. Nikolaj Birkelund)

Competition team C
• Dorte Mandrup A/S

• Vogt Landscape Architects AG
• Over Byen Arkitekter ApS

• ACT II Limited

• Henrik-Innovation ApS
• ACT II Limited

Communication and exhibition design:
• Atelier Brückner GmbH

Competition team E
• Lundgaard & Tranberg Architects A/S

• Marianne Levinsen Landscape ApS

• Christoffer Harlang Architects ApS

• Aaen Engineering ApS

• Niras A/S

Communication and exhibition design:
• JAC Studios ApS

Supporting a new Viking Ship Museum

The Viking Ship Museum expects construction of the new museum to begin in 2025. The original museum will remain open while the new one is being built.

The Viking Ship Museum has received private donations of a total of DKK 135 million from the Villum Foundation, the Augustinus Foundation, and the Aage and Johanne Louis-Hansen Foundation, as well as a financial law grant of DKK 150 million and DKK 25 million. 

Providing DKK 60 million, the Villum Foundation is a non-profit organization that supports technical and scientific research as well as environmental, social, and cultural purposes at home and abroad. 

It was founded in 1971 by civil engineer Villum Kann Rasmussen, also the founder of, among other things, Velux A/S and other companies in the VKR Group, which aim to bring a better environment closer to people's everyday lives. 

Pledging DKK 50 million, the Augustinus Foundation is one of Denmark's major cultural institutions, whose philanthropic work is primarily focused on art and culture but also supports research, education, and social initiatives in Denmark and abroad. 

With a backing of DKK 25 million, the Aage and Johanne Louis-Hansen Foundation is an independent and private body whose purpose is to support projects that enrich society, its community, continued development, and well-being.

On the initiative of director and civil engineer Mrs. Johanne Louis-Hansen, the Aage Louis-Hansen Memorial Fund was established in 1969. The fund later changed its name to the current Aage and Johanne Louis-Hansen Foundation.

A finance act grant of DKK 150 million has also been secured to preserve the five Viking ships for posterity, while the Roskilde Municipality has set aside DKK 25 million for the new Viking Ship Museum.

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