One of the traditions at the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde is that the ship's name is kept secret right up until its christening, so many people were excited to find out the name - scores of visitors also turned up to see the ship enter the water for the first time. 

Traditions with ancient roots

The Viking Ship Museum's Chairman and Mayor of Roskilde, Tomas Breddam, was responsible for naming the ship. 

Before revealing the ship's name, he talked about how the Viking Ship Museum brings many people together in many ways. 

Some go on their daily walks by the harbor, enjoying the fjord and the ships. Others engage in the voluntary work of sailing and maintaining the boats and ships. And then there are those who research the ships, build the ships, and in general, make it possible for people to experience Viking ships and traditional maritime crafts here in Roskilde, Breddam stated.

All those who use the museum and the harbor help preserve the traditions around the clinker-building boats, he noted.

UNESCO recognition of clinker boats

The clinker boat traditions have been put on UNESCO's heritage list. But living cultural heritage can only be preserved by people doing and living the culture, the Roskilde Viking Ship Museum points out on its website.

The Viking Ship Museum is part of a large, joint Nordic community that helps to ensure the Nordic clinker boat traditions, and many years of work and effort from all the Nordic countries contributed to the inclusion of the tradition on UNESCO's heritage list. 

"These are traditions that have millennia-old roots but which are still alive. Thank you to all those who have helped ensure that the clinker boat traditions are included in the UNESCO list," Breddam concluded in his speech.

The newly built ship is a reconstruction of the original, 1000-year-old Skuldelev 3 ship. Source: Viking Ship Museum Roskilde

Name revealed

After his speech, Breddam revealed the ship's name: Estrid Byrding, after Estrid Svendsdatter - daughter of Sven Tveskæg and mother of Sven Estridsen - son of Estrid.

Estrid was strongly attached to Roskilde during her lifetime. She lived there when the original ship was built and sailed.

Estrid had a rich life in Denmark, which was not "a given" at the time. As a king's daughter, she was an important piece in a big political game of power in Northern Europe. It was a violent time, and Estrid was engaged several times, but her future husbands died before she was old enough for the marriage to be completed.

In this way, she came to live as far away as the Russian rivers and in Normandy before marrying the Englishman Ulf Jarl, who was one of the faithful supporters of "Knud the Great" in England.

Estrid was of great importance at the time and was actually given the title of queen, without ever having been married to a king. The best expression of her royal influence is the fact that her son Sven, as a king, called himself Estridsen - son of Estrid - taking her name.

Byrding - a small cargo vessel

The Byrding part of the name comes from the term for a particular type of merchant's vessel that sailed along the coasts in the late Viking Age and early Middle Ages.

The original Skuldelev 3 ship was a small merchant vessel that was able to load about 5 tons of cargo in the ship's deep cargo hold in the middle of the ship.

The crew - which consisted of 6-7 guests and a skipper - could stay on the ship's two "half decks." At times, such a ship was owned by a farmer who could use it when he had to sail his goods to market. 

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