With the kids soon off from school, Denmark's Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde is staging two weeks of family-friendly events starting this Saturday, February 10. 

Recently in the news, after the Copenhagen architectural firm Lundgaard & Tranberg won the tender to design the new building for the waterfront site, the Viking Ship Museum will be laying on activities up to and including February 25. 

Roskilde's new shipwreck 

While the site opens at 10 am every day and offers plenty to see and do, the holiday program kicks off with a 45-minute English tour starting at 11 am. 

Two workshops follow, one at the Maritime Archaeologists' DocuLab and the other at the Skuldelev 5 ship

While these will be carried out in Danish, English explanations will be provided upon request. 

The Maritime Archaeologists' DocuLab was established following the discovery of two shipwrecks submerged in 12 meters of water during the construction of Lynetteholm, an artificial peninsula in the Port of Copenhagen. 

During the spring and summer of 2023, maritime archeologists from the Viking Ship Museum conducted complex and extensive underwater excavations of the shipwrecks. 

Piece by piece, the ships were subsequently lifted from the seabed and transferred to the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde. 

You might assume that, after this, the maritime archeologists' job is done, and they can pack up and go home, but an extensive phase of documentation work now begins, aimed at revealing the stories behind these ships. 

During this time, they will be on display at Roskilde's DocuLab. 

Visitors can closely observe the archeological process of analyzing and documenting the many ship parts, gaining insight into the maritime foundations of modern society. 

At the workshop, you can get your hands on archeological finds that marine archeologists have retrieved from the depths of the sea. 

One fascinating item is a broom whose brush is made of whalebone. How effective would this be in sweeping away dust? Try for yourself! 

Established in 1969, the museum is renowned for safeguarding Scandinavian naval heritage, featuring a collection of 40+ boats and a shipyard committed to authentically reconstructing Viking ships. Photo: The Viking Ship Museum 

A relic from the Viking Age 

Roskilde is best known for holding the famous five Skuldelev ships from the Viking era, uncovered at the nearby Roskilde Fjord in 1962. 

These were deliberately sunk in 1070 to block the passage of the waterway of Peberrenden to defend against potential invasions. 

A major tourist attraction, they are currently stored in a ship hall at Roskilde. Their continued protection and sustainable upkeep underpin the need to build them a more permanent home – hence the new building.

Of the five ships from the Viking Age, two are warships. The smallest is called Skuldelev 5. 

Like its housemates, Skuldelev 5 was also made here around 1030 and would have seen service in shallow Danish waters. 

It is also the only one with a pattern scratched into it. Experts are still in doubt about exactly what the pattern represents. 

These details are vital because they can tell us something about the people who sailed and built the ships. 

Children can also make their guesses and create their own patterns. 

While the originals await visitors in the ship hall, the construction of their replicas is a process the whole family can enjoy watching during the summer. 

This will also unveil deeper insights into how these vessels were constructed over time. The reconstruction is expected to last four years. 

From the 11th century until 1443, Roskilde was the capital of Denmark. During the Viking Age, it was a crucial trading center for routes over land and sea. 

Founded by Harald Bluetooth in the 980s, it was established as 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, offers tourists an additional reason to visit. 

Young visitors at the Viking Ship Museum have the opportunity to participate in interactive workshops and activities catered specifically to their age group. Photo: The Viking Ship Museum 

Winter holiday timetable 

The Viking Ship Hall is hosting activities designed for families with children aged 6-14 from February 10-25.

Tour in English: Offered daily at 11:00 am, this tour explores the Viking Ship Museum's unique collection.
Workshops at the Maritime Archaeologists' DocuLab: Scheduled from 11:00 am to 11:30 am and 12:30 pm to 1:00 pm, these workshops provide hands-on experiences with maritime archaeology.
Children's Workshop at the Skuldelev 5 ship: This workshop, conducted daily from 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm, engages younger visitors in the world of Viking shipbuilding. 

Location: Viking Ship Museum, Vindeboder 12, 4000 Roskilde, Denmark.
Opening Hours: Open daily from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.
Admission: Adults: 125 DKK. Family ticket (2 adults and all children under 18): 230 DKK. Free admission for children under 17.

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