Sara and Asker from The Viking Museum in Stockholm kindly sat down to tell us about one of Sweden's best tourist attractions.
A beautiful location but an even better experience
The Viking Museum in Stockholm has a simple mission: to bring the Vikings alive. Located on the gorgeous leafy green island of Djurgården, breathtaking views can be taken in looking out over the water to some of the other countless islands that make up central Stockholm. Dotted around this island are other museums, but surely The Viking Museum takes pride of place.
Where else, in Sweden's capital, can you experience history on such a personal level? Where else can you be transported back a millennium to experience life as the Vikings did and even to converse with them?
Sara and Asker have been diligently working for The Viking Museum, and their enthusiasm for Vikings is contagious. Not only do they have a deep passion for Vikings but, in the case of Asker, he literally wears this passion on his sleeve… well, tunic.
On our Zoom call, he was wearing a handcrafted Viking-era tunic – delicately woven and handmade. This is part of the philosophy of the Museum about bringing the Vikings to life. Every effort has been made to make visitors feel, once they step into the Museum, as though they have been transported back to the so-called "Viking Age."
The Viking Museum in Stockholm offers a wide variety of other activities for all ages and all occasions. Photo: The Viking Museum in Stockholm
A guided tour with a Viking
Perhaps one of the sadder parts of attending a museum is how historical objects are simply left behind glass with little context or story. This is the antithesis of The Viking Museum, where history is brought to life in a very personal way. Surely the highlight of the museum is the guided tour. Here, a real-life Viking will take you on a historical overview of the period. While Swedish and English are the working languages of these modern-day Vikings, audio guides are available in 9 other languages.
For Sara, what makes these tours special, is the fact that every guide, every Viking, has a particular niche or interest in the "Viking Age." No two tours will be the same as each guide will highlight their own preferential subjects, themes, or facts about the Vikings.
The Museum also offers a wide variety of other activities for all ages and all occasions. Ragnfrid's Tale is an interactive voyage geared for those aged 7 and above with a strong historical foundation. Visitors can experience undertaking a Viking raid, with Ragnfrid and her husband, Harald, in order to save their village.
Activities for all ages and all occasions
Children are welcome at the Museum, and they have the opportunity to wander around and converse with real-life Vikings – something that surely beats any app on an iPhone! There are also many runic puzzles for children to solve, which should keep any future Vikings busy. Birthday parties are often popular in the colder months, with many kids wanting to celebrate with those fierce medieval Nordic warriors.
Most surprisingly, perhaps, there had been three weddings at the venue, according to Asker. The highlight of one was a Viking torchlight procession that gave the wedding a very individual and unforgettable flavor. As mentioned, the Museum is situated facing the gorgeous waters surrounding Stockholm, making it a memorable location for that special day.
There will also be, this upcoming fall, a Viking Fashion Show. Not only will local designers help bring some Viking-era clothing to life, but many will also incorporate Viking designs (for example, designs found on Viking-era objects discovered at the Birka archaeological site, 30 kilometers west of Stockholm) into more contemporary clothing and fashion. The Fashion Show will include the work and designs of local artisans and students and will even include fire dancers on the night.
Off the runway, the Museum has been working with local artisans to design and produce historically accurate Viking-era handbags (Yes, you read that correctly, peoples in Viking societies did use handbags! Perhaps more Leif Viddar than Louis Vuitton, though). This is just an example of the educational outreach that the Museum offers.
The Museum also has an in-house restaurant, Glöd. Photo: The Viking Museum in Stockholm
A feast fit for Valhalla and raiding, pillaging, and plundering special mementos
There is no better way to unwind and travel back to the present than with a trip to the in-house restaurant, Glöd. Aside from all the traditional Swedish classics (Skagen toast and the meatballs are to die for!), there are also Viking-inspired fares, including mead (Mjød / Mjöd). This is an alcoholic beverage made by fermenting honey with water, fruits, spices, and grains. The perfect way to toast surviving a trip back to the Viking Age!
Finally, there is also a boutique store where you can buy a memento of your experience. Both Sara and Asker stressed how this boutique is not your average souvenir store. Everything in it has been sourced from Nordic materials and handmade in the Nordic countries. The items for sales are not mere tacky Viking helmets with horns but rather handcrafted arts and crafts with real historical accuracy and of the highest quality. From Viking ice rocks to drinking horns and everything in between. There is also a wide variety of books in English, covering all you need to know about the Vikings, from Norse mythology to Viking clothing and everything in between.
The only thing left to do is book a flight (or jump on a longship, perhaps) and head to The Viking Museum in Stockholm. What sets this museum apart from the multitude of others in Sweden's capital is the philosophy of bringing history to life with passionate staff (sorry, Vikings) with historical accuracy and attention to detail.
For more information on The Viking Museum in Stockholm, please visit their website here.
Many thanks to The Viking Museum and Sara and Asker for their passion and professionalism!
The Viking Museum has a museum shop worth visiting, with numerous handmade products from small businesses. Photo: The Viking Museum in Stockholm
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