Viking Ship Museum (Roskilde)

The Viking Ship Museum (Danish: Vikingeskibsmuseet) in Roskilde is Denmark's national museum for ships, seafaring and boatbuilding in the prehistoric and medieval period.

Viking Ship Museum
The Viking Ship Museum
LocationVindeboder 12,
4000 Roskilde
TypeMaritime history museum, archaeological museum
Collection sizeSkuldelev ships
DirectorLars Fredsted (2014)
WebsiteViking Ship Museum

The main focus of the museum is a permanent exhibition of five original Viking ships excavated nearby in 1962. The Viking Ship Museum also conducts research and educates researchers in the fields of maritime history, marine archaeology and experimental archaeology. Various academic conferences are held here and there is a research library in association with the museum.

Original Viking ships

Around the year 1070, five Viking ships were deliberately sunk at Skuldelev in Roskilde Fjord in order to block the most important fairway and to protect Roskilde from an enemy attack from the sea. These ships, later known as the Skuldelev ships, were excavated in 1962.[1] They turned out to be five different types of ships ranging from cargo ships to ships of war.

The Viking Ship Museum overlooking the inlet of Roskilde Fjord was built in 1969 with the main purpose of exhibiting the five newly discovered Skuldelev ships.[2] In the late 1990s, excavations for the shipyard expansion of the museum uncovered a further 9 ships from the Viking Age and early medieval period. It is the largest discovery of prehistoric ships in Northern Europe and includes the longest Viking warship ever found; the Roskilde 6 at 36 metres.[3] The excavations are not yet completed.[4]

The original Skuldelev Viking ships are the main focus of the museum, but a small exhibition about the Roskilde ships and various temporary exhibitions with a broader scope can also be experienced here.[4]

Boat collection

The Viking Ship Museum has a long tradition of Viking ship reconstructions and boat building and also collects boats of interest from all over Scandinavia. The boat collection at the museum now comprise more than 40 vessels and the associated ship building yard is constantly building new ships by original methods as part an experimental archaeology learning process. It is possible to follow or engage in the ship building process here.[5] The shipyard is located on a small isle known as Museumsøen (Museum Island), connected to the main museum exhibition buildings by a drawbridge.

Every summer, a handful of boats are launched for extended seavoyages to accumulate more knowledge about the seafaring techniques and conditions of the Vikings.[6]

The Permanent exhibition


See also


  1. "The Skuldelev Ships". Nautical Archaeology Program. Department of Anthropology, Texas A&M University. Retrieved 25 December 2017.
  2. BBC Ancient history in-depth: Viking dig reports
  3. Navis ship database: Roskilde 6
  4. "Roskildeskibene [The roskilde Ships]" (in Danish). Viking Ship Museum Roskilde. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  5. "Vikingeskibsmuseets bådsamling [The boat collection of the Viking Ship Museum]" (in Danish). Viking Ship Museum Roskilde. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  6. "Skibenes togter [The ships' expeditions]" (in Danish). Viking Ship Museum Roskilde. Retrieved 9 January 2016.

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