In the footsteps of the famous Nordic Viking warriors

In the footsteps of the famous Nordic Viking warriors

Nationalmuseum - National Museum of Denmark

Nationalmuseum - National Museum of Denmark

Nordic Vikings

The Vikings' reputation as plunderers and colonisers is established through tv-series, but this does not tell the whole story.

The Vikings were explorers and merchants. The Nordic countries came into contact with the rest of Europe during the Viking Age which is the period from late 8th century to mid 11th century

By the end of the 11th century, the three kingdoms established, the kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden.


The Viking Age started in year 793

For three centuries the Nordic warriors known as the "Vikings" dominated Europe.The word Viking means raiding, and that is how they were given the name.

The Viking Age is usually said to have begun with the raid in June 793 on the monastery of Lindisfarne in England to the battle of Hastings in 1066. After this, they also reached France, Lisbon, Spain, Italy and several towns on Africa`s Mediterranean coast.

Crossing the Atlantic, the Vikings settled Iceland and Greenland, and also reached the coast of North America. 
Their superior ships explored unknown seas, and they settled new lands. In this way, the Vikings had a huge impact on the history in many countries and were both an explorer, warrior and a trader.

The Vikings undertook hazardous sea journeys in longships to many parts of Europe. These expeditions coincided with rapid and significant improvements in boat building.

One of the reasons was to amass wealth, and many European towns boasted impressive assets, from farming produce and raw materials to precious church possessions, and this made them lucrative targets.

Later many Vikings chose to settle in these lands, rather than return home with their loot.


Who were the Vikings?

The story of the Vikings is a fascinating dramatic story of ruthless pirates closely linked to their role as masters of the sea. However, this does not complete the story of the Vikings. They were also poets, lawmakers, artists and farmers who could take full advantage of what nature provided. They fashioned intricate tools and were skilled craftsmen. In Denmark, Sweden and Norway you can find incredible stories and landmarks of the Vikings.

They also settled in the Faroe Islands, Ireland, Iceland, Scotland, Greenland and Canada. Some carried out raids in the early years of the Viking age. Later they undertook systematic campaigns of conquest with well-trained armies.

According to Sagas Iceland was discovered by a Viking from the Faroe Islands called Eric the Red. According to the saga, when Erik was exiled from Iceland he sailed west and pioneered Greenland.

 
The Viking language

The language in Denmark, Norway and Sweden is almost identical, and the people in the three countries can understand each other when talking their language, and they have their common origin in the language spoken in the Viking age. In Iceland, who were isolated from the Nordic countries for centuries, they speak a language almost identical to the original language in the Viking age, and cannot be understood by the people in the other Nordic countries.

 
How was the daily life in the Viking Age?

Even if the Vikings were known abroad as ruthless pirates, the story tells via remarkable findings how the population rapidly was growing, where they conquered lands. They lived in a well-ordered society, which was based on laws and democracy.

There was a clear social hierarchy in the Viking age.The Jarl was the owner of land with great economic power.The upper levels of the Viking society were comprised of the various forms of aristocracy and the kings. Lowest in the social order were the thralls or slaves, who had no rights.

The "Ting" was responsible for maintaining law and order and is by many considered to be one of the first democratic organs and the beginning of the modern jury system.

The women had a remarkably strong position in Viking society and were responsible for the farm when their men were abroad.

Myths and facts about the Vikings

Vikings were also skilled craftsmen and developed effective weapons. Remarkable findings tell about swords, axes, bows, arrows and spears.  Defensive weapons included helmets and shields.

Contrary to popular belief, there is little evidence that Viking-age helmets ever had horns.In games or movies, the Viking often wears a horned helmet, but the real Vikings wore useful and effective helmets without horns. In the Viking age helmets typically were made from several pieces of iron riveted together.


How was the Viking Ship?

There have been several archaeological finds of Viking ships of all sizes, providing knowledge of the craftsmanship that went into building them.

The construction of the ships was very effective in connection with war and raids, but it was also very robust and manoeuvrable. 


Where to spot experiences from the Vikings?

In the Nordic countries, you will find landmarks, museums, events, castles, ruins etc..where you can discover and learn about the captivating life of the Vikings.

The spring and summer are a fantastic time to explore the Vikings, and there are several attractions and sites in the Nordic countries. Specific in Denmark and Norway there are several burial sites, fortresses and indoor and outdoor museums. One of the big attractions in Denmark is “Kongernes Jelling”, which is an experience centre and home of the Viking Kings in Denmark. This attraction is also on the World Heritage List. Here you to turn back time, and explore how the Vikings lived 1000 year ago.


"Bluetooth" is named after an old Viking King from Denmark

One of the Vikings Kings lived in Jelling was called "Harald Bluetooth". King Harald had united Denmark and Christianized the Dane. Back in 1996, a consortium of companies—Intel, Ericsson, Nokia, and later IBM—decided to create a single wireless standard, and they gave the project the cover-name "Bluetooth" after the old Viking King. When they should find a new name for the product, they decided to keep the name, because it was so good.

The now iconic Bluetooth logo is a combination—officially known as a bind rune—of King Bluetooth's initials in runes: ᚼ and ᛒ. 

Read moreRead less

Nordic Viking Attractions

The Viking Ship Museum

The Viking Ship Museum

The most famous Viking Ship Museum in Denmark you will find in Roskilde located 45 minutes from Copenhagen.

See more

The Viking Ship Museum

The Viking Ship Museum

In Oslo you can discover the stories about the famous Nordic Vikings.

See more

The Saga Museum

The Saga Museum

This Museum present important moments about the Icelandic people and their history.

See more

Jelling Heritage Monuments

Jelling Heritage Monuments

The Jelling Monuments are one of Europe’s finest Viking Age monuments on the Unesco Heritage list in Denmark.

See more

Birka and Hovgården

Birka and Hovgården

An archaeological testimony to the wide-ranging trade network established back in time by the Vikings.

See more

Sigtuna Museum

Sigtuna Museum

Sigtuna is the first developed town in Sweden from AD 980, the last century of the Viking era.

See more

Ribe Viking Center

Ribe Viking Center

In Ribe you can travel back 1000 years in time to when the Vikings ruled Ribe, called Ripa.

See more

The Viking Village

The Viking Village

Back in time the Vikings played an important role here.

See more

Lofotr Viking Museum

Lofotr Viking Museum

Explore the history and life of the Vikings through Lofotr Viking Museum.

See more

Nordic Top Heritage Attractions

Kronborg

Kronborg "Hamlet" Castle

Drama and history are gathered in one place at Kronborg "Hamlet" Castle.

See more

The Geirangerfjord & Nærøyfjord

The Geirangerfjord & Nærøyfjord

The two fjords are among the longest and deepest in the world and became the member of Unesco heritage list in 2005.

See more

Drottningholm Palace

Drottningholm Palace

Take a day trip to Sweden`s best preserved royal Palace, which is one of the most beautiful representatives of European architecture.

See more

Roskilde Cathedral

Roskilde Cathedral

Roskilde Cathedral is a unique and beautiful medieval cathedral.

See more

The Jelling Monuments

The Jelling Monuments

The Jelling Monuments are one of Europe’s finest Viking Age monuments on the Unesco Heritage list in Denmark.

See more

Bryggen Wharf Bergen

Bryggen Wharf Bergen

Bryggen in Bergen is world famous and attract every year around one million visitors.

See more

Old Rauma

Old Rauma

Old Rauma is an exclusive example of an old Nordic city, where the houses are made of wood.

See more

Suomenlinna Fortress

Suomenlinna Fortress

Suomenlinna became member of Unesco`s World heritage list in 1991, and the Fortress is one of Finland`s most visit tourist attractions.

See more

Thingvellir National Park

Thingvellir National Park

Thingvellir is the most important historical site in Iceland.

See more

The Viking Ship Museum

The most famous Viking Ship Museum in Denmark you will find in Roskilde located 45 minutes from Copenhagen.
Read more

The Viking Ship Museum

In Oslo you can discover the stories about the famous Nordic Vikings.
Read more

The Saga Museum

This Museum present important moments about the Icelandic people and their history.
Read more

Jelling Heritage Monuments

The Jelling Monuments are one of Europe’s finest Viking Age monuments on the Unesco Heritage list in Denmark.
Read more

Birka and Hovgården

An archaeological testimony to the wide-ranging trade network established back in time by the Vikings.
Read more

Sigtuna Museum

Sigtuna is the first developed town in Sweden from AD 980, the last century of the Viking era.
Read more

Ribe Viking Center

In Ribe you can travel back 1000 years in time to when the Vikings ruled Ribe, called Ripa.
Read more

The Viking Village

Back in time the Vikings played an important role here.
Read more

Lofotr Viking Museum

Explore the history and life of the Vikings through Lofotr Viking Museum.
Read more

Bork Vikingehavn

How did the Vikings live? And how did they travel around? Take a journey 1000 years back in time!
Read more

Vikingmuseum Ladby & Lindholm Høje

Visit the only Viking ship in the world, still placed in the burial mount, where it was placed 1000 years ago.
Read more

The Viking Market

Welcome to one of Europe's largest Viking Markets at Kvarnbo on Åland.
Read more


About Vikings

Vikings in Norway