Roskilde Viking Ship Musem

Published Categorised as Denmark, History, Life in General, Travel No Comments on Roskilde Viking Ship Musem

It’s very unlikely I or anyone else will be trav­el­ling much this summer (I’ve not been more than a mile away from home for months now), so I thought I’d sort out and post some old travel photos. Here’s Roskilde from 2015. I posted photos of Copen­ha­gen and Malmö at the time (you can see them here and here), but I forgot to do these ones.

I was stay­ing in Copen­ha­gen, but my Danish friend (hi Sanne) recom­men­ded I go to the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, the town where she was complet­ing her PhD. The museum is a fair walk down to the harbour from the town centre, and I thought it would be nice to get some lunch first. Oh there will be plenty of places to eat in a pictur­esque univer­sity town, I naively thought.

Copen­ha­gen may have a chic and modern image, but outside the centre of the capit­al Denmark is defin­itely not a gast­ro­nom­ic destin­a­tion (and partic­u­larly not for veget­ari­ans and vegans). This is not helped when on holi­day by the fact that Danes eat lunch at 11.30 and think eating lunch at any other time is a bit freak­ish and improp­er. Also, maybe you should have just brought a sand­wich with you from home, from that kitchen you don’t have in your cheap hotel? The cafe might be open, but they stopped serving hot food at 12.30. Oh and sorry, all the sand­wiches here are sold out too.

The museum cafe had a veget­ari­an option, but was also sold out of pretty much all of the food (which uses only ingredi­ents avail­able in Viking times- so no pota­toes, toma­toes etc). All they could offer me was a sad look­ing “Viking Salad” that appeared to be some kind of cabbage and turnip coleslaw. I ended up buying chips from a van in the harbour. The chip man was doing very brisk busi­ness.

Aside from the diffi­culty of getting a meal, Roskilde is very nice. Although I actu­ally found it strange how much it looks like England. Some­where in Devon or Dorset perhaps. I can’t find the pictures of the town centre or my walk through the back streets down to the fjord, but you can have a wander via Google maps.


The museum is down on the fjord, and you walk down resid­en­tial streets to get there. It’s not a fjord like a Norwe­gi­an or Scot­tish one with dramat­ic moun­tains, it’s more gentle hills. On my route down, there was a family having a house clear­ance sale and I had a pop in and look at the stuff.

Danish is weird for me. I under­stand it without trying, as there turns out to be a strong cros­sov­er between Austri­an Farm­er and Dane, but I don’t speak it. For some reas­on people kept assum­ing I was Danish and talk­ing to me in Danish. The prob­lem was I under­stood everything they said, but had to reply in English and they’d look at me like “What the hell? You clearly know Danish, why are you speak­ing in English?”. Luck­ily the chatty old lady talk­ing me through the junk she was selling didn’t really notice that I wasn’t contrib­ut­ing to my half of the conver­sa­tion.

The big attrac­tion of the museum is all the Viking ships they’ve found in the water. They’re huge in real life.

I also loved the fact that the boats are displayed in a gallery over­hanging the water where they were found.

They also have all kinds of living history demon­stra­tions (and also build work­ing lifes­ize replica boats for archae­olo­gists to test out, that people can also buy and use). I shied away from photo­graph­ing the demon­stra­tions however, because they invited chil­dren from the audi­ence to help in the wood­work­ing one I watched and it seemed a bit weird photo­graph­ing them as a stranger.

Toy boats made by the chil­dren, ready for racing.

They also do textile demon­stra­tions, but there wasn’t one on the day I visited. Making cloth was very labor­i­ous in Viking times.

I bought a nålbind­ing needle from the gift shop, along with a replica Viking chess­man. Nålbind­ing is a type of Viking crochet, using a flat wooden needle and scraps of wool. I guess the company that made the needles also makes vari­ous other histor­ic­al replica tools, as it came with a slip warn­ing me not to use the tools provided unless I had been prop­erly trained. I doubt I’ll come to much harm from a wooden sewing needle. (I still haven’t learnt how to do it).

I bought a copy of the scared Lewis Chess­man. The origin­als were found in the Hebrides and are split between the Brit­ish Museum and Nation­al Museum of Scot­land. A Brit­ish Museum exhib­it that wasn’t stolen for once!

The shop assist­ant also laughed because in the gift shop they sold the exact back­pack and a very simil­ar jump­er to the ones I was wear­ing, and I’d co-ordin­ated myself nicely to the visit. I could have fallen in the water and been fished out and given some­thing from the shop to wear out of pity, and no-one would have known the differ­ence.






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