Lonely Planet Writer

Myth-busting new museum in Stockholm will change our views on Vikings

How we view Vikings is set to change utterly with the opening of a new museum in Sweden early next year.

Remains Of Viking Settlement Church, Hvalsey, Southern Greenland.
Remains Of Viking Settlement Church, Hvalsey, Southern Greenland. Image by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images

In fact, the people behind the exhibition say that it will prove something of a myth-buster about the seafaring Scandinavians who arrived in many foreign shores across Europe between the eighth and eleventh centuries. The Local newspaper reports that our conventional image of the horned-helmet crews as blood-thirsty warriors is inaccurate, and does not do them justice. In fact, the group is seriously short-changed in the way they have been stereotyped, says Dick Harrison, a Swedish historian. He even suggested that they are “the most falsified characters in our country.”

The myth-busting museum will be housed on Djurgarden Island, Stockholm.
The myth-busting museum will be housed on Djurgarden Island, Stockholm. Image by Michel Setboun/Getty Images

Their gory exploits have been handed down through the generations, but virtually nothing of what tourists hear or read about Vikings is actually true, he added. Mr Harrison is one of the experts who will ensure that historic data is correct when the exhibition entitled Life of Vikings ‘Vikingaliv’ opens next April. What they want to put forward are gripping stories surrounding the ancient Norsemen when the doors open in the new museum on Djurgården Island, next to some of Stockholm’s biggest attractions such as the Nordic Museum, the Vasa Museum and the outdoor museum Skansen.

Mounted in the 2000-square metre museum building, visitors will also be able to experience an eleven-minute gondola ride to see the so-called Ragnfrid’s tale. This is a fictional account of a Viking wife in the year 963 who persuades her husband Harald to abandon a longboat journey and instead go looking for silver for his family. Public museums in Sweden are now free to visit following a change of law in the country in the past year. However, as the new museum is privately run, it will charge admission prices of 190 kronor for adults and 120 kronor for children who are aged between seven and 15.