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Viking Museums

I am going to Denmark and Norway in July and I would like to take my kids to a Viking Museum. We'll be in Copenhagen, Oslo, and Bergen during this trip and it is my understanding that there are Viking museums in and near all three of those three cities. I am curious about the opinion of others as to which of those cities has the preferable Viking Museum. We probably won't go to a Viking museum in each city, so I'm curious about which one others would recommend.

Posted by
5837 posts

The Copenhagen National Museum is a must see if you are interested in the cultural history of Denmark.

The Oslo Viking Ship Museum is somewhat specific to the artifacts found in the viking tomb ships. I would combine the Viking Ship Museum with the Open Air Museum featuring relocated historic buildings. I am also partial to the Fram Museum also on the Bygdøy peninsula. Bus 30 from downtown Oslo then return by ferry to Oslo City Hall.

Posted by
255 posts

In general I agree with Edgar. As I recall, the Copenhagen museum displays more swords and similar sized objects. The Oslo museum is centered around 2 ship remnants with fewer small objects. I would say that the two museums are mostly complementary in what they display. You could see both and not feel like there was a lot of redundancy, IMO. I offer two caveats however. The National Museum in Copenhagen has a LOT of prehistory artifacts and exhibits (e.g. stone age tools) that you walk through before you ever get to the actual Viking displays. My spouse's eyes started to glaze over from all the flint knives and deer antler arrowheads, but we did manage to make it to the Viking stuff before she ran out of steam. Secondly, the Oslo museum is not overly large and can get quite packed with bodies. Try to be there either before or after the cruise ship crowds are. If I got there and saw more than 2 tour buses in the parking lot, I'd come back later. As Edgar indicates, there are other worthwhile museums in the general area. Have a great trip.

Posted by
11368 posts

Oslo has an outstanding museum of historic Viking ships. They are awesome to see with their graceful pried.. The museum is on island with three other museums, a short ferry ride. It is a must see! Incredible.

Posted by
272 posts

Last summer on the RS Tour we visited several Viking museums, my favorite by far was Roskilde. While the exhibits of the ancient vessels were impressive, the boat building workshops and related nautical crafts were fascinating. I'd imagine your kids would enjoy see the live demonstrations of ship building and wood working along side historical ships. BTW - the Viking museum in Kalmar SE is a knock out as is the nearby cathedral and small town, but it's not clear what transportation options you are utilizing. Safe travels.

Posted by
2522 posts

I went to the viking museums in Oslo and Roskilde. I agree with prior post that the Roskilde museum will be more fun for your kids (outdoor exhibits, you can pay to go out on a reproduction boat, eat "viking" food at the cafe). Note that there is a huge music festival there in the summer (usually first week of July) so if your dates overlap, you'll want to avoid going that direction. Personally, I liked the Oslo museum better because the collection of artifacts were spectacular and the reconstructed boats were much more interesting and better displayed. I loved the ferry ride getting to/from the museum and the quiet walk through the neighborhood to get from the dock to the museum.

Posted by
1317 posts

Another vote for the Roskilde longship museum. Absolutely fantastic! Easy to do in a day by train from Copenhagen (which is what we did). There's any easy stroll through Roskilde to get to museum but that allows you to check out Roskilde Cathedral on the way back which is also worthy of your attention.

Posted by
119 posts

Thanks for the great info on the Viking museums, everyone. I appreciate it. Sounds like we should try to see both the museum in Denmark (Roskilde) and the one in Oslo. They both sound great to me! :) The open air museum in Oslo looks interesting. Last year we went to the open air museum in Enkhuizen, Netherlands and it was a highlight of our trip there so we are looking forward to going to the one in Norway this coming summer. I love the suggestion of combining the Viking Museum with the open air museum.