The Viking Ship Museum - History and Facts | History Hit

The Viking Ship Museum

Roskilde, Region Zealand, Denmark

Vikingeskibsmuseet in Roskilde is a Viking Ship Museum.

Antara Bate

24 Nov 2020
Image Credit: Tim Graham / Alamy Stock Photo

About The Viking Ship Museum

The Viking Ship Museum (Vikingeskibsmuseet) is located in Roskilde in Denmark. Displaying five Viking vessels, the Viking Ship Museum offers an incredible insight into the world of the Viking people and their era of between 800 AD and 1100 AD.

The Viking Ship Museum history

The Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde is the home of five world famous Viking ships and it is the Danish museum for ships, seafaring and boatbuilding culture in ancient and medieval times.

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. 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. 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. The excavations are not yet completed.

The museum is known for the unique synergi between the exhibition of the original Viking ships and the museum’s interactive environment, where you can experience reconstructed Viking ships, excellent boatbuilding and specialised, maritime crafts.

The Viking ships range from a 30 metre long warship known as “wreck 2” to an 11.2 metre fishing boat. Each one has been carefully reconstructed.

The Viking Ship Museum also has an exhibit telling the story of a Norwegian attack and there are even summer boat trips available for an authentic Viking experience.

The Viking Ship Museum today

The museum is beautifully located at Roskilde Fjord and consists of the Viking Ship Hall, the Museum Island with its boatyard and workshops, and museum harbor.

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.

The Viking Ship Museum attracts guests from all over the world and is an important gathering place and recreation area, with a wide range of activities and events for both children and adults.

Getting to the Viking Ship Museum

The Viking Ship Museum is located approximately 40 minutes by car from Copenhagen via Holbækmotorvejen route 21, or 45 minutes via E20. There is a large, free car park by the Museum Island. Most regional trains from Zealand and Inter-City trains from Jutland stop at Roskilde station. Walking to the museum from the station takes 20 – 25 minutes. Alternatively, Bus route 203 runs to and from Roskilde station.


Featured In

Viking Sites in Denmark

Explore the rich and bloody history of the Vikings at these 8 important sites, ruins and museums across Denmark.

Denmark Historic Sites

Explore the Viking past at Jelling or visit the setting of Shakespeare's Hamlet at Kronborg Castle. Denmark's historic sites are wide-ranging and beguiling.