The Viking Ship Museum In Denmark

The Vikings were the greatest sailors of their age. They built sturdy vessels that took them as far as Greenland and even North America. A few of these amazing craft have survived to the modern day.

The Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, Denmark, has five such ships on display. Fifty years ago they were discovered at the bottom of Roskilde Fjord, where they had been deliberately sunk to create a defensive barrier in the 11th century A.D. Silt and cold temperatures kept them remarkably well preserved and archaeologists were able to restore and display them.

Walking through the main hall of the Viking Ship Museum, it’s easy to imagine you’re in a busy Viking port. The ships are of various types, such as the knarr, a broad ocean-going trading ship. These were the ships that the Vikings took on their long voyages of commerce and exploration. The famous longship was for battle only and didn’t do well on the high seas.

There’s a longship here too, a 98-foot-long beauty that was probably the warship of a chieftain. Tree-ring analysis of the timber shows it was built in or around Dublin about the year 1042. The Vikings settled in Ireland in 800 A.D. and founded several towns, Dublin being the most important.

%Gallery-174000%There’s also a smaller type of warship called a snekke. Shorter than the longship at only 57 feet, it was still a formidable vessel and remnants of the shield rack and carved decoration can be seen on the side.

The best-preserved boat is a byrding, coastal trading vessel built of Danish oak. There’s also a small boat that may have been used for fishing or whaling.

After examining the displays – very well done and with signs in English as well as Danish – walk outside to the museum harbor. Here you’ll find reconstructions of some of the ships you saw inside as well as historic vessels from later eras of Denmark’s seagoing history. At the boatyard, you can watch shipbuilders using traditional techniques. The star attraction is The Sea Stallion from Glendalough, a reconstruction of the museum’s longship. It’s seaworthy, and tests have shown it reaches an average speed of 2.5 knots and a top speed of 12 knots when under sail. There are even a few surprises, like kayaks from Greenland and Borneo.

Some ships are actually used and visitors can go on boat trips around the fjord.

If you’re heading north after your trip to Denmark, check out the excellent Viking ship museum in Oslo, Norway.

[Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons]

Denmark: the land of promiscuity

Denmark promotes promiscuity?! Well, that’s the accusation that caused the country’s tourism agency to yank an ad from YouTube. The country, which has a reputation for being a bit more open than we’re used to seeing in the United States, used a three-minute video clip to promote the destination, but featured a blond woman and an infant, claiming the latter came from an encounter with a foreign tourist.

I guess Denmark, if only briefly, became the land of opportunity.

The ad continues with the woman claiming to be looking for the kid’s father. She launches into a fairly involved story, claiming how she met this unknown stranger and uses it as a vehicle to talk about the other reason. The best part: she’s not looking for anything, implying that there are no strings attached. And, she speaks English, another perk.

Don’t get too excited; it’s all fiction. Denmark’s TV2 has confirmed this.

VisitDenmark scored a quick win with this concept, pulling in more than 800,000 views on YouTube. Though the ad has been pulled, it lives on through other YouTube accounts, so you can still enjoy the stunt.

Now, of course, everyone’s backpedalling. VisitDenmark manager Dorte Kiilerich told the Associated Press, “I regret that the film has offended so many people,” continuing that it was intended to convey “a nice and sweet story about a grown-up woman who lives in a free society and accepts the consequences of her actions.”

Economy Minister Lene Espersen says that the clip offers “a not very well-thought-out picture of the country.”

Perhaps the most critical reaction, though, comes from sociologist Karen Sjoerup, who claims that the ad suggests that “you can lure fast, blonde Danish women home without a condom.”

Isn’t that the point?

Check out the commercial after the jump.

Word for the Travel Wise (11/19/06)

Hmm… I’m not sure how you can squeeze this word into some conversation, but if the opportunity should present itself, use it! Use it over and over again, until they go from impressed to annoyed. That way no one can say you never made an effort to speak the local lang!

Today’s word is a Danish word used in Denmark:

tillykke – congratulations

Danish is part of the North Germanic language family, also known as a Scandinavian language. Speak Danish dot com has a ten day intensive online course that provides you with lesson one for free and the rest at a charge of $75 USD. Learn Danish is a good source for all the facts regarding the language, but points us back to the Speak Danish which gets a bit dizzy if you’re looking for an alternative site to visit. For learning abroad in classroom settings click here.

Past Danish words: svimmel