Viking Ship Museum, Oslo Norway.

By Posted in - Blog & Destinations & Norway & Norway on August 22nd, 2013 Oseberg Ship, Oslo, Norway

By Cacinda Maloney

Updated:  July 2015

Viking Ship Museum, Oslo

Viking Ships, Norway

Viking Ship Museum, Oslo

A Viking Queen:  Viking Ship Museum, Oslo

At over 1000, years old, the Viking Ship Museum, Oslo houses viking longships and artifacts from the peak of viking marine engineering. The Viking Age, from 800-1100 AD, was the age of the sleek, speedy longships. Without this crucial advance in ship technology, the Vikings would never have become a dominant force in medieval warfare, politics, and trade. These lightening speed ships had the strength to survive ocean crossings while in only 20 inches of water at times.  This allowed navigation in very shallow water.

Viking Ship Museum, Oslo:  What’s there?

The Viking Ship Museum houses 3 longships: the Oseberg ship, the Gokstad ship, and the Tune ship. Each of the three viking ships are in separate rooms in the Viking Ship Museum, Oslo with a “balcony” where you can go upstairs to a viewing platform. Here you will get a higher and better view of the viking ships. It is much better to see them from a higher perspective. While there you can marvel at the details of the viking boats and how well preserved they are. These massive viking boats are just a few of the things you will see at the Viking Ship Museum, Oslo. You will also find many of the artifacts that were found within or near these buried ships.

A Viking Queen:  Viking Ship Museum, Oslo

Viking Ship Museum, Oslo

This statue outside of the Viking Ship Museum, Oslo is in memorandum to Anne Stine and Helge Ingstad, Norwegian archeologists with the University of Oslo, who discovered the remains of a viking settlement at L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland in 1960.

Viking Ship Museum, Oslo: Viking Ship Oseberg History

A Viking Queen:  Viking Ship Museum, Oslo

Viking Ship Museum, Oslo

The Mother of Norway’s first King, Queen Asa, (mother of Halfdan the Black and grandmother of Harald Fairhair), was buried with her viking ship.  There was also the skeletal remains of her daughter on the longship.  It is also speculated that it could have been a slave girl, who was sacrificed to accompany her into the afterlife.  The women were buried with, among other things, three beautiful sleighs, a carriage decorated with mythical figures, five carved animal heads and dresses. The Queen was wearing a very fine red wool dress with a twill pattern. This was known as a luxury commodity back in the 9th century.  She also had a fine white linen veil, multiple combs and pearls..  The younger woman wore a plainer blue wool dress with a wool veil.  One of the outfits included silk imported from China. The opulence of the burial site and the goods buried along side them suggests that this was a burial of very high status. Along with the women, there were also horses, cows and six dogs in the grave.

My imagination runs wild as I try to envision these brave women aboard the majestic viking boats with the waves crashing against it from  the rough seas in the fjords of Norway. It is hard to believe that they could manage such an enormous creature. Wide bottomed and massive, the viking longship must have taken a slew of men to keep this gigantic ship afloat during the horrific storms of these cold seas.

Viking Ship Museum, Oslo: Viking Ship Oseberg:

It has been determined that the Oseberg viking longship was a pleasure yacht. It is 70 feet long and 16 feet wide. It had a single square sail and fifteen pairs of oars. The researchers estimate this viking ship could achieve a speed of up to 10 knots and was built in the first decades of the ninth century,  A.D. (It was determined that the ship dates from before the year 800 and that she was buried since 834). It is the world’s most complete viking ship ever found.

Oseberg Ship, Oslo, Norway

Viking Ship Museum, Oslo

Viking Ship Museum, Oslo: Viking Ship Oseberg Discovery

A farmer discovered the viking ship in 1903 while he was digging in a mound on his farm. It was unearthed in 1904 by a Norwegian and a Swedish archaeologist after a 5 month excavation.  The viking ship was very well preserved in a clay pit. It was completely reconstructed and is now the centerpiece of The Viking Ship Museum, Oslo, It was temporarily stored for years at the University of Oslo and it took conservators twenty-one years to meticulously restore the viking ship using almost all of the original wood.

Oseberg Ship, Oslo, Norway

Viking Ship Museum, Oslo

You will surely be impressed with the massive size of the viking longship Oseberg  and the amount of original wood they used to help reconstruct it.  To get an idea of the size of the ship, be sure to take a look at the size of the people in the two photographs below.

A Viking Queen:  Viking Ship Museum, Oslo

Viking Ship Museum, Oslo

Oseberg Ship, Oslo, Norway

Viking Ship Museum,Oslo

Viking Ship Museum, Oslo: More Viking History

Along with the ship, they also have artifacts that were discovered on the ships, which include everything from richly carved. four-wheeled wooden carts to bed-posts, and wooden chests. More mundane items, such as agricultural and household tools were also found.

Oseberg Ship, Oslo, Norway

Viking Ship Museum, Oslo

The bow of the viking longship has the most amazingly carved head of a serpent, with the stern of the ship its tail.  It quite literally could have been the sea monsters people reported to have seen!

Oseberg Ship, Oslo, Norway

Viking Ship Museum, Oslo

Oseberg Ship, Oslo, Norway

Viking Ship Museum, Oslo

The Viking Ship Museum, Oslo also has two other viking boats:  the Gokstad and the Tune ships.

Gokstad Ship, Oslo, Norway

Gokstad Ship, Oslo, Norway

Viking Ship Museum, Oslo: The Viking Longship Gokstad

The viking longship Gokstad was a large ocean-going trading vessel. It is 76 feet long and 17 feet wide. It had 16 pairs of oars and a single square sail. This viking longboat looked more seaworthy than the Oseberg. Archaeologists estimate up to seventy people could sail in it. Like the viking longship Oseberg, it was a burial and contained the remains of an elderly man. It’s almost as well preserved as the Oseberg ship and was made around 890 A.D.

A Viking Queen:  Viking Ship Museum, Oslo

Viking Ship Museum, Oslo: Viking Ship Gokstad

Viking Ship Museum, Oslo: Viking Ship Gokstad Discovery

Viking Ship Gokstad was found on the Gokstad Farm in 1879, by the Gokstad boys. The farm is in Sandefjord, Norway, where there was a large burial mound. The two teenage sons were bored on day and they had heard rumor that there was a viking boat buried in the mounds, so they began to dig.  Sure enough, they were able to uncover some of it. A year later, an official archeological dig took place. The viking longboat was actually buried below the ground level in clay. The bow and stern were above the clay and had been destroyed, but otherwise the viking longboat was exceptionally well-preserved.

Gokstad Ship, Oslo, Norway

Gokstad Ship, Oslo, Norway

 You can marvel at the details of the viking ships and how well preserved they are.  Alongside that, you’ll find artifacts on display. Each of the three rooms they occupy has a “balcony” where you go up the stairs to get a higher view. It is great for looking at them from a higher perspective.

Viking Ship Museum, Oslo: The Viking Longship Tune

The third ship at the Viking Ship Museum, Oslo is the 22-meter fragment of the Tune ship.  The incomplete state of this ship reminds me how remarkable the nearly complete finds of the Oseberg and Gokstad really were. The Tune ship is the lesser-known and in the poorest condition of the three vessels that are on display at the Viking Ship Museum, Oslo.  It was once thought that the Tune was built primarily as a so-called “grave ship” for an important Viking. But since the viking ship has both ruts and signs of wear and tear under the keel, it is now thought that it was actually used as a seafaring vessel. It is now believed that the Tune ship was a fast-sailing courier ship along the coast, since it was equipped with unusually strong rigging for such a small viking boat that was built for 12 oarsmen.

Viking Ship Museum, Oslo: The Viking Longship Tune Discovery

It was discovered on the Haugen Farm, north of Fredrikstad, in a town known as Tune, Norway. It was excavated from a burial mound in 1867. The ship is fragmented, but may have been up to 72 ft long x 14.3 ft wide, with 12 pairs of oars. The length of the keel is 46 ft. There was a burial chamber right behind the mast and in it were found the remains of a viking man. Even though the grave was plundered before its excavation, research has revealed remains of burial gifts: a horse’ s skeleton, parts of a ski, and a sword handle.

Viking Ship Museum, Oslo: How to Build a Viking Longship

Both the Oseberg and the Gokstad were built using the clinker method, rather than the more conventional technique of first building an inner skeleton for the hull.  The clinker method is where the oak planks overlap along the edges and give the viking longships their shape. This was the secret of the viking longships their unique construction. A single piece of oak was used to ensure the structural integrity of the keel.  It was cut using a broad ax instead of a saw. An expert viking wood maker would split the oak tree trunks into long thin planks and then fasten them with iron nails to a single sturdy keel. The length of the keel then determined the dimensions of the rest of the ship. This invention of the keel is one of the key reasons the Vikings maintained naval superiority for 250 years.  A keel allowed the ship to be rowed and sailed. This demonstrates how today we can learn plenty about navigation and shipbuilding from them.

Know before you go:

Viking Ship Museum, Oslo:  Arrival

Upon arrival into the viking museum, you will be awe struck at the massive size of this and the two other ships they have on display.  They are displayed in all their grandeur and you will truly enjoy a trip to this viking museum.  To learn more, go to the website for The Viking Ship Museum, Oslo.

Viking Ship Museum, Oslo:  How to get there

The Viking Ship Museum, Oslo is located on a peninsula on the western side of Oslo, Norway called Bydgoy. It is served by Oslo Bus 30.

The Viking Ship Museum, Oslo

The Viking Ship Museum, Oslo: How to get there from their website

The Viking Ship Museum, Oslo

The Viking Ship Museum, Oslo: How to get there

While in Norway, the Viking Ship Museum, Oslo is a must!

Free access to the Historical Museum

The Viking Ship Museum, Oslo and the Historical Museum form the Museum of Cultural History. Here you will find Norway’s largest gold treasure from Viking times, as well as the rest of the Viking collection.

Tickets for the Viking Ship Museum, Oslo are valid for access to the Historical Museum if used within 48 hours.

To learn more, go to the website for the Historical Museum.

Viking Ship Museum, Olso: Nearby Attractions

The Viking Ship Museum, Oslo and the Norsk Folk Museum are very close together, so go to these on the same day while on the Bogdoy peninsula. You can make a day of it by taking the time to visit the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History known as Norsk Folkemuseum. This place is just as fascinating as visiting the viking longships and allows you to learn even more about viking history.

The Norsk Folk Museum (the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History):  This is also A MUST for any visit to Oslo. I have to confess that I missed it the first time I was in Oslo. It was absolutely my favorite thing on my itinerary on my second trip to Oslo. This is where I finally got to visit my first Stave Church, something I had been wanting to see for years. Not only does The Norsk Folk Msueum house the Stave Church, but it also allows viking history to come alive as the world’s first open air museum with over 150 buildings that have been relocated from towns in Norway.

The Viking History Museum, Oslo and the Norsk Folk Museum are very close together

The Viking Ship Museum, Oslo and the Norsk Folk Museum are very close together

Other Nearby attractions

  • A short walk away you will also find both the Fram Museum and the Kon-Tiki Museum. The museum is located about ten minutes walk from the Fram and the Kon-Tiki museums.

The Viking Ship Museum, Oslo: Opening hours

Open daily

  • 1 May – 30 September 09:00 – 18:00
  • 1 October – 30 April 10:00 – 16:00

Viking Ship Museum, Oslo: Ticket Prices

Viking Ship Museum, Oslo: Ticket Prices

Viking Ship Museum, Oslo: Ticket Prices

Viking Ship Museum, Oslo:  Oslo Pass

 Viking Ship Museum, Oslo

Viking Ship Museum, Oslo Pass

Should you or shouldn’t you purchase the Oslo Pass? The Oslo Pass gives you free entry to more than 30 museums.  Even better than that it also gives you free admittance  on all public transport and if you have a car, free parking in municipal car parks.  It offers a lot more than that, but you can find more information about it here.

The deal is, you decide whether you want a card that is valid for 24, 48 or 72 hours. Once you validate it, the pass is valid for the number of hours you chose.  The cool thing is that they have an app on your phone that you can use to track it.  I will let you decided on whether or not you think it is worth it, as the whole package is outlined on the official page of the Oslo Tourism Board.

Viking Ship Museum, Oslo: More Tips

Go early, as the viking museum gets pretty packed as the day goes on. There are frequent tourist buses that go here, so plan accordingly.  Also, there is free wifi, so no need for this mifi hotspot while you are at the Viking Ship Museum. 

Viking Ship Museum, Oslo:  Reviews

Find the latest reviews of the Viking Ship Museum, Oslo on Tripadvisor.

A Viking Queen:  Viking Ship Museum, Oslo

A Viking Queen: Viking Ship Museum, Oslo Photo courtesy of WikiMedia Commons https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Oseberg_ship

 

Disclosure:  My trip to Norway was courtesy of Visit Norway USA, however the opinions expressed here are all my own. You can contact them here: www.visitoslo.com or www.visitnorway.com

You may also like these additional posts on Norway:

Shhh!  It’s a secret:  Emanuel Vigeland’s Mausaleum 

How I climbed Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) 

The Clarion Collection In Bergen, Norway: Elegance Refined

Edvard Munch:  What Makes you Scream?

 A Magical 48 Hours in Oslo

Experience Norway’s Northern Lights

You must realize after reading this article about the viking boats that the Viking River Cruise I took in Europe is nothing quite like these viking longships!

Viking Ship Museum, Oslo

Viking Ship Museum, Oslo

(45) awesome folk have had something to say...

  • Preikestolen, Norway - Reply

    August 24, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    […] You may also enjoy:  Viking Queen:  The Viking Museum in Oslo, Norway […]

  • Jeff Titelius - Reply

    August 25, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    A fascinating tale of the mighty Viking ship and its ultimate resting place! I wish I would have seen this on my journey to Norway! Next time! Fantastic photos my friend!
    Jeff Titelius recently posted…ArtSmart Roundtable: Norway’s Historic Stave ChurchesMy Profile

    • admin - Reply

      August 25, 2013 at 7:41 pm

      Yes, I do believe it is must see, I thoroughly enjoyed it! It was fascinating.

  • Amy | Club Narwhal - Reply

    August 26, 2013 at 5:47 am

    Wow, the details on that ship are amazing! I am always so impressed with the craftsmanship that went into structures like these. It looks like you learned a lot at this museum (you make me want to visit)!
    Amy | Club Narwhal recently posted…MICHIGAN MONDAYS | MEXICANTOWN DETROITMy Profile

    • admin - Reply

      August 26, 2013 at 5:20 pm

      It was amazing and one of my number one recommendations when going to Oslo, Norway. Norway was an eye opener for me, I did not expect it to be so pristine and wonderful! Put it on the bucket list!

  • Irene S. Levine - Reply

    August 26, 2013 at 7:13 am

    You did a great job capturing the beauty of these vessels~

    • admin - Reply

      August 26, 2013 at 5:19 pm

      Thanks so much, it was a labor of love! It was fascinating!

  • Michele {Malaysian Meanders} - Reply

    August 26, 2013 at 7:35 am

    I would love to visit Norway sometime, and this museum would be high on my list. The carving on the bow is exquisite.
    Michele {Malaysian Meanders} recently posted…The Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch of Kangaroo IslandMy Profile

    • admin - Reply

      August 26, 2013 at 5:18 pm

      Definitely don’t miss this museum, I loved it!

  • noel - Reply

    August 26, 2013 at 9:22 am

    what a fascinating museum, the details on the boats are striking, I love how you captured the beautiful etchings and highlights to the ships
    noel recently posted…Coastal hike along the Mendocino coastline,Travel Photo Mondays #9My Profile

    • admin - Reply

      August 26, 2013 at 5:18 pm

      Yes, Noel, it is fascinating and worth a trip there if you ever get a chance.

  • Mo - Reply

    August 27, 2013 at 6:20 am

    I like the way how you made a piece of this ship through your photography, great shots! Must have been a amazing experience as well to see an old ship such as this one!
    Mo recently posted…Photo Essay: Colourful Graffiti On Abandon BuildingMy Profile

    • admin - Reply

      August 27, 2013 at 1:58 pm

      When you are standing there, in front of this majestic ship, you know, you just know the strength and power it had, as it cut through those waves, which makes you respect it. It was easy to get a good shot, as it tells its own story.

  • fotoeins | Henry - Reply

    August 31, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    Your photos bring back great memories of visiting the great Vasa shipwreck housed in Stockholm’s Vasa Museet. As I have not yet been, Oslo and Helsinki are high on the list to complete my “quartet” of northern capitals. Thanks for your post!
    fotoeins | Henry recently posted…Planning a daytrip with Czech Rail: Praha to Kutná HoraMy Profile

    • admin - Reply

      August 31, 2013 at 5:29 pm

      Yes, it was amazing! It was so amazing to see these old ships and to imagine how they sail the seas. Would like to go to Stockholm’s Vasa Museum as well. I have not been there yet.

  • […] A Viking Queen: The Viking Museum, Oslo, Norway […]

  • […] A Viking Queen: The Viking Museum, Oslo, Norway […]

  • Christina - Reply

    September 8, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    Beautiful ships! I’m amazed how well these were built and how elegantly they were designed. Thanks for the great photo tour!
    Christina recently posted…Rookwood Pottery Factory (& Bar?)My Profile

    • admin - Reply

      September 8, 2013 at 9:07 pm

      It is a must if you are ever in Oslo. I loved the ships too! They are so well preserved and amazing!

  • […] A Viking Queen: The Viking Museum, Oslo, Norway […]

  • Jacqui - Reply

    September 10, 2013 at 6:30 am

    Don’t the viking ships look like huge pieces of art? Such geometry!
    Jacqui recently posted…What’s Cooking Brendan Van Son? Photography Workshop in Ireland, New Travel Writing Forum…Food?My Profile

    • admin - Reply

      September 10, 2013 at 8:23 am

      Yes, they certainly do! Amazing that they were able to find them buried and reconstruct them from underneath the earth. They are beautiful!

  • Mary Jo Manzanares - Reply

    October 29, 2013 at 9:11 am

    The detailing on those ships are amazing – true works of art.
    Mary Jo Manzanares recently posted…Postcard from Belfast City HallMy Profile

    • admin - Reply

      October 29, 2013 at 4:38 pm

      They literally are works of art from time past.

  • Henry | @fotoeins - Reply

    October 29, 2013 at 10:56 am

    This reminds me of the Vasamuseet (Vasa Museum) in Stockholm! I suppose one shouldn’t be surprised by that, nor by the fact that the Vikings had great ingenuity and naval/Atlantic superiority for an age, resulting (most likely) to be the first Europeans to set foot on North American soil. Reading your post is another reason to visit Oslo, and for me to complete my visits to the remaining Scandinavian capitals. Thanks for your post, Cacinda!
    Henry | @fotoeins recently posted…Fotoeins’ Favourite 5 in GermanyMy Profile

    • admin - Reply

      October 29, 2013 at 4:38 pm

      Yes, it is a must: Oslo and the Viking Ship Museum! I loved it and it sounds like you will too!

  • santafetraveler - Reply

    November 2, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    Those Viking long boats are amazing!
    santafetraveler recently posted…Photo of the week: a November Santa Fe sunsetMy Profile

    • admin - Reply

      November 2, 2013 at 8:12 pm

      They are! They are worth a trip to Oslo just to see them!

  • Cathy Sweeney - Reply

    November 5, 2013 at 7:52 am

    Those ships have always amazed me. Must have been quite a ride! I’d love to see them in person. Interesting history of Queen Asa and the royal family.
    Cathy Sweeney recently posted…How to Take Ghostly Travel PhotosMy Profile

    • admin - Reply

      November 5, 2013 at 8:35 pm

      Yes Cathy, it is a must see while in Oslo, I loved it!

  • Kristin Henning - Reply

    November 12, 2013 at 4:20 am

    Thanks for adding this to the history link-up. Sounds amazing and I enjoyed your photos. I got to see the Canoe Museum in Ontario just after the TBEX conference in Toronto. Wonderful site for this part-Viking girl.
    – Kris
    Kristin Henning recently posted…Crucifix, Cathedral, Toledo, SpainMy Profile

    • admin - Reply

      November 13, 2013 at 12:58 pm

      Totally worth a visit to Oslo, just to see this!! Loved it!

  • Suzanne Fluhr (Boomeresque) - Reply

    November 23, 2013 at 11:20 pm

    Looking at how low the side of the ship is, it is hard to imagine these ships ranging fat and wide over the tempests of the northern sera, including the north Atlantic. I’ve been to Copenhagen and Helsinki. Oslo and Stockholm remain on my bucket list.
    Suzanne Fluhr (Boomeresque) recently posted…Our Peruvian Honeymoon — 1982My Profile

    • admin - Reply

      November 24, 2013 at 7:51 pm

      I know, it is amazing that these viking longships were seaworthy. The Viking Ship Museum, Oslo is certainly worth a trip and it is a city that is easy to get around in, so I think you will enjoy it.

  • Welcome new member Cacinda Maloney - Reply

    July 23, 2014 at 11:19 am

    […] his craft while in a Nazi concentration camp, batek art in Malaysia and the funeral ship of a Viking queen.  In her own words, her niche is “value luxury (getting) the most from…travel dollars by […]

  • […] The Viking Ship Museum:  This place is wonderful and a MUST SEE for any visit to Oslo.  You will want to spend time wandering around and learning the history of these Nordic vessels and its’ famous lady ship captains. It is one of my most read articles, and you can read it here. […]

  • […] about that below!). However, there is an absorbing history to find out about first. The Viking Ship Museum is home to the Oseberg, which is the world’s best preserved…you’ve guessed it, Viking ship. […]

  • […] to try out a product that was new to me called a Mifi, my very own, personal wifi on my trip to Norway from Xcom Global.  They were gracious enough to allow me to test out the international mifi […]

  • Sherry -Viking Decedent - Reply

    August 9, 2015 at 12:30 am

    I MUST visit there someday! I am a descendent of the Viking kings and queens. So far I have traced them back to the mid 500’s

    Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful photos!

    • Cacinda Maloney - Reply

      August 9, 2015 at 12:53 am

      Oh wow! That is really awesome that you have traced your history! My grandmother was a genealogist back when there were no computers and traced our family back to the Ansley Family in England! I think it very interesting to learn your family history! And about the Viking Ship Museum, Oslo = it is fabulous! You will thoroughly enjoy it.

  • […] Ship Museum was so fascinating, I’d be hard pressed to see if they can outdo that! Also, check out this cool article on my friend’s blog Points and Travel for a different perspective on this […]

  • […] tours or even visits to the trendy museums sorry folks. But my friend Cacinda has written about the Viking Ship Museum, Oslo on her blog if you want to head […]

  • Erin Frith - Reply

    August 13, 2015 at 7:40 am

    The Viking Ship Museum in Oslo is not over 1000 years old, as you state in your opening sentence. The museum was built in various stages between 1925 and 1957, making it a maximum of 90 years old.

    The items housed in the museum are in the 1000 year old range, but not the museum itself. I would hate for people to visit the museum, expecting to experience a 1000 year old building.

    • Cacinda Maloney - Reply

      August 13, 2015 at 4:42 pm

      Erin! Yes,thanks for reading! Yes, of course, the Museum is not over 1000 years old. The Viking Ship Museum, Oslo houses viking longships and artifacts that are over 1000 years old! I don’t think anyone would be expecting a 1000 year old building.

  • 22 Interesting Facts About Norway – - Reply

    August 23, 2015 at 6:15 am

    […] Also check out the Viking Ship Museum!  […]

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