Viking ships stay berthed on Bygdøy

Bookmark and Share

Norway’s authentic, famed Viking ships now seem unlikely to leave their berths in the Viking Ships Museum on Oslo’s Bygdøy peninsula, following a decision by the board of the University of Oslo to consider alternatives to another location.

Norway's Viking ships, excavated after nearly a thousand years, may stay berthed at Bygdøy. PHOTO: Views and News

For years, officials at the university have been urging a move from what they claim is an outdated branch of their Museum of Cultural History. They want the city and state to build a new museum for the Viking ships at Bjørvika, on the other side of town and at the site of Oslo’s first settlements.

Other experts, however, have worried that the ancient vessels may not survive a move. Debate has flown, with other museums on Bygdøy such as the nearby Kon-Tiki Museum threatening to move as well if the Viking ships, a major tourist magnet, depart.

Now the university’s board is willing to look at alternatives to a move to Bjørvika, the most likely of which is modernization and expansion of the current museum on Bygdøy, adjacent to the outdoor Folk Museum. That could mean a new Museum of Cultural History, currently downtown, on Bygdøy as well, to combine collections.

University dean Ole Petter Ottersen told Uniforum that Bjørvika remained the “ideal” alternative, but disagreement has left the issue unresolved for the past five years. “It’s an ideal alternative contingent on whether the ships can survive a move, whether it’s possible to build at Bjørvika  and whether we can secure financing,” Ottersen said.

The decision to now consider other locations than just Bjørvika doesn’t mean the board is caving in, he insists. “It’s more a question of opening up for discussion,” he said.

Views and News staff