The Vikingmuseum Ladby
Kerteminde (Southern Denmark region), DENMARK
Kerteminde, a small harbour town surrounded by farms, is located on Funen island, in central Denmark, and is home to the Viking Museum Ladby. 1,000 years ago, around 925 AD, the Viking king of Ladby was buried in a barrow with his ship (21.5 meters long and 3 meters wide), horses, dogs and all his fine worldly possessions. In the bow of the ship lies the original anchor and anchor chain. A burial mound was raised above the ship. In 1935 the ship was unearthed by the National Museum and the pharmacist and amateur archaeologist Poul Helweg Mikkelsen from Odense. Unfortunately, the grave was plundered back in the Viking times, so the deceased was removed and most of the grave goods destroyed. But some of the grave goods can still be seen in the exhibition building. The Ladby ship is the only Viking ship found in a burial mound in Denmark and still situated where it was placed 1000 years ago.
Today the visitors can step into a burial mound from the Viking Age, get close up to the treasures from the ship grave and experience the recreation of the Viking king's final sailing trip to Valhalla. In the burial mound the visitors can see the imprint of the ship, the approximately 2000 rivets that held its planks together, and the shroud rings for the rigging of the mast, while in the bow the original anchor with its chain and the 11 horse skeletons. The stem is decorated with the "dragon's mane", in the form of iron curls (the originals are on display in the exhibition building).
An expansion plan by 15 acres (6 hectares) for the museum over the next few years has been approved in December 2014 by the Kerteminde Town Council. The expansion will create space for new exhibitions, a harbour for Viking ships in the fjord, more parking space, a café, teaching workshops, a Viking playground for children and the re-creation of the Viking-era landscape. It will be possible then to exhibit all 600 of the objects found during excavations, many of which are still at the National Museum in Copenhagen.
The activity at the museum is quite varied and includes a wealth of leisure and educational activities for the children throughout the summer, as well as several ongoing special projects, such as the rebuilding of a Viking ship and the Ladby Tapestry. The visitors can take a walk outside, at the open museum at the shipyard in Ladby, and follow the whole building process, as boatbuilders create an exact full-size replica of the Ladby ship using ancient handcrafting techniques. The original 22-metre battle hardy Viking ship will take 32 oarsmen to sail. Constructions started in summer 2011.
Besides, skilled embroiderers are dealing with another challenging project: The Ladby Tapestry. The large-scale project, which is inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry in France, includes two tapestries (7m long and 50cm high), with the first one telling the story of the old Ladby Ship, following the fate of the powerful Ladby king, while the second tapestry is all about the building of the Ladby Ship replica. The first stitch was made in December 2011, and the tapestries are expected to be completed between 2015 and 2018 (to find out more: https://ladbytapetet.wordpress.com/)
Finally, there is also another special educational project carried out by the students from the University of Southern Denmark in Kolding and allowing the visitors to form their experience of the Ladby Ship story themselves. The project seeks to connect objects from the exhibition with supplementary knowledge in the form of short, factual texts, photos, videos, sounds and source readings to create a combined narrative story that the visitor can put together along the way. Visitors each choose a role in Viking society. A series of challenges and moral choices bring the objects in the exhibition right up close.
Info & Contact
Address: Vikingevej 123 - 5300 Kerteminde, Denmark
Tel.: +45 6532166 - 65321667
Kerteminde Town Council
Address: Hans Schacksvej 4 - 5300 Kerteminde, Denmark
Tel.: +45 65151515
Fax: +45 65151525
Address: Strandgade 7, 5300 Kerteminde, Denmark
Tel.: + 45 65323727
Fax: +45 65324707
Images: Vikingemuseet Ladby, Østfyns Museer
Text source: Østfyns Museer, Vikingemuseet Ladby, Wikipedia, Visit Kerteminde, Kerteminde Town Council, Lonely Planet, VisitDenmark, VisitFyn.
Viking Museum Ladby and Kerteminde on Google Maps:
Exploring the Ladby Viking Museum:
The notes of "Það mælti mín móðir" song over the Ladby Ship Gravemound. Musician and music teacher Sophie Liley sings an old Viking song based on a poem written by young Egil Skallagrímsson around 920 A.D., directly on the site of Ladby Viking grave mound...