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The Viking Museum at Ladby

The Viking Museum at Ladby

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The Viking Museum at Ladby in Denmark houses the Ladby Burial Ship, a Viking ship grave found there in 1935. Dating back to around 925 AD, it is believed that the ship is the burial site of a prince or other leader, such as a chieftain. The Ladby Burial Ship was hauled to the top of the hill and filled with burial goods such as valuables and even animals.

Displaying the Ladby Burial Ship amidst a series of other excavation finds, the Viking Museum at Ladby offers an insight into the history of the Vikings and their lives in the area.

The Viking Museum at Ladby history

The Viking ship in Ladby contained the grave of an unknown leader, chieftain or king from the early 10th century AD. A massive dragon ship measuring 21.5 metres by 3 metres was filled with burial goods, the nobleman’s 3 or 4 dogs and 11 horses. To be buried in such an impressive ship was a marker of power and glory, and would have taken a great amount of man-power to drag the ship up from the fjord.

The burial site was covered by an oval earth mound to create a visible reminder to those travelling by of the power of the person buried there. However, the grave was plundered during the late Viking era. To damage the grave and much of its contents was an act of disrespect to whoever had been buried there.

The Ladby ship was re-discovered in 1935 by a Danish pharmacist Poul Helweg Mikkelsen. The Danish National Museum conservator Gustav Rosenberg recorded the initial primary-source information. A concrete dome was constructed to protect the ship’s imprint and a concrete floor laid down to prevent moisture from the ground.

The ship was given to the National Museum which have the site to the Department of Archaeology and Landscape in 1994. The Viking Museum at Ladby was built around the Ladby ship in 2007.

The Viking Museum at Ladby today

Today, open from 10am to 4pm Tuesday through Sunday, the Viking Museum at Ladby displays many of the findings from the ship site alongside an interactive narrative of the Vikings who would have inhabited Funen. What remains of the Ladby ship is some 2,000 rivets and the imprint left by the planks – the wood having rotted away long ago – surrounded by a glass case and darkly lit for preservation which also helps create a feeling of awe.

Beyond seeing the excavated ship itself, the museum also offers a chance to see a reconstructed ship at the time of burial, even with the dead chieftain on a bed surrounded by his dogs, horses and grave goods.

Stop to watch the interpretive film about the Vikings’ beliefs and rituals surrounding death, unpacking Norse mythology and exploring the images found on the Gotlandic Picture Stones.

Getting to The Viking Museum at Ladby

Located on the shore of the Kerteminde Fjord, the Viking Museum at Ladby is found just off the 315 at Skrækkenborg, and is a 2 hour drive from Copenhagen via the E20. For those using public transport, the 482 from Odense bus stops outside the museum.

The Viking Museum at Ladby - History

The time is finally here! The Viking Museum is opening again on the 12th of June. This time we present new exhibitions for all to see. During the month of June the museum will be open on weekends between 10:00 and 16:00 with slot-times. We recommend buying tickets in advance on our website to guarante entrance, it is possible to buy your tickets in the entrance but then there is a chance that the slot-time is full. So a reservation is recommended. The exhibition, the ride Ragnfrids saga, the museum shop and Restaurant Glöd is open as usual but with restrictions to secure the visitors and the staff’s well-being.

Opening hours during July and August

Between the 1st of July and the 31st of August the museum will be open everyday between 10:00 and 16:00 with slot-times. We recommend buying tickets in advance on our website to guarante entrance, it is possible to buy your tickets in the entrance but then there is a chance that the slot-time is full. So a reservation is recommended. The exhibition, the ride Ragnfrids saga, the museum shop and Restaurant Glöd is open as usual but with restrictions to secure the visitors and the staff’s well-being.

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Viking Museum Ladby Travel Tips

  • Children and teenagers under 18 years get free admission
  • Schools and secondary schools students get free admission
  • Outside the museum, there is wooden dragon for climbing for kids.
  • You can have soft drinks and deserts at the café tables inside or outside. Few more tables and benches are there outside the museum and in the greenery of the hill.
  • The museum and the mound is disabled friendly
  • The museum building has lifts
  • Toilet for disabled is located at the basement of the museum. The museum is accessible by lift
  • Pets are allowed but not in the museum building or the mound with the ship grave
  • Guide dogs are welcomed
  • Free admission is given to the care assistants who visit museum during working hours

Viking Museums

Below is the list of Viking museums across the world. Do you know of any other Viking museums? Help expand the list! If you visited any of these, leave a review for us.

A heritage centre, located in central Dublin, at the heart of the medieval city. The exhibitions at Dublinia explore life as it was in the medieval city and the world of the Vikings.

A ‘must-see’ for visitors to the city of York and is one of the most popular visitor attractions in the UK outside London.

A historical museum based on a reconstruction and archaeological excavation of a Viking chieftain’s village in the North Norwegian archipelago of Lofoten, Norway.

Ribe Viking Centre (Ribe Vikingecenter) (Denmark)

A unique experience and new knowledge about the Viking Age. You can wander round the reconstructed life-size Viking estate, peopled with Vikings with whom you can work and talk.

Ribe Viking Museum (Museet Ribes Vikinger) (Denmark)

Thousands of archeological finds from the excavations show how the vikings lived and traded with Europe. From the year 800 down to the year 1100 the town is fortified several times with big banks.

Viking Museum (Vikingemuseet) (Aarhus, Denmark)

The newly renovated museum tells the story of the Viking Period in Århus and is a part of Moesgård Museum. The museum is located where the archaeologists of Moesgård found Viking houses. A visit in the museum is a tour back in time.

The central “artefact” of the Viking Museum is the unique Viking ship grave, the only one in Denmark and the only one in the world that is exhibited on its original site. The museum career of the ship grave began in 1937, when the reconstructed burial mound, actually an arched concrete building, was dedicated.

The Viking Reserve of Foteviken is a unique institution. Here researchers, antiquarians and Viking re-enactors are working together, developing and establishing a settlement from the late Viking Age and early Middle ages.

Viking Museum Haithabu (Wikinger-Museum Haithabu) (Germany)

A museum near the site of Hedeby, a former medieval city in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany focusing on the Viking Age history of the region. The museum features reconstructions of various Viking Age dwellings, ships, and houses numerous artifacts discovered during the ongoing archaeological research of the area.

Viking Ship Museum (Vikingeskebs Museet) (Roskilde, Denmark)

Danish national museum for ships, seafaring and boatbuilding in the prehistoric and medieval period.

Viking Ship Museum (Vikingskipshuset) (Oslo, Norway)

The museum displays the Viking Age Oseberg ship, Gokstad ship and Tune ship alongside sledges, beds, a (horse) cart, wood carving, tent components, buckets and other grave goods.

Who were the Danish Vikings

Denmark has been shaped by Viking history and here are some of the places you can see this most strikingly. The Viking era spanned several centuries, and the start of the Viking age is dated from AD 793 when Vikings ransacked Lindisfarne Monastery in northeastern England.

Assimilation and settlement war reasons for a decline in the fighting and raiding and in 1066 the defeat of Vikings at the Battle of Stamford ends the Viking era. In Jutland, you will find many Viking and Unesco Heritage attractions.

Popular Vikings attractions in Denmark

In Jelling in Jutland, you find the Jelling Stone of Harald Bluetooth which is the document of the embrace of Christianity in Denmark.

Viking monuments like The Viking museum Ladby on Funen, which shows a Viking ship in which a Viking chieftain was buried with all his precious possessions. Also on Funen the Glavendrup rune stone, which displays Denmark’s longest Viking inscription? In the same area the vast ship-shaped Viking burial mounds.

Evidence from the Viking Age is Lindholm Høje, near Aalborg you can wander around the biggest ancient burial ground in Scandinavia. Take a tour of all Denmark’s Viking treasures, with our Viking trail across the country.

The famous Viking Museum in Roskilde

The most famous Viking Ship Museum you will find in Roskilde located 45 minutes from Copenhagen. The Museum presents ships, seafaring and boatbuilding culture in ancient and medieval times.

Viking Museum

We visited here on the recommendation of our bed and breakfast hosts. The museum was very interesting and the boat itself (a short walk from the museum) was fascinating. We also liked the true to life boat reconstruction. A lovely place to visit.

This is a very enjoyable small museum. The museum building houses a good variety of Viking information and discusses the likely reasons for the burial site. The burial site is very well preserved and the presentation was well tied in with the museum. A nice grass area and play zone, as well as a reconstruction of the Viking ship that was used for the burial.
Two good aspects: the entry price was fair and the cost of gifts and drinks in their shop were also very fair.- a pleasant change.

There are 2 levels with different rooms, where you can see many artifacts from the Viking period, with a lot of explanations (Danish/English/German). Also there are some helmets/shields that can be tried for pictures which are a nice idea.

Outside there is a ship, which we have believed that it should be in other position, anyway not cover at least (see pictures), but the burial mound is really amazing with a well perserved ship.

The visit was quite short, since the 2 levels you can go through them easily and with just the burial mound to be visited more. To be mentioned that it was very cold and windy.

We love everything to do with the Vikings and the chance to see a Viking ship still in its original burial mound was not to be missed!
I won't go too much into the historical aspects of this mazing museum - other to say that the ship is located in its discovered location, which has been wonderfully maintained in an underground vault, with low level light and appropriate atmosphere for maintaining its integrity.
Its a nice 2 hour drive from Copenhagen - but be prepared that you will have to drive over the big suspension bridge that will cost you about DKK 250 ($40) each way.
The museum is really off the beaten path and you'll drive through some beautiful countryside once you get off of the highway.
There's not a lot of signage to guide you but if you get lost just ask anyone you see and they'll be able to give you simple directions.
The museum costs DKK 70 ($10) for adults - I'm not sure what the prices were for kids or seniors.
The entrance to the museum is also where the gift shop and snacks are - there are some nice things to choose from. Then you walk into the main part of the museum where they have the history of the ship and some artifacts as well as room where there are sometimes a lady or two sewing the Ladby Tapestry.
In the basement there is a full scale recreation of the hip, complete with the figures of the Viking King and all of the dead horses and dogs that were buried with him.
There are lots of activities for children inside and outside the buildings as well.
Once you are done in the Museum - you walk down to the waterfront along a pleasant farm path to the mound where the Viking Ship is. It looks kind of like a WWII Bunker but inside you'll get to see the amazing boat safely behind glass. Just incredible!
Down at the waterfront they have a full scale replica of the ship in all of her glory.
When we we're there we were the only two people at the museum, which was nice.
Definitely a must see for anyone interested in Viking history and a great place to take the kids!
Highly Recommended!!

Small museum with explanations in English. Denmark's only Viking ship is outside beautifully preserved under a casing and large mound. Well explained exhibit

#5. Ribe Vikinge Center

What: Every year, new archaeological finds are excavated in Ribe, which confirms its importance during the Viking Age. Ribe Vikinge Center brings to life reconstructed Viking history through Viking role playing, a Viking International Market, academics, and new projects. The center is known for having a staff that includes around thirty students who help to keep the place maintained. It’s at the forefront of reconstruction and communication, which means they are continually expanding new activities and environments.

Where : Ribe Vikinge Center is located 2km south of Ribe, Denmark’s oldest town.

Cost: Adults (14 and up) $20 or DKK 130, Children (3-13 years old) $10 or DKK 65.

Hours: Hours vary. Check their website for current information.

The Viking Museum at Ladby - History

In this series of articles, Viking and pre-Viking ships are compared, and their historical significance and impact upon the western world are discussed. With particular reference to such finds as the Heberby, Nydam, Skuldelev, Gokstad and Ladby ships, it is hoped that this series of articles will bring a number of threads together to give a comprehensive overview of this topic.

Ladby Mound
In April 2012, I and my wife, Dee, travelling together with Dr Andrew Thompson and his wife Angela, travelled to Denmark. During this visit we travelled extensively across Jylland, Fyn and Sjælland, visiting a number of historical sites such as the Trelleborg and Fyrkat ring fortresses, Lindenholm høje, Jelling, Moesgård, and the Københaven Museum. However, there were two locations I found particularly interesting – The Viking museum at Ladby and the Viking ship museum at Roskilde. /> The Viking museum at Ladby, located near to Kerteminde on Fyn is significant as it is the only ship burial in Denmark. Although much of the original ship has been lost its imprint in the ground has been preserved and can still be seen in situ within the reconstructed mound, protected by glass. A reconstruction of the Ladby ship was undertaken in 1963 – the ‘Imme Gram’, but with the availability of modern technology there is now a new school of thought on the appearance of the original ship . [1] Consequently, with a grant of 4.8 million crowns (kroner) from the Augustinus Foundation, and using only traditional Viking methods, the Ladby Ship Guild in cooperation with the Viking Museum at Ladby and the Viking Ship Museum at Roskilde, [2] have begun work on a full size construction of the Ladby ship. Completion is expected to be in 2015. At the time of our visit to Ladby the keel and curved stems at each end had been completed and the garboard strakes fitted, with the next strake in progress. I hope that at some point in the near future to be able to go back to Denmark and take some more photographs of the ship at various stages of construction. However I would be grateful if anybody visiting the site could be good enough to take some digital photographs and forward them onto me in order that I could include them in the article on that I am presently researching.

The Vikingmuseum Ladby

What is the Ladby Ship?
It is Denmark’s only ship grave from the Viking period. Around 925 AD, the king of Ladby was buried in his ship, which was 21.5 meters long and 3 meters wide. A burial mound was raised above the ship. His grave was furnished with all his fine possessions, including 11 horses and 3 or 4 dogs. In the bow of the ship lies the original anchor and anchor chain.

Unfortunately, the grave was plundered back in the Viking times, so the deceased was removed and most of the grave goods destroyed. Some of the grave goods can be seen in the exhibition building.

Back in the burial mound, you 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. In the bow, the original anchor with its chain and the 11 horse skeletons can be seen. The stem is decorated with the “dragon’s mane”, in the form of iron curls. (The originals are on display in the exhibition building.)

The Ladby Ship - found again
”Dragon´s mane”

In 1935, the ship was unearthed here after more than 1000 years underground. It was excavated by the National Museum and the pharmacist and amateur archaeologist Poul Helweg Mikkelsen from Odense. He also paid for the construction of a concrete dome over the the ship grave.

The Ladby Ship in a new light
On May 6, 2012, it was the 75th anniversary of the Ladby Ship Museum. We marked the anniversary by giving the old ship a facelift: the old florescent lights were taken down, a new ventilation system has been installed, and the walls have been painted in a dark color to signal that this is a burial chamber. The idea is that the ship, the unique authentic artefact, which still lies where it was placed as a ship grave for the Ladby king more than 1000 years ago, should be the central part of the museum. So let your eyes get used to the darkness and allow yourself the time to see all the fascinating details in the ship.

Activity at the museum
A museum is more than objects behind glass. A lot is going on. A Viking ship is build and the Ladby Tapestry is sown. In July there are different activities for the children. Visit the museum shop and enjoy a cup of coffee.

At the moment they are building an exact copy of the Ladby Ship using authentic shipbuilding methods. On May 14, 2016, the ship will be launched. Hereafter it can be seen as part of the beautiful natural surroundings at the museum’s boat dock.

Special Exhibition: Viking Couture
March 4 - October 2, 2016

The Danish designer Jim Lyngvild will show costumes inspired by the kings, warriors and princes of the Viking era.

Viking attractions in and around Copenhagen

Denmark’s early history will be forever entwined with the Vikings – those red-haired warriors in horned helmets who wielded axes as they pillaged their way across land and sea, forging an empire.

A lot of that is made up, of course – the Vikings never wore horned helmets and for the most part, they were actually quite a civilised bunch. But those myths have done wonders for Viking tourism in Denmark, and there are actually lots of intriguing sights to check out in and around Copenhagen.

You’ll find plenty of evidence of the Vikings’ legendary rule within easy reach of the capital, including castles, burial mounds, rune stones, ships and treasure (some of it presumably still under the ground, waiting to be discovered). These are some of our favourite Viking sites near Copenhagen!

National Museum of Denmark

Pic: The National Museum of Denmark (CC)

Right in the middle of Copenhagen, the National Museum (Nationalmuseet) is a great first stop if you want a nice introduction to the Vikings and the enormous influence they once held over this region.

The museum houses a huge collection of relics from the Viking Age such as tools, weapons, clothing and silver. There are also gold treasures, including the Tissø Ring necklace, which weighs 1.8kg and has a 32-centimetre diameter. There’s also a collection of massive rune stones that were once used to praise and remember dead family members.

A day ticket is about 95 DKK for adults and admission is free for those aged 18 and under (you’ll also get free admission with the Copenhagen Card). Note that the museum is closed on Mondays, except in July and August.

Is the Copenhagen Card worth buying?

Read this guide to see how much you could save during your trip!

The Viking Ship Museum

Pic: Richard Mortel (CC)

An nice, fun day trip from Copenhagen, Roskilde’s Viking Ship Museum is a must-see for history buffs. The big highlight here is a fleet of five impressive Viking ships, known as the ‘Skuldelev’ ships, which were painstakingly reconstructed after being pulled out of the Roskilde Fjord in the 1960s.

The vessels had been deliberately sunk in the 11th century to form a blockade in a channel just north of Roskilde (the capital of Denmark at the time) and to prevent enemy naval attacks. They are typical of Viking shipbuilding, with overlapping planks of wood, a single mast, and curved bows.

During construction of the museum itself, a further nine ships were discovered – including the remains of a 36m-long warship. The museum also has a boatyard where boatbuilders make full-scale reconstructions of extremely old boats. In summer, you can experience life as a Viking by setting sail on one of the traditional boats. There’s no motor, of course, so be prepared to row!

Roskilde is a 25-minute train trip west of Copenhagen (you can buy tickets on this website). The museum is about a 20-minute walk or 15-minute bus ride north of the train station. Entry to the museum is around 90–130 DKK, depending on the time of year. Kids go free.

Land of Legends

Pic: Kristian Mollenborg (CC)

A 10-minute-drive southwest of Roskilde is the town of Lejre, home to the open-air attraction known as Land of Legends (Sagnlandet). It’s mostly aimed at kids, who love travelling back to Viking times, dressing up and exploring a series of reconstructed settlements and houses from the Iron Age, Stone Age and Viking Age.

There’s also the option to row a boat on the lake, visit trade workshops of yesteryear or watch the animals grazing freely – the site’s home to a whopping 43 hectares of fields and forests. The park isn’t open every week so it’s definitely worth checking the website before setting off. Tickets are about 160 DKK for adults and 105 DKK for children (they’re valid for an entire year, allowing you to return as many times as you like).

Borgring Viking fortress

Pic: Helen Simonsson (CC)

Uncovered by archaeologists in 2014, Borgring is a ‘ring fort’ that provides new clues about how the Vikings lived. Visit the site, which is around 45km southwest of Copenhagen, and you could catch archaeologists excavating the fortress – it’s around 100m in diameter and is almost perfectly circular.

The fortress is believed to be part of the network of defensive structures built during the reign of Harald Bluetooth at the end of the tenth century. (Yep, the Bluetooth technology on your phone is named after him – ever noticed how that logo looks like a Viking rune?)

The fortress is open from June to August, although 2018 could be the final year of excavations. Admission costs around 45 DKK and it’s a 35-minute drive southwest from Copenhagen (or 90 minutes by public transport).

A brief history of Vikings in Denmark

The Viking Age spanned about 300 years, from the late 700s to the mid 1000s AD. The country of ‘Denmark’ was first named in the year 965, towards the end of that period – you can still see that first mention today on King Harald Bluetooth’s carved rune stone, which stands a couple of hours’ drive west of Copenhagen in Jelling, Jutland.

The same stone also mentions the country’s conversion from Nordic religion to Christianity. The ‘Jelling Monuments’, as they are known, are a bit of a trek from Copenhagen – you’ll probably need to hire a car if you want to make it there and back within a day.

Trelleborg Viking fortress

Pic: Thue C. Leibrandt (CC)

Another of Harald Bluetooth’s circular fortresses is Trelleborg, near Slagelse in western Zealand. The ruins are still easy to distinguish, especially considering how old they are, and there’s also a museum here, which shows off some of the treasures that have been discovered in the area.

The fortress is about an hour’s drive from Copenhagen, or two hours on public transport (the journey involves several trains and buses). Entry is free – not bad, considering this place could one day be listed as a World Heritage Site – but the museum and ruins are closed from November to March.

The Viking Museum

Pic: Erik Cleves Kristensen (CC)

Located on the island of Fyn, this museum is home to Denmark’s only ship grave from the Viking Age. The 21m-long ship was dragged ashore in about 925 AD and then buried with the ‘Ladby King’, along with some of his lavish possessions and his horses and dogs.

Visitors can step inside the burial mound to view the imprint of the ship, the original anchor and the chain, plus some animal skeletons. If you’re driving from Copenhagen you can get there in less than two hours. Entry is around 70 DKK for adults (kids go free).

Want to join a tour?

If you’re staying in Copenhagen and would rather a join a tour to see some Viking sites, this one-day-trip is a great option. You’ll get the chance to see old Viking ships and reconstructed models at the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, and can also see ‘newer’ monuments like Kronborg Castle (Elsinore Castle in Shakespeare’s Hamlet).

Watch the video: POV ridethrough at the Vikingaliv Viking Museum in Stockholm, Sweden (August 2022).