Inside Vikingaliv – The Viking Life
Kristin Lund offers us a quick dip into Stockholm’s latest Viking attraction – suitable for families with small kids.
Djurgården, the lush island in central Stockholm, is packed with historical museums. But many of its attractions and parks can be overwhelming for kids under ten years old. So, while the older members of your party trundle off to the Vasa Museum and Abba the Museum, take the young ones to Vikingaliv, the new Stockholm museum that opened in early summer 2017.
It’s a small museum that promises child-friendly exhibits based on historical facts and not the myths we have all come to believe about Vikings. In fact, one of the first exhibits you see makes the point that Viking women had lots of varied roles and weren’t just household managers keeping things going while the men went out raiding. This is great for your daughters to learn – that a Viking women could also be a serf, landowner, “seeress” or even warrior. But more on that in a minute.
The museum has one large room, a souvenir shop, a café, and a ride called Ragnfrid’s Saga.
This 11-minute ride is the centerpiece of the museum. The museum doesn’t recommend it for kids under seven but it’s not particularly loud or scary. You receive a special ticket with your entrance fee that tells you what time you can queue up for the ride. You sit in a sort of pod with 6-8 other people and the pod moves past stationary tableaus depicting the fictional story of Ragnild and her husband, Harald. Lights and sound work to make the action come alive. Alas, I didn’t find the story very compelling and despite the museum’s assertions that real Viking women played many societal roles, Ragnild sits at home with her daughter, waiting for Harald to come home and save them.
In the center of the exhibit hall is an exact replica of a Viking that actually lived and whose bones lie in the Sigtuna Museum. Scattered throughout the hall are numerous rectangular, nearly life-size screens with actors depicting various characters from Viking life. There are pullout panels that answer simple questions about Viking life. A partial Viking ship replica and items on loan from the Swedish Historical Museum round out the exhibits.
Upstairs lies a nice café with a wonderful waterfront view and a medium-sized souvenir shop. Bathrooms and lockers are free of charge.
If you want to learn in-depth about the Vikings, visit the Swedish History Museum just over the bridge. But if you want just a quick dip into history with your young kids, check out Vikingaliv.