The remarkable design of the museum building lets you absorb the beauty of the Icelandic landscape or nearby harbor.
Viking World Museum is wheelchair accessible and all the visitors have a free wi-fi access.
PRIVATE & BUSINESS EVENTS
We at Viking World are more than welcome to help you host and organize venues of any type.
You may book our conference room (70m²) for various meetings catering or even presentations. The conference room is equipped with data projector and microphone and holds up to 100 seating places.
Reservations can also be made for private parties and receptions.
The house is especially convenient for stand-up receptions.
Please use the contact form below for further information regarding reservation and catering.
Viking World’s main attraction is the magnificent viking ship the Icelander (Íslendingur) which was sailed to New York in the year 2000 to commemorate Leifur Eiríksson’s journey to the New World a thousand years earlier.
The Viking ship the Icelander is an exact replica of an old Viking ship called the Gokstad ship, which was excavated from an ancient burial mound in Norway in 1882. The Gokstad ship was very well preserved, and scientists were able to date it back to A.D. 870, the time of the settlement of Iceland. It is therefore likely that the settlers of Iceland sailed ships similar to the Gokstad ship.
In the Viking era, a ship like the Icelander normally had around 70 crew members, thus accommodating a double shift of rowers for the 32 oars. In the middle of the ship there was a sandpit to support an open fire, and livestock such as lamb would provide fresh meals for the long voyages.
The Icelander is a worthy representative of the ships that sailed the North Atlantic a thousand years ago. Like the original Viking ships, the Icelander is a fast and exceptionally stable ocean-going vessel.
Construction of the Icelander began in October 1994 and was finished a year and a half later. The ship was launched in March 1996.
The ship is made of pine and oak which was carefully selected in Norway and Sweden. The sail was manufactured in Denmark. When it came to designing the bow, many things were taken into consideration. The bow’s height was used for two purposes, both for the figurehead, which had to be visible from afar, and as as shield from high waves during sailing.
The Icelander is made of 18 tons of wood and 5,000 nails. It is 22,5 m (75 feet) long and its beam is 5,3 m (17,3 feet). Its draft is 1,7 m (5,6 feet) and its average speed is 7 mph while top speed is 18 mph.
To begin with, the Icelander was used to educate Icelandic school children on the Viking era but later sailed to North America.
The Leifur Eiríksson Millennium Commission was the principal sponsor of the voyage of the Icelander. The Commission organized nearly 230 cultural events at some 70 venues in the USA and Canada for the year 2000.
On its voyage westward across the Atlantic, Icelander with its crew of 9, called at various ports in the United States and Canada, and entertainers sponsored by the Millennium Commission took part in local celebrations. The Special Celebrations Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, hosted a major celebration on July 28, when the Icelander arrived in L’anse aux Meadows, the only authenticated Viking site in North America. Numerous special events ensued in the wake of Icelanders momentous retracing of Leifur Eiríksson’s voyage. The ship arrived in New York on October 5.
After the ship’s arrival in the United States it was stored in Westbrook, Connecticut for a few years. In 2002 the town of Reykjanesbær along with other parties made a decision on buying the ship and bringing it back home. During the following years the Icelander was stored outside until it received a final home in a brand new exhibition house in the fall of 2008.
The ship now rests on pillars which lift it one and half meters up into the air. This makes it possible for people to walk straight under the ship and enjoy its remarkable structure.
The following excerpts were published in the daily paper Morgunblaðið, June 16 2000.
The vikingship Íslendingur (the Icelander) will set sail on Iceland’s Independance Day, June 17, to take on the long voyage to the New World celebrating the millennium of Leifur Eiríksson’s journey.
REPLICA OF THE GOKSTAD SHIP
The viking ship Íslendingur was built in the years 1994-1996. . . . The origins of the ship be traced back to 1882, when archaeologists in Norway excavated the famous Gokstad ship. The Icelander is an exact replica of the Gokstad ship, the pinnacle of Viking craftsmanship.
The viking ships have usually been divided into two groups, longships and knor (knörr), the longship being rather slow freighters whereas the knor was smoother, faster and more suitable for warfare.
Many specialists believe, that the Gokstad ship might have been an attempt to combine the best qualities of both types, the stability of the knörr and the speed and manoeuvrability of the longship. The conclusion is that Íslendingur has proven to be a fast and extremely steady ocean liner.
NO EASY SEAWAY
The viking ship’s last stop before it left the shores of Iceland and headed to Greenland was Búðardalur. It is the closest harbour til Eiríksstaðir in Haukadalur, where Leifur Eiríksson is believed to have been born. When plans were made for the journey, it was considered respectful to begin the voyage there and to follow in the “footsteps” of Eiríkur and Leifur.
The seaways from Iceland to Greenland and then on to America were far from being the easiest one in the world. It was clear that it would never be an easy voyage on a viking ship. They made sure to leave enough time for this part of the trip. The ship had a good crew, most of the crew members have known each other since childhood in Westman Islands and have experienced quite a few things.
The story of the Viking expansion across the North Atlantic. The exhibition was produced in cooperation with the Smithsonian Institution in USA as a part of the millennial celebration of Leifur Eiríksson’s journey to the New World.
The Vikings (from Old Norse víkingr) were seafaring north Germanic people who raided, traded, explored, and settled in wide areas of Europe, Asia, and the North Atlantic islands from the late 8th to the mid-11th centuries.
RANGING FAR AND WIDE
For two centuries beginning about a.d. 800, Vikings were everywhere, sailing the North Sea, rounding Spain to the Mediterranean, navigating eastern Europe’s inland rivers to reach the Black Sea and the Middle East. Particularly in Ireland and Russia, Vikings made inland forays to capture slaves. But not all Scandinavians who ventured out of their homelands were raiders. Some were mercenaries willing to fight for hire, much sought after in the Byzantine Empire. Others were settlers, and many were merchants looking for livelihoods, not loot.
BY SAIL OR BY OAR
Without their remarkable ships, the Vikings would not have shaken Europe’s security. Slender and shallow-drafted, Viking ships were quick under sail and nimble when rowed. They allowed raiders to scourge coastal villages and monasteries, or to strike deep inland up fjords and rivers. An average-sized ship carrying thirty men could arrive without warning, advance onto the beach, wreak havoc, and slip away before the overwhelmed victims could mount a defense. The largest vessels could carry one hundred men and several horses.
Along with riches for the taking, areas outside the Viking homelands offered other opportunities, such as plentiful land and resources for trade. Viking settlements soon appeared in the British Isles, western France, and Russia, as well as on previously uninhabited North Atlantic islands. Viking settlers left lasting imprints as they intermarried and joined the cultures of their adopted homes. Towns in England, Ireland, France, and Russia today still bear names derived from Norse words. In the Orkney and Shetland Islands, the Hebrides, and the Isle of Man, where Vikings became the dominant culture, they truly expanded the Norse “homelands.”
TAKING THE NORTH ATLANTIC
As empty lands beckoned, Norse seafaring farmers set forth. The times were ripe for leaving the homelands. Shipbuilders had perfected sea-going vessels, and the population was booming. Taxes and new rules prodded the restless in Norway, while Vikings in the British Isles had heard reports of islands inhabited only by Irish monks. By the early 800s, Norse land seekers were on the move. The warmer temperatures of the period made the North Atlantic islands especially attractive. In the Faeroes, Iceland, and Greenland, the Norse could support their livestock and their way of life. All they needed was a supply line to iron, timber, and European markets.
Vogur in Hafnir: Farmhouse or Outpost?
The Settlement of Iceland exhibition deals with archaeological findings from the Suðurnes/Reykjanes region. Remains from the oldest occupation on Reykjanes peninsula from the ninth century.
When the ruins of a longhouse or skáli were found in Hafnir, which is a small village on the Reykjanes peninsula, it was believed to be a traditional homestead from the Age of Settlement. It could even be the farm of Herjólfur Bárðarson, the settler of Hafnir and great-grandfather of the great seafarer Bjarni Herjólfsson. Bjarni and his crew are believed to have been the first Europeans to lay eyes on the mainland of North America. When archaeological excavations commenced in 2009, it was revealed that even though the longhouse was conventional in form, the outhouses that always accompany such structures were completely missing.
Is it possible that the ruins are not those of an ancient farmhouse? Was this instead the outpost of explorers and adventurers, like the buildings of Norsemen in Newfoundland? Such a building would have been used for a short period of time each year as a base for exploration and resource utilisation. Iceland was one destination en route further west, to Greenland and mainland North America.
During the Viking Age, a vast number of people travelled through Northern Europe in search of a quick profit. In summertime food was plentiful: birds nested in the cliffs, seals and fish populated ocean and lakes, and along the coast there was driftwood and the occasional beached whale to be found. The teeth of walruses and whales were particularly sought after and highly valued; indeed, they were often called the ivory of the north, or white gold. They were used for the carving of a variety of precious items.
There are items on display in Viking World that were found during the excavation in Hafnir as well as photographs and illustrations.
Looking for an original souvenir or gift from Iceland for your family & friends? In the Viking World souvenir shop you find various Icelandic-themed products mainly of local production.Whether you are looking for a hand-made piece of clothing, jewelry, household decoration or any interesting book, captivating pictures or postcards to send to your closest, here you find it all.
The unique interior of the museum and shop itself is going to contribute to a unique shopping experience. While shopping you can also enjoy a cup of freshly brewed coffee and breath-taking views on the Icelandic landscape.
While touring our beautiful country you are going to learn plenty about Viking sagas that have been shaping Icelandic society from its very beginnings. Majority of the Sagas are being nowadays preserved in its written form and serve as a source of wisdom not only for the locals but for the tourists as well.
Saga books are a perfect souvenir for everyone who wants to have a better understanding of the Vikings and their way of living.
In our shop you find a wide selection of various books depicting Viking culture, folklore and natural wonders of Iceland.
ICELANDIC FASHION & DESIGN
Iceland is also a home to one of the most common domestic animal – sheep. This animal is not only a source of food but its wool is being used to create various clothing and decoration items. Hand-made souvenirs that you find in our shop come from local craftsmen and are unique in their design.
Woolen sweaters, vests and gloves from our shop are going to be not only a unique fashion piece in your wardrobe but also of a great protection while on a hike in the Icelandic wilderness!
A TASTE OF ICELAND
Serve your dishes in the Viking style! Surprise your family and friends with unique flavors – lava salt, Icelandic herbs seasonings, teas and jams combined with some typical Icelandic delicacies will give your culinary creations a totally different dimension.
Kitchenware with the Viking mythology motives will only contribute to the overall unique atmosphere. Get inspired in our souvenir shop!
Iceland is a country that is going to overwhelm you not only with its unique natural wonders but also with its culture and traditions! Creativity and inspiration of the Icelanders comes predominantly from the surrounding nature and historical Sagas.In our souvenir shop you find many interesting items that are going to bring you back to Iceland just in the blink of an eye.
Excellent museum! My wife and I actually felt this Viking museum was superior to the Viking Saga museum in Reykjavik. If you’re in the area it’s an excellent way to spend a few hours immersed in Viking history.
GlasgowGreg - TripAdvisor Review 2018
Very impressive and interesting. The lady working on front desk is a credit to your business and made us feel welcome. Definitely worth a visit!
David - TripAdvisor Review 2017
Great visit and interesting stop. This is a small museum but really worth a visit. You could spend a couple of hours watching the films and looking at the artefacts. Very friendly and helpful staff.
Linda K - TripAdvisor Review 2018
The frame around the Icelander, the exhibition hall itself, was designed by the award winning architect Guðmundur Jónsson. Its modern architecture highlights the beauty of the viking ship the Icelander (Íslendingur).
Visitors can look at the ship from all sides and they can even go on board and let the mind take them to explore lands across the sea while they stand on deck of the Icelander.
Guðmundur Jónsson has gained over 45 prizes in Scandinavian, Norwegian and Icelandic competitions.