Viking Valley and Njardarheimr are located in Gudvangen in the UNESCO-listed fjords of Norway. Here, people have chosen to live and share the Viking lifestyle with visitors from throughout the world. Njardarheimr, meaning “home dedicated to the northern god Njord,” was built at the site of a yearly Viking market and is a living museum dedicated to education and authenticity.
Vikings in the Village
More than 20 buildings were created with local materials, notably peat and sod. However, it’s the people in the village that help Viking Valley stand out among Viking sites.
“In Gudvangen, we have dedicated Vikings living there. It’s their passion and lifestyle, no dressed up summer-job students with a manuscript,” wrote Husfrua Torill Hylland in an email. “You can address any of them and ask questions. They all love to tell you about their main interest: the Vikings and their everyday life.” (“Husfrua” is a title meaning “the woman in charge of the Viking village.” Hylland is also the CEO.)
Experience Viking Life
While the Vikings are an important part of this living museum, another vital aspect to the experience is that visitors to Njardarheimr get to do things the Viking way.
“In a typical museum, you can’t touch the things, you don’t necessarily understand the use and purpose of it,” wrote Hylland. “Trying it out for yourself, seeing it in action is a different experience. It comes to life.” Seeing a demonstration and being able to ask about what is going on leads to better understanding and remembering.
Eat Like a Viking
Blacksmithing, archery, and axe throwing are some of the activities available at Njardarheimr. However, every culture is better experienced through a meal, and in Viking Valley, visitors can have an authentic Viking meal.
“The best part of a traditional Viking meal is that it is real food: healthy, no artificial stuff added. And it’s local and sustainable,” wrote Hylland. She added that the “use of local herbs also makes it taste good.”
Those who can’t make it to Njardarheimr, can still experience the Viking Village with a live online tour.
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