• Sweden edition
 
Visby Medieval Week offers 'full on experience'

Visby Medieval Week offers 'full on experience'

Published: 26 Jul 2013 15:13 GMT+02:00
Updated: 26 Jul 2013 15:13 GMT+02:00

The story of an American man who awoke from a coma able to communicate only in Swedish made headlines this month and brought attention to the re-enactment movement which will gather in Visby in August for the 30th annual Medieval Week festival, Peter Vinthagen Simpson reports.

"The Medieval Week was founded to stimulate learning and study of the Middle Ages. It has grown to massive proportions with some 40,000 visitors, of whom several thousands are in character," Björn Sundberg at the Medieval Week organizing committee tells The Local.

Sundberg explains that the tourists flocking to the suitably Medieval-era setting of the walled town of Visby in early August will be treated to festivities such as jousting, parades, lectures and a raucous medieval market.

"It's a full on experience," Sundberg says.

The Medieval Week is a major tourist attraction for Gotland, second only to the Almedalen political week in July, and it is also a key event on the re-enactment movement calendar.

"The Medieval Week attracts some 3-4,000 enthusiasts. They come from different origins within the role-playing and re-enactment communities and together we create the stage," Olle Sahlin of the Swedish chapter of the US-based Society of Creative Anachronism (SCA) tells The Local.

Sahlin explains that the "coma man" identified in the US and Swedish press in mid-July as US-native Michael Boatwright, attended the Medieval Week in Visby in 1985 and was a dedicated member of the early years of the SCA, known then under the pseudonym Michael Strongbow.

Pseudonyms are a core part of the re-enactment and role-playing scene and devotees are spread across kingdoms, principalities and shires/baronies. Sweden is part of the principality of Nordmark in the Kingdom of Drachenwald. Stockholm, for example, is the shire of Holmrike.

Subjects adopt SCA names while maintaining their "mundane names" for everyday purposes and some members of the organization are divided into royalty and other social ranks such as seneschal, herald and chatelaine.

The Kingdom of Drachenwald currently has a Sweden-based king and queen and celebrates its 20-year anniversary this year and so combined with the Medieval Week, the twin birthdays promise something special.

"We are laying on a massive anniversary concert. The largest band from the medieval rock genre (Corvus Corax) is coming from Germany. It is set with the city walls as a backdrop and is going to be a major event," Björn Sundberg says from his office on Gotland, sorry Styringheim.

The Medieval Week attendees are divided into two overlapping groups - the re-enactment people and the role-playing people, Sahlin explains. But one thing they all have in common is an interest in history.

Sahlin reveals that this occasionally causes problems as the far-right and white power circles in Sweden also lay claim to the old Viking and historical symbols. He says, for example, that the Swedish jousting team was forced to change names from Ultima Thule after the emergence of a white power band with the same name.

"We are bothered from time to time by the connection and the Sweden Democrats' interest in the Vikings is irritating. But the re-enactment and role-playing movement is an open and international movement and we don't share any values with them," he says.

The Medieval Week takes place within the city walls of Visby on Gotland and begins on August 4th 2013. Information in English, Swedish and German can be found on their website.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson

Follow Peter on Twitter

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
'Imperfect EU better than revolting nationalism'
Fredrik Reinfeldt. File photo: TT

'Imperfect EU better than revolting nationalism'

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt on Wednesday urged young voters to head to the European parliamentary polls on May 25th "to cure the European disease of nationalism". READ () »

Ericsson quarterly profit defies sluggish sales
Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg at the first quarter press conference. Photo: TT

Ericsson quarterly profit defies sluggish sales

Swedish telecom giant Ericsson on Wednesday announced a drop in sales but posted a sharp rise in first-quarter profit, which nonetheless fell shy of analyst predictions. READ () »

Fatal Norrköping brawl
Four brothers held as cops fear brawl reprisals
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Four brothers held as cops fear brawl reprisals

Swedish police fear that several people involved in a brawl in eastern Sweden on Monday night may be seeking revenge after two brothers were shot dead. READ () »

Sponsored Article
Beautiful pearls of southeast Sweden
The town of Västervik.

Beautiful pearls of southeast Sweden

Ask a Swede, and they are likely to say that their favourite holiday spot is in the southeast of Sweden. Eastern Småland and Öland offer a smörgåsbord of all the things dearest to the Swedes - from the beloved children's book author Astrid Lindgren to deep forests, long sandy beaches, perfect spots for that all-important 'fika', and a surprising amount of space, peace and quiet. READ () »

Weekend weather to bring summer warmth
Swedes enjoy hot dogs and cherry blossoms in Stockholm's Kungsträdgården. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Weekend weather to bring summer warmth

The sun is set to stick around and temperatures could climb into the twenties over the weekend, Swedish meteorologists said on Wednesday READ () »

Swedes open coffin of 850-year-old king
Erik the Holy's skull and the crown, believed to be Sweden's oldest. Photo: Bertil Enevåg Ericson/TT

Swedes open coffin of 850-year-old king

King Erik the Holy died 854 years ago, but scientists have just unveiled his skull at Uppsala Cathedral. READ () »

'Day-care rapist' admits molesting eight kids

'Day-care rapist' admits molesting eight kids

A 21-year-old man confessed on Wednesday to sex crimes against eight children at a day care where he was working as an intern. READ () »

Swedish cops nab man for having big muscles
An unrelated bodybuilder. File photo: Ann Törnkvist

Swedish cops nab man for having big muscles

Police in Sweden's south who hauled a muscular man in for steroid testing have had their knuckles rapped, after it was ruled that big biceps cannot be grounds for narcotics suspicions. READ () »

Swedish girls report more eating problems
Teen girls. File photo: Chloe Chaplin/Flickr

Swedish girls report more eating problems

A youth wellbeing report from Save the Children found that more teenage girls than in previous surveys reported having an eating disorder. READ () »

'Zlatan will be back for finals': PSG coach
Photo: AP

'Zlatan will be back for finals': PSG coach

Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc said on Tuesday that he believed Swedish goal machine Zlatan Ibrahimovic will play again before the end of the season. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Features
Sponsored: South-eastern Sweden offers Öland beaches and more
Gallery
Swedish underwear shop puts staff in front of the camera
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The Local's Property of the Week - Täby
Sponsored: India+Sweden Week - India Unlimited
Features
Sponsored: India+Sweden Week - A film, food, and finance feast
National
University applications rocket to record high
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 18-20
TT
Society
Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter
Shutterstock
National
Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
Society
Swedish supermarket Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off air
Kungahuset
Society
Swedish royals set baptism date for princess
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 16
Politics
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Advertisement:
Alfie Atkins
Society
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
National
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
National
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Society
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
National
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
YouTube
Features
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
TT
National
Abba duo hints at reunion
Private
National
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 11-13
TT
Politics
Swedes to give six-hour workday a go
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

712
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com