There are perhaps few things more closely associated with Swedish and Scandinavian history than the Vikings, who raided and traded their way across Europe in the 8th-11th centuries.
But the image of the savage, bearded warriors in horned helmets – just look at any shop in Stockholm's tourist area Gamla Stan – does not paint an accurate picture of the Vikings.
“The Vikings are the most falsified characters in our country. Practically nothing of what the tourist industry claims about them is true. We're going to change that and at the same time provide a colourful and exciting historic tale about our ancient norsemen,” said Swedish historian Dick Harrison, who has been involved in making sure the historic details are correct at the new museum, Life of Vikings ('Vikingaliv').
The exhibition being worked on in a workshop in the Netherlands. Photo: Vikingaliv
The museum is set to open on April 29th on Djurgården island, next to some of Stockholm's biggest attractions such as the Vasa Museum, the Nordic Museum and outdoor museum Skansen.
Other than looking at the exhibitions in the 2000-square metre museum building, visitors will also be able to go on an 11-minute gondola ride through the museum to experience the so-called Ragnfrid's tale. Hers is the fictional story of a Viking woman in the year 963 who, with the help of a fortune teller, convinces her husband Harald to leave on a longboat journey to find enough silver to support his family.
Artist's impression of Ragnhild and Harald's farm. Photo: Mats Vänehem/Vikingaliv
The museum is privately run, so it is not part of a change in the law in Sweden this year which makes state-owned museums free to visit. Admission is 190 kronor for adults and 120 kronor for children aged 7-15.
An artist's impression of what the museum will look like. Photo: Vikingaliv