Calendar of Events

International Viking Weekend

Kind of Event
Market / Fair
Organised by
the Netherlands

Visit the Viking encampment and browse the market stalls. The Viking Festival is in its 27th year this year!

During the festival, Archeon turns into a vibrant Viking village with numerous crafts, stalls, Viking tents and demonstrations. Here visitors will discover a variety of crafts and products, all inspired by the Viking heritage. Also wood burning, silver braiding, clothing, shoes, needle binding, glass and small leather work, beads and fabrics. The Vikings do not like to sit still, they like to talk about daily life in the early Middle Ages.

Enjoy a unique and educational experience and immerse yourself in the fascinating culture of these ancient Northern seafarers. They give demonstrations of the different weapons and clothing used and worn by the Vikings. The Vikings are diligent farmers, skilled craftsmen, clever traders, brave fighters and, above all, fearless explorers. Several encampments can be seen this weekend. 

Free entrance with the Museum Card and Friends Lottery VIP Card.
Program subject to change.

The footprint of the Vikings
The Vikings have left a great impression to this day. Many place names, especially in England, therefore come from the Scandinavian language. Jewelry and utensils used by the Vikings have been found all over Europe. People also wrote about the Vikings. The English thought they were strange - before a big battle they spent hours washing themselves, combing their hair and braiding their beards. The Vikings believed that if they died in battle, they could go to Valhalla. A place where there was eternal partying and fighting. And then you better look a bit neat!

Vikings in Dorestad
The old school poster from 1927 by JH Isings is well known: the proud Viking stands in beautiful attire on the gangway of his ship. His reddish-gray mane flutters in the wind. In the background the horizon is burning: Dorestad is going up in flames. Howling Vikings return to the shore, heavily laden with looted treasure.

We are now almost a hundred years later and we know better. That's not how things went with Dorestad.

Dorestad was an emporium, a trading center of international allure. It flourished under Frankish rule, from the mid-eighth century and especially during the reign of Charlemagne. The population of those days is estimated at many thousands. Traders came from all over Europe. The later Vikings also liked to offer their goods here and stock up on cargo brought in from the hinterland or the (sometimes far) south.

From 834 onwards, Vikings came to Dorestad with less peaceful plans. By then the position of the place had already been weakened. The river had taken a different course, further from the old bank, and was less navigable. The government of the empire was less structured, authority had weakened. Other trading centers may already have been emerging. Perhaps the Viking attacks were even part of a strategic plan by competing rulers. Several plundering campaigns gave Dorestad the final blow, the residents died or moved away. And those big fires on the horizon? There weren't any. Archaeological research has not found any trace of this.