Midgard Viking Centre is part of Vestfold Museums IKS. It was opened on 27 May 2000 by HMS Queen Sonja and has as main objective to create and disseminate knowledge about the Viking Age in Vestfold.
Midgard Viking Centre is tasked with creating and disseminating knowledge about Vestfold Viking. The centre is located next to the beautiful Borre Hills, with Northern Europe's largest collection of monumental burial mounds from the Merovingian and Vikings. In 2007 remains of large hall buildings were found in the area, and in 2013 opened the Banquet Hall, a grand reconstruction of a Viking chieftain hall.
Here at Midgard we emphasize a combination of experience and solid research to disseminate knowledge about the Viking Age. We believe that one learns better if one can not only read, but also try out what we preach about. We are therefore bringing the Viking era to life for our visitors.
Just north of Midgard is the magnificent Guildhall, a reconstruction of one of the Viking large ballrooms. The Guild Hall was opened to the public during the Viking Festival in 2013 and has since been the scene of several great activity days, banquets and festivals.
The Banquet or Guild Hall of Borre is a unique and magnificent reconstruction of a Viking Age exhibition hall. When one would reconstruct such a hall, the first problem is that you simply do not know how they looked. The Hall is therefore reconstructed on the basis of archaeological theories, and one has taken mythical sources such as the legend of Beowulf. From archaeology we know this kind of hall buildings from the 3rd century AD onwards. They usually consist of a large room, where the fireplace served as the central source of light and heat. The Hall can be regarded as a ceremonial room.
The ceiling is adorned by a beautiful ridge and the main entrance has a gorgeous carved portal. The Hall is equipped with a fireplace, benches and tables with hand-carved table support, and Odin's ravens Hugin and Munin have found themselves nestled into the joists. The exquisite wood carvings on the central carrier bars, rods, in the hall telling their own story, which together form the basis for the hall. The stories narrated were myths already in the Viking Age, and it is conceivable that they then graced these halls.
Ceramics and beautiful Viking drinking glasses are used for serving, and pelts from Spælsau, an ancient Norwegian race of sheep, gives comfort to the benches. However, we do not wish to stop here, and hope to see the walls adorned with tapestries, a top priority for this Hall just like other things we can dream up!
Text source: Midgard Vikingsenter
Photo: the Hall from the east. By Terje Gansum, Vestfold Fylkeskommune