Norway to Build a New Viking Age Museum

Minister of Education and Research Torbjørn Røe Isaksen has decided to announce an open architectural competition for a new Viking Age Museum at Bygdøy in Oslo.

– The vision behind a new Viking Age Museum at Bygdøy is to create a globally leading centre for the dissemination of knowledge about the Viking Age. I hope that both Norwegian and foreign architectural firms throw themselves into this work and the opportunity to find the best solution for the world’s most important Viking collection, says Minister Torbjørn Røe Isaksen. 

The world’s most important Viking collection

No other era in Norwegian history have had such great national and international importance as the VikingAge. Norway, and especially the Museum of Cultural History which is part of the University of Oslo, has the richest archaeological collection from this era in the world. The Oseberg and Gokstad ships are the world’s best preserved Viking ships. The combination of the rich woodcarvings from the Oseberg find, the Viking helmet from the Gjermundbu find and the gold treasure from Hoen, raises the collection to a level that does not exist anywhere else.

-The aim of this project is to preserve the collection and ensure future generations’ access to cultural knowledge about the Viking Age, says Røe Isaksen. 

The architectural assignment

The architects must take into account several requirements, goals and visions. Among these are:

• Finding solutions that secures and preserves the Viking collection for future generations in a professional manner, while also creating good conditions for display to the public.

• Ensuring architectural quality and expressions that reflects the importance of the building.

• Finding good environmental solutions that facilitate and minimize the museum facility’s overall environmental footprint.

• Finding solutions that combine the old and the new building in an appropriate way.

The road ahead

The Ministry of Education and Research has given Statsbygg (the Directorate of Public Construction and Property Management) the assignment to create a program for an open architectural competition. The program is published on Statsbygg’s website:

The entire facility, including the new building will comprise approximately 13,000 square meters. This is three times larger than the existing Museum at Bygdøy. Construction costs will not be clarified until the final project exists. The competition runs until December and winners will be announced in March 2016. The pilot project and quality assurance shall, according to the schedule, be completed in autumn 2017. 

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