Monday, October 16, 2006

 

Viking ships on the move

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Aftenposten
October 16, 2006


Norway's famed Oseberg is among the Viking ships
that would be moved to a new museum at Bjørvika
in Oslo. PHOTO: ERIK THORBERG/SCANPIX

They won’t exactly be setting sail again, but the centuries-old Viking ships that have been housed in a museum on Oslo’s Bygdøy Peninsula look set to be moved to a new museum planned for a renovated waterfront area.

The board of Oslo’s Museum of Cultural History has agreed to move the historic Viking ships, one of Norway’s top tourist attractions, from Bygdøy to a new museum it will open at Bjørvika in 2015.

Bjørvika is the waterfront area east of Oslo’s downtown, where the capital’s new Opera House is under construction.

The board believes the ships, considered a national treasure, can be moved without them sustaining serious damage. They also contend that the current museum where the ships have been on display for decades, called Vikingshipshuset, has a number of security, preservation and crowd capacity weaknesses.

The board also thinks that a new museum at Bjørvika will help spur a new tourist stream to the east. Board members also point out that Bjørvika is close to the central train station, existing cruise and ferry piers and public transport.

As many as 500,000 persons visit the existing Viking ships museum every year. A new museum would be able to receive many more, under more secure conditions.

A move remains controversial, however, and newspaper Aftenposten reports that museum personnel oppose it. Historic preservation officials, meanwhile, recently proposed putting the existing Vikingshipshuset on the national preservation list.

It also remained unclear how much a move would cost.


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