Construction has begun on the $370m Museum of the Viking Age in Oslo, the future home of three of the world’s best preserved longboats and more than 8,000 finds from the Viking era.
State-owned developer Statsbygg is building it on the Bygdøy peninsula southwest of Oslo to a design by Danish architect AART.
The developer expects it to attract more than a million visitors a year after opening in 2026, which would make it by far the most popular museum in Norway.
The 13,000-sq-m building will add to the 95-year-old Viking Ship Museum, which previously housed ships discovered in burials at Oseberg, Gokstad and Tune.
AART’s design forms a loop clad in local slate that connects to two wings of cross-shaped ship museum. According to AART this will “open it up to its surroundings and create an inner courtyard, while also creating an iconic signature”.
Håkon Glørstad, the ship museum’s director, said in a press release: “It is wonderful to see that the construction project is finally getting started. Many people have put in a lot of work regarding this project, and more than 20 years have passed since the debate about a new building for the Viking ships began.
“The Viking ships have experienced more than 100 years where there has been a lack of funding from the Norwegian government and cuts in ambitions.
"This is the last opportunity to sort things out before our invaluable objects from the Viking age are damaged beyond repair.”