Construction begins at Museum of the Viking Age

Construction has begun on the Museum of the Viking Age in Oslo. When the Norwegian museum opens in 2026, it will be the home to three preserved Viking ships and more than 8,000 other objects from the Viking Era.

The museum, which is replacing the Viking Ship Museum, has seen its construction delayed and its budget cut by the Norwegian government. When it opens, the new museum is expected to have over a million visitors each year, by far the largest number for any museum in Norway.


“It is wonderful to see that the construction project is finally getting started,” says Museum Director Håkon Glørstad. “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. This is a milestone for the Viking ships and for the Museum of Cultural History that we are delighted with.”

Norway’s Minister of Research and Higher Education Ola Borten Moe breaks the ground for the new Museum of the Viking Age. Photo: Ava Bosy/Kulturhistorisk museum, University of Oslo.

Last year, it became clear that the construction project and securing the unique cultural heritage would cost more than expected. Norway’s Minister of Research and Higher Education Ola Borten Moe decided that financial cuts to the building plans needed to be made, and officials were tasked with finding features that could be removed.


“There will not be financial cuts on securing our unique and invaluable collection. Instead, the cuts have to be made on important features of the museum’s public areas, such as a café, dissemination facilities for school classes, a park with a playground area, lecture halls and open laboratories where visitors get a close-up view of our research. These areas will not be funded by the grant allocation from the Storting, which is the supreme legislature of Norway”, says Glørstad.

The cost limit for the project has since been increased to approximately NOK 3.8 billion ($370 million US), but it primarily takes into account unforeseen expenses related to securing the unique cultural heritage which the museum manages. Some of the offerings to the public that have now been cut may be realised at a later date. However, the costs will then be significantly higher and the construction time longer than if everything was built now, as was first planned. The savings of all the cuts amount to NOK 250 million.

“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,” Glørstad explains. “This is the last opportunity to sort things out before our invaluable objects from the Viking age are damaged beyond repair – and we will do it. Today, we are delighted that construction work is finally underway, while we continue to work to fulfil the promise of being the world’s most important conveyor of Viking Age history.”

Click here to visit the Museum of the Viking Age’s website