International Viking Market

28.04.2014 - 04.05.2014

Authentic market atmosphere

Ribe VikingeCenter will be opening on April 28th with a huge Viking market. Hundreds of Vikings from all over Europe will flock to take part in the festivities which last seven days.

You certainly don't have to be a history nerd to enjoy the market. The choice of goods is vast and it's a great time to do some shopping. Jewellery, beads, pottery, wooden dishes, leather bags, woven braids, toys and many other wonderful things are for sale. Take a stroll through ancient Ribe, come face to face with Vikings, craftsmen and merchants and experience an important piece of Danish history.

Monday till Friday will give you tug-of-war, warrior training, falconry shows and role play in the market place. On Wednesday the Vikings will have a Walpurgis Celebration. Saturday and Sunday offer battle shows, horse shows, archers and music.

Truly international

1300 years ago, Ribe was an important metropolis with many trade connections to the wider world. This year is the 20th Viking market and about 500 Viking reenactors have been invited to help create a spectacular atmosphere. No doubt the market stalls will be a hive of activity, while everyone is trying to get a bargain and also get to see how the Vikings go about their handiwork.

The Vikings live in tents on the small marketplace plots, as well as in the town houses. They prepare food by the fireplaces, or meet to enjoy a tankard of mead in a cosy nook, while the kids get a pillow fight going on the  balance beam. Scandinavian languages mingle with English, German, Russian and Slavic tongues, and at the manor you'll hear more than just snatches of Dutch, because they are hosting some guests from the old Viking area of Dorestad.

Icelandic horses

Some of the Vikings will be arriving at the market on horseback. They will demonstrate how the Icelandic horse is the only race to master the fifth pace, tölt. A rapid, almost flying pace, that comes in particularly handy for a Viking with a mug full of delicious mead that must not be spilt.

Archers and warlike Vikings

And then there are the archers, some of the very finest in the country. Their longbows and arrows are a science in themselves, before you even start on how to hit the bullseye. All of this is on display at the market and – if you're brave enough – you can try your aim at archery.

With so many keen foreign Vikings gathered for the market in Ribe, it's quite a challenge for the long arm of the law to keep folk in check. Every so often a scuffle breaks out, and tempers fly on the battlefield to clear the air. It can get pretty violent, as swords and axes shear through the air. One by one the offenders fall to the ground – what a good thing it is that we believe in Odin.