One of our favorite partners in Stockholm is the team behind The Viking Museum. At the museum, you get to know everything about the Vikings in the Nordic. In the vivid exhibition, you will meet the Vikings through movies, scenery, projections and sound effects as well as archaeological objects. We met the guide Eric for some questions about him and The Viking Museum.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Norrtälje, which is just over an hour with car north of Stockholm, but I moved to Stockholm in 2011.
What is it like working as a guide at the Viking Museum?
It’s very funny! Still, I always talk about the Viking age, so talking to people who want to listen is extra fun. I think it is extra fun when it comes to questions, or if the group has requested a specific theme so that I can really go into details.
Why do you like archeology and the Viking age?
Archeology is a path to knowledge that is true in itself. Thanks to archeology, we can learn a lot about life in the past, while some parts disappear. And that’s probably the part of what I like about the Viking Age, it falls between what we can know, and all the myths that exist.
We know you love runes and helmets, why?
The world’s best question! Both of these interests began with a passion for the purely visual. Runestones with beautiful ornaments, and helmets from the time period before the Viking Age, the Merovingian period, with cool details. But when I started studying both of these subjects, I discovered so much more. The runestones are the words of ancient people, and although the inscriptions are often quite concise, they together form a whole. Then I still really like the art of many runestones, and my favorite runner Öpir never disappoints me! The helmets are also storytellers, but it is also a type of mask. Looking at a helmet in any way gives us the opportunity to see the people of the time on the same terms as then. I also find it interesting with the helmets to our image of the Viking Age. In popular culture, every other Viking has a helmet on his head. But archaeologically, there are clear remains of a total of three Viking-era helmets.
What do you know about LGBT+ in the Viking Age?
It is an interesting question, which will probably get a different light in the future. Of course, there have been gays in the Viking era, but it is harder to see them in the archaeological material, and the written texts we have by recent values. There are clearly LGBTQ people in the texts, but the texts give a negative picture, and the Viking society may have been more open than it seems through the eyes of recent times. Odin, who is the king of the gods, is often described as a warrior, but he steps outside the heteronym and exercises the kind of magic called said. Otherwise, that type of magic was considered to be something that women did. The word used for men who practiced magic, ergi, was the same word used for some men in gay relationships.
What is your best Pride memory?
I love it when Stockholm is changing during Stockholm Pride, there is so much love in the air in the city. Then I think it is uplifting to read about Pride in the Faroe Islands, where about 10% of the population participates in the parade, that is awesome!
Can you tell us more about your new exhibition?
We just finished the work with the new exhibition and we are very pleased with it! It’s more of everything. We have been working to create a feeling, that is sound, scent, and very unique environments. It is absolutely possible to read about the longhouse, but now you can also go in and sit by the fire. We have also borrowed more Viking objects from different places in Sweden from different museums, and it is great fun!
What is your favorite destination in Sweden?
I am most preferably in Roslagen, regardless of the weather, standing on a cliff by the water. Also on various tours around and I also recommend to stop at the flea market. Otherwise, I have a hard time dropping how many runestones that I haven’t seen yet! There are around 2,500 runestones in Sweden, and my aim is to see them all.
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