Why The Viking Ship Museum Is Closed Until 2026

The Viking Ship Museum in Oslo was one of the best places to see real viking ships up close, and it was part of the best attractions for tourists who visited Oslo for a long time. However, the Viking Ship Museum closed its doors at the end of September in 2021, and it’s not opening anytime soon.

So why was the Viking Ship Museum closed, and what can we expect to see when it opens again?

The Viking Ship Museum was closed because of major renovations to the entire museum and the building its in. The entire museum is being completely overhauled, and it will open as a completely new museum that is three times as big in 2026.

Osebergskipet in the Viking Ship Museum
Osebergskipet in the Viking Ship Museum. Photo by: Hofi0006 / CC BY-SA 3.0.

The brand new Museum of the Viking Age will open in 2026

Once the Viking Ship Museum opens again in 2026, it will be under a new name. The new name of the museum is Museum of the Viking Age, and this new branding is to reflect that it will be a museum with a viking theme, not only a viking ship theme.

You will still get to see all the viking ships like Osebergskipet, but the new museum will also include a lot of different items from the other parts of the viking lifestyle.

Osebergskipet at the Museum of the Viking Ages. Keep in mind that this is only an early sketch of the plans for the museum. Photo by AART architects.

It will be very exciting to see the new museum when it opens, and I’m sure it will be just as popular as the original museum when it opens again. The original plan was for the new museum to open in 2025, but it has already been delayed by a year, so the new date is at one point during 2026.

Apparently the new museum will be roughly three times the size of the original, so you can expect to get a better and bigger experience in the new museum. I’m very excited to visit it as soon as it opens, and I’m sure that many others are as well.

One of the new planned exhibitions at the Museum of the Viking Ages. Keep in mind that this is only an early sketch of the plans for the museum. Photo by AART architects / Illustrasjon av Mir.

Closing the museum for 5 years has met a lot of controversy

As you can imagine, many people are upset that the Viking Ship Museum had to keep its door shut for a total of 5 – 6 years to renovate the museum, and lots of tourists have been disappointed when they have realized that they will not be able to see the viking ships in Norway.

The controversy around this topic has ignited a lot of debate, but the matter of fact is that the museum did not believe it possible to keep the museum open while also renovating it. The museum leaders claim that it’s simply impossible to display the viking ships in a safe manner as long as the museum is being renovated, so they made the decision to close it completely.

This means that anyone who are visiting Norway between 2022 and 2026 will not be able to see any real viking ships. There are a few replicates in other museum in Norway, but all the original viking ships for display are in the Viking Ship Museum, and therefore impossible to get a look at.

The Museum of the Viking Age has faced some budget issues, but they have been resolved (June 2022 update)

The museum has faced some budget issue because of rising cost of raw materials lately, and this lead to some issues. It seems like the entire project might cost around 1,000,000,000 NOK (one billion) more than originally intended. While this isn’t really that big of a deal for most museums of this size, the Norwegian government has made it clear that they do not intend to pay this extra cost.

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It seemed like the fate of the Museum of the Viking Age was uncertain, but the government has since changed their mind. The latest update is that the government grants the museum an additional 700,000,000 NOK to build the museum, which is enough to make it happen.

So at this point the construction will begin in the fall of 2022, and the museum is still slated to open in 2026.

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