Vikingeskibsmuseet Roskilde
An open-air museum transformation


Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Interior Architecture


The Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, Denmark, is built around the five original Viking ships excavated at Skuldelev in Roskilde Fjord in 1962. The unique and original ships are threatened by storm surges and degraded by light in today's museum facilities and need new frameworks around them.

Snøhetta and collaborator C.F. Møller Danmark were included as one of three teams in the last round of the competition for a new Viking Skip Museum but were not the ones chosen in the end.

Technical details

Museum & Gallery
Design Proposal
Roskilde, Denmark

Vikingeskibsmuseum Roskilde


C.F. Møller Architects

Kumulus ApS, Loveoflight, Gade&Mortensen, DBI, Henriksen Studio.

45,629 m², divided into landscape: 39.789 m², transformation: 2.615 m², new area: 3.225 m²

Photo: Mir

The existing Viking Ship hall is to the left, the Shrine is in the center, and the new entrance building is in the back on the right side. The existing Museum Island is in front on the right side.

Photo: Proloog

Open-air museum

The team's proposal is based on the idea of an open-air museum, introducing the harbor as the project's central and most important space. Surrounding the harbor, a new museum loop is introduced, connecting the museum's existing and new functions and public spaces for the city of Roskilde. The result is a more intuitive experience for the visitors, where landscape and buildings tell the story about the ships in the context of the water.

The design includes a new exhibition hall, entrance building, outdoor areas, and a transformation of the original Viking Ship Hall. The extensive landscaping gives the general public even better access to the coastline and the fjord than they have today.

"Ship Meditation"

The existing Viking Ship Hall is a concrete brutalist building from the 1960s. In the proposal of Snøhetta and C. F. Møller, this building would be transformed into a new vibrant workshop and exhibition hall, while the ships would be moved to a new building called the Shrine. In the Shrine, the new exhibition space displays the five Skuldeslev ships. 

The building is a delicate contrast to the rest of the museum, with the aim of no tactility, and no visual noise. The space exhibiting the five ships would offer a distinct atmosphere; the dome is covered in felt, providing a unique acoustic. The idea is that all focus is directed toward the richness of the ships, allowing for an experience where time stands still – "Ship Meditation."

The proposal aims to create a holistic and unique experience where the story of people's relationship with the water and the fjord - and the ship's significance for humanity's ability to explore and conquer the sea - is conveyed in an inspiring and engaging manner.

Viking Ship on display inside the Shrine.

Photo: Mir

The existing Viking Ship Hall is a concrete brutalist building from the 1960s.

Photo: Proloog

The hall imagined as a new, vibrant workshop and exhibition space.

Photo: Mir

Photo: Proloog

The new entrance building.

Photo: Proloog

The Shrine seen from the Museum Island.

Photo: Mir