About the project

The association “Víkingaskip” in partnership with Thomas Finderup and Guðmundur Sjúrðarson Norðbúð are building a replica of the Gokstad viking ship in Hovi, Faroe Islands.

The Faroe Islands were colonized by vikings more than a thousand years ago, sailing from Norway and Denmark, using vikingships to cross the the North Sea and the North Atlantic. These journeys led them all the way to Greenland and then North America.

To keep these far-flung lands connected to mainland Scandinavia, sailing was crucial. Strong ships where imperative for maintaining the link to the outside world, and in the Faroe Islands, for essential connection between the islands themselves.

Since Vikings times, seafaring and boat building have been an essential parts of the Faroe Islands, evolving into a unique boat building tradition, and played a central role in Faroese culture, which includes rowing as the national sport.

This is why we think it is important to have a viking ship and a boat-house; to help preserve the traditions of boat-building from viking age and of subsequent Faroese boat-building, and to honor our seafaring and boat-building traditions.

We are building the Vikingship to have a living symbol of ancient and modern, seafaring and boat-building traditions and as symbol of Faroese heritage and culture.

The Faroe Islands have many historic remnants and traces from the Viking Age, dotted throughout the landscape in place names, ruins and legends. The most important written sources we have, are the Icelandic Sagas and the story called Færeyjnga Saga, the Faroese Story, by Snorri Sturluson in 12th century. Among the settlements mentioned in the sagas is Hov (Hof), which was the homestead of the chieftain of the southern fiefdom of the Faroe Islands and the religious center of Norse religion on the islands. The name Hov means temple in old norse. A perfect and historically accurate location for the first Faroese viking ship in an age.

The project is managed by the association Víkingaship, its purpose to build and operate a viking ship and boat house for cultural and historic preservation and cultivation. The idea to build a viking ship began as a cooperation between public institutions and cultural associations in Suðuroy. Seen as a development of cooperation in historic preservation in Suðuroy and culutral preservation in the Faroes, altogether.

The Ship

The Gokstad ship is a Viking ship that was found in Norway in the Gokstadhaugen (Gokstadmound or kingsmound) in 1880, Gokstad, near Sandefjord.

It is the largest Viking ship ever found in Norway. Was found in a mound as a burial ship, but before the owners death was very seaworthy. It excels at sea with a top speed of 12 knots.

The Gokstad ship

The Gokstad ship in Oslo

The ship is clinker-built and is 23.80 metres long and 5.10 metres broad, used for warfare, trade and transport. The ship was built with 32 oars, needing 64 oarsmen in all. Had a 110 square metre sail, which can propel the ship up to 12 knots. Based on dendrochronological results, the wood for the ship was hewn in 890 and built during the reign and Harald Fairhair. The ship could then compliment a crew of about 70 warriors. Making it 135 men when fully manned for battle.

The ship will be built from Danish oak and the association has agreements with Roskilde Vikinge Museum and people in Denmark to supply oak for building.

The sail will be made and woven from Faroese wool, which is very well suited for the purpose. The sail itself will become an aspect of cultural preservation for Faroese woven and knitting traditions and we want to include associations to take part in the unique traditions.

The Boat-house

Interior perspective of the boat-house with the ship.

The boat-house construction is designed according old Norse or viking architecture. In cooperation with archaeologists and historians, the design for the boat-house will be a close approximation of the buildings from Viking age in Scandinavia. The Boat-house will be a combination of a boat-house and longhouse, being based on the longhouses found in Viking age. Modeled after the longhouses in the viking ringforts.

Interior and exterior will use architectural components from the Viking age, but everything will be modern and the facilities too.

Apart from being a boat-house to house the viking ship itself, the house will be cultural house and facility able to hold gatherings and a variety of events during the spring and summer time, when the ship is at sea. It will become center for learning about the history of the Viking age in the Faroes and as such, schools and school projects are welcome to use the facility. Moreover, this will become a popular tourist location.

The village of Hov and the location of the boat-house and the ship

The Smithy

Apart from massive quantities of wood to build the ship, there will also be a need for vast amounts of iron nails. Keeping with ancient boat building traditions and techniques, we will build a forge and have smith make them on site, so the requirement for nails is met. The Smithy will be built just south of the boat-house and keeping with old Norse architecture, will blend in well with its surroundings. Once the fires are lit, people will have the opportunity to purchase nails and enthusiast will be able to forge nails, under supervisions.