Located in one of the Viking period’s most important and vibrant regions in all of Denmark, the Lejre museum is a treasure trove for anyone interested in the history of the Vikings and their way of life. Here, both their history and their myths come to life again in their original setting. Free access with Copenhagen City Pass.
The museum may be located only about 40 kilometers west of the center of Copenhagen but coming here transports visitors much, much farther: back in time to the days of old when the Vikings ruled Scandinavia and sailed off on their raids and voyages of discovery that made them such feared warriors and admired explorers. And further still, the early beginnings of what would eventually become Denmark and its first kings and queens, and to the half-historical, half-mythical characters that have since been woven into the very fabric of Denmark and Danish life.
Going this far back in time makes it hard to clearly distinguish between legend and fact and over the centuries, both have become inseparably intermingled. But the old sagas have it that for more than 300 years, from 600 to 950 AD, the mythical family of the Scyldings ruled from Lejre as their primary seat of power. And historical findings made over the last 30 years suggest that there might indeed be some truth to these myths: Lejre today ranks among the most important locations of the Viking period.
Among these finds is a unique complex of five halls attributed to various kings belonging to the clan of the Scyldings. Their size and privileged location – they look out over the ancient burial grounds on the other side of the Lejre river and even had a clear view of the ships that lay on the river’s banks – the halls attest to their owner’s strikingly powerful political, social, and religious position.
The history of these halls and the significance of the region is illuminated even further in the museum. Divided into three distinct sections, the exhibits explore how recent archeological finds – among them weapons, jewelry, and articles of everyday life – support the stories found in the old sagas through films, sounds, and historical objects and even display the museum’s most precious pieces: the world-famous Odin figures along with Denmark’s largest silver treasures, the so-called Mannerupskatt and Gevningefundet.