The past years 2014-2017

The years pass and another one is on the way. The past few years a lot has happened. It began with myself in 2015. I was officially supposed to retire this year. We had already planned for this for years. How would we move on, who would take over? Who else would retire? Of course I had no plans to leave just yet, but you need to plan for the future.

In the near future several of us would become retirees. Olof had already left and then it was time for Sven Rosborn and Karl-Fredrik Wasén who left in 2016. And in 2017 Bengt Fredriksson retired after 25 years of faithful service.
But it did not quite turn out like that. Sven and I are still involved in projects together, and Olof, Karl-Fredrik and Bengt have jumped in during the most active periods during the summer.


At the end of 2013 we had the storm SVEN that caused serious damage to our Viking age environments, so we had our work cut out to fix everything before the season began during the spring of 2014. Changes this year included the running of the holiday cottages and community centre being taken over by a subcontractor. The caretaker also took over maintaining the buildings and green around the museum and culture centre. This was part of a plan to split the business into smaller units that could run in parallel.  The old administration building came to house Höllviken's Art Gallery and Scanian Crafts Institute, including the workshops and forge.

After the season ended came the Storm and the Flood. This time our modern buildings took the hit. The entire community centre, red brick building and bunker were flooded with storm water that the drains were unable to handle. That winter the community centre underwent a total renovation after spending weeks draining the water and running dehumidifiers around the clock.  The same followed for the bunker red brick building containing the showers and laundry room. This kept us occupled all winter and spring until the next season started in May.

We had also kept busy on the museum side. These years we developed what activities the museum had to offer to cover the whole year:

”Fun in three”
Spring open
Walpurgis night celebration
International Viking Day
Viking Feast at the community centre
The Battle of Foteviken
National day of Sweden with bonfire, exhibitions and a feast
Children's Day
Crafting days
The Viking Market
Children's Week
Archaeology Day
Harvest Feast
Goda Livet på Landet exhibition
Halloween Ghost Walk
Christmas market in Höllviken


This year another EU project landed at Foteviken. The 4 year Destination Viking Association project Follow the Vikings was approved. This meant many exciting meetings and travels.
Open Arch, our other EU project, would last throughout the year with a lot of activities on the crafting side with Exeter University spearheading crafts development.

We also invested in developing our historical environments and involvement of volunteers. We laid the foundation here for even better education in crafts and storytelling.
We could build further on this when we hosted the first conference of the Follow the Vikings EU project.  The theme of the conference was how to work with volunteers and here we could learn a lot from our European friends. How to teach in first and third person was another theme and here we had IMTAL (The International Museum Theatre Alliance) as experts.

As usual we held our annual Viking market, with a visitor record this year.


This year Sweden was affected by the flow of refugees across Europe. Getting a place to live for everyone was a big problem, and when Velling municipality asked for help we obviously did our part. The first group were youths who needed both a roof over the head and food in their bellies. This became a job for the new chefs who were taking over running the community centre and museum restaurant.

With new chefs in place to run the museum restaurant it was natural to continue investing in our modern buildings. The community centre and old administration building were done, and Frösunda with Project Different had moved in their daily activities there, in collaboration with the Scanian Crafts Institute.

We now turned our attention to renovating all the cottages in our holiday cottage village, which were in need of a serious facelift. All the cottages got new kitchens. The old hostel building was turned into three new apartments and the SVEG activity room was converted into two appartments. Everything was done before the season started.

However the flow of refugees had not abated and we signed a deal with Vellinge municipality for them to rent  the entire holiday cottage village for 2 years.

This left us with time to fully focus on the museum activities. The community centre had their activities tied to food and events and Den Fede Gåsen took care of the museum resturant and entrance shop. The profits went to the museum.

Our focus now turned to the visitors. We developed our crafts programme in collaboration with Medborgarskolan. We worked on educational materials for volunteers and summer workers who were to participate in the historic environments during the summer. We also created new information materials for visitors, explaining why we have no moderns signs in the historic environments, and explaining the composition of the Viking actors, from archaeologists, historians and master craftsmen to people with an interest in the Viking age and desire to learn more. Concepts of storytelling and living history were the focus.

An important part was also bringing in new staff to replace the retirees who only wanted to jump in for shorter periods during the summer. Several archaeology students from the University of Lund became summer workers and at the end of the season Sofie stayed on as a full-time employee.


Time flies, and when we land at 2017 we were facing a record year. This is it, we are about to pass 50 000 visitors during the season.

Unfortunately this year also ment the end of Arrangemangsbolaget, our event company. In spite of fantastic chefs and good food our investment in the lunch restaurant, that looked so promising early 2016, it ultimately ended up a failure. During the season everything was well, but during the autumn and winter we had too few visitors, and the event activities never turned a profit. Thus in 2017 the museum again took direct control of the shop and restaurant.  The community centre continued operating on its own.

Many new colleagues and coworkers arrived this summer, from near and far. Mostly craftmen, but we also had a fantastic year for volunteers.
We now also have a modern building for visiting craftsmen to stay in, and volunteer house where visitors could comfortably sleep when they did not feel like sneaking up into the Viking town and sleep in one of our fantastic Viking buildings.

A new concept for returning family visitors this year is the Viking club Bluetooth. Here children  can go on the hunt and learn crafts and Viking arts. For every completed activity they receive a pearl, which could be traded for a mark showing their skills and abilities, ranking up from serf to cheftain.

This summer we had a fantastic season. While the Saturday rained away during the Viking Market, we got all the more visitors during Sunday instead.

This has also been the summer of filming. 10 film teams from across the world have been visiting. Vikingaliv – the new Viking museum in Stockholm – has been here and nearly all their tales have images from Foteviken and the SVEG village community. The Follow the Vikings roadshow also recorded in our historic environments, where yours truly played as the god Thor. At the time of writing Bosse Kindberg has also produced two episodes about the Baltic Sea Finns.

Micke Agaton, who already in 1993 did two hour-long films about Vikings, where much took place at Foteviken, has not recorded 3 hours about the viking age for Swedish Television.

Sven Rosborn has release two exciting new books this year.

As up to 90% of our visitors are international guests we are happy that our local initiatives have given good results. Nearly 1000 children visited us during Children's Week, measured by handing out 1000 ice creams.

More changes at the museum -  Lukasz Szczepański takes charge of education and activities in the Viking age environments, and Rrahman Shala is responsible for maintaining our buildings. The shop, booking and related things are now managed by  Therese Assarsson, supported by Sussi.

Another important change is that since November 1 2017 I am no longer the museum director.  Ameli Rosenqvist now has the command of the whole gang.  I will remain chairman of the board of both the association SVEG as well as NOK. I have not abdicated so I will also retain my title. I will also continue to manage our modern facilities for now, but hopefully that will change during 2018.

This summer will probably bring additional fuss. As usual my birthday is during the market, this year for the 25th time, and I will turn 70. So it is high time for me to calm down a little.

Merry christmas and happy new year,
Björn, Ameli and the staff