Norway’s Viking Age Museum survives budget cuts

Viking ship museumPhoto: Fredrik Hagen / NTB

Roughly a month ago, the Viking Age Museum was asked to cut costs by NOK 1 billion. But now, the Norwegian government is changing course, and the museum will receive NOK 700 million in funding.

The new Viking Age Museum on Bygdøy in Oslo will receive NOK 700 million in grants, but the government has opted for a scaled-down version of the original plans, according to Norwegian Broadcasting. 

“I am happy that the construction can now start without more delays,” museum director Håkon Glørstad told the channel.

In May, Minister of Research and Higher Education Ola Borten Moe (SP) announced that the costs associated with the construction of the new Viking Age Museum on Bygdøy had to be cut by NOK 1 billion. But now, it seems Borten Moe changed his position on the case.

“We have now made an overall assessment, where the alternative would be to move back to the start and start the project again. That would mean losing valuable time and the resources that have already been included in the plans,” he told NRK.

Challenges ahead

Despite the NOK 700 million in grants from the Norwegian state, the museum must cut back on its planned offer to the public.

The government’s grant ensures that the planned groundwork for the new museum can start as soon as practically possible. However, the construction project must still reduce costs by NOK 300 million.

“We are happy that the project is not being stopped. The government’s decision means that the work of securing the unique cultural heritage can continue in full force. 

“But unfortunately, the demands for budget cuts have major negative consequences for the museum’s ambitions to be a world-leading museum on the Viking Age. The services aimed at children, young people, and the population of Oslo will be particularly affected. We question whether the cuts can be justified in light of the negative consequences,” Glørstad stated.

Museum offer affected

Lack of funding will probably lead to parts of the facility remaining unused when the doors of the Viking Age Museum open in 2026. Thus, a part of the offer will disappear or be reduced. Here are some of the expected consequences:

  • The museum’s planned café and restaurant will be replaced by a kiosk.
  • Areas for school education will not be completed.
  • Areas for new and current exhibitions will be removed. 
  • The auditorium and cinema will not be completed.
  • Research laboratories where the public would be able to meet researchers will be put on hold.
  • The room for the preservation of Viking objects will not be completed.
  • The museum will be operated without office space and workplaces.
  • The planned research center at the museum will be dropped.

“It is a paradox that the savings are no more than NOK 300 million when the consequences are so extensive. We must ask the question of whether a fully funded solution would not have better served the state. By cutting the financing, you risk a higher total price and a reduced opportunity to achieve the benefits from the state’s investment. It is unfortunate,” Glørstad added in a press release.

“The Viking ships on Bygdøy have been Norway’s most visited museum for many years. The ambitions for the new museum have been to create a new world attraction, which will be of great importance for branding Norway’s and Oslo’s tourism industry and the state’s revenue. It is a pity that the government isn’t committing itself to a financial framework that immediately secures the goals and effects that the Storting has adopted,” Glørstad stated.

Further expenses down the line?

The Norwegian government is allocating around NOK 3.1 billion to the new museum project, and securing the Viking Age collection is stated as a priority. 

Part of the planned offer could be realized at a later date.

“The process the government is planning, unfortunately, creates uncertainty for the construction project,” Glørstad stated, adding that some of the museum functions can be realized at a later date but that such a development could quickly become more expensive than what was originally planned.

Note: The picture used is for illustration purposes only.

Source: #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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3 Comments on "Norway’s Viking Age Museum survives budget cuts"

  1. Faye Jenkins | 29. June 2022 at 08:18 | Reply

    I loved seein the Viking ship and all the other museums in Oslo when
    Touring Norway fro the other side of the world
    Faye Jenkins
    Australia 🇦🇺

  2. Håkon Glørstad is the museum’s director.

    The Viking Ship Museum is Norway’s FLAGSHIP museum. WHO put a 2-digit mental midget like myopic bean-counting Ola Moe in charge of cultural history/affairs??
    HOW do such characters get elected here in the first place? This isn’t the States. :-/
    The WHOLE program should be funded!

    Meanwhile, Norway is just throwing away NoK billions feeding the terminally dangerous Ukraine War with more war toys, putting everyone’s (except the elites’, presumably) safety in mortal danger, with next to nothing being done for sivilforsvars!

    Norway’s politicians’ upside-down groupthink priorities are going to be the death of all of us and our loved ones, let alone of our – again, I’ve got ancestors from the Shetlands – history/heritage!

    I never imagined such stupidity could be so credentialed and empowered in a country like Norway which is *supposed* to be so advanced and broad-minded.

  3. Another museum that deserves support but needs to be more advertised to draw international visitors is the Oscarsborg Festning/Fortress Museum.
    That one relatively short but incredible and internationally viewed/popular scene in Kongens Nei/The King’s Choice of it sinking brand-new German heavy cruiser Bluecher now has 3.7 MILLION views on YouTube!

    My older son and his bride went with me and then-little R and J to Oscarsborg and were awed by the guns. Great family photo of my daughter-in-law holding J, everyone up next to a massive Krupp 11″ gun barrel, looking down-channel on a perfectly beautiful, sunny, breezy day. And that very large model of Bluecher donated by Germans in the museum, is similarly vivid.

    I assume Oscarsborg is under Forsvars/Defence funding, and I hope Gram is giving *it* its full, appropriate priority, along with the Akershus Festning Museum, of course.

    To extend one of the mottos of my webpage, war must be CONFINED to history books and games … and museums.

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