Think BIG

When I presented my idea of the Viking town in Gudvangen in the early 2000 to our mayor as he visited – we walked around the area – he said: Why do you have to think so big? If you down-scale your vision a bit, to a couple of houses, or a farm, I am sure we (the council) can help with land and economy. But your plans are so ambitious!

I told him I was sorry, but it had to be a town. Scandinavia already had plenty of Viking houses and farms. And I just could’nt grasp the idea of thinking “smaller”.

Today Njardarheimr has 19 historic buildings plus a large administration building with offices, storages, a volunteer building, a large souvenir shop and a restaurant. Plus we have Heidrun our modern heated hall. We can feed about 300 people inside.

Totally it has cost about €5 mill.

As you can see, if you’re here; there are still 2 buildings missing. If you know someone who might like to be part of this project, tell them they can by investing in our great hall, or the religious building on the top. Wether it’s going to contain the old or the new religion is still not decided.

I am getting older, but I am thinking of a new idea. It is BIG-ger. I will get back to that soon’ish.

But my point is: THINK BIG!

About the rune R in the younger futark.

A lot of people in the modern world loves runes. They tattoo them on their body, write letters, mark weapons, jewelry and belongings. And of course use them in articles and messages on Facebook. So, since it’s so popular one would think that they do proper research. Some say “everybody knows that”! But clearly a lot doesn’t. A very clear and easy thing to do is at least to use the correct futark for the time period you represent. You do not write a Viking message using the old futark! It ended at the very beginning of Viking age. And some people are very sloppy about how they write the specific letters. For instance the letter R. How to write it and how to use it. Here is a few runestone inscriptions to show how they did then. The mid angle point NEVER touch the stem! Sometimes it’s not even an angle.

All following pictures are from Jørgen Markvad’s book Runer og runesten, Forlaget Yduns Æbler

The Egtved stone
The Bække stone 2
The Hørning stone
The Øster-Løgum stone, Haderslev
The Høye Tåstrup stone
The Asmild stone, Viborg
The Jelling stone
The Sønder Vissing stone
The Hedeby stone, the Haitabu Museum
The Virring stone
The Asferg stone
The Glenstrup stone
The Sønder Kirkeby stone
The Tirsted stone
The Tirsted stone
The Vordingborg stone

More about the R. The YR or end-R. The upside-down M-rune. Some people tend to use it in the middle of a word. (Actually there is at least one stone who does that.) But the rule, in the younger futark, is that it is ALWAYS at the end. A more normal mistake is to use the R (reidh) at the end of words. That also happens on at least one stone.

Towards the end of Viking age YR went from being the end R to become Y, still named YR.

Visions & goals – Part 2

To be a collector of real Vikingships

As a Viking chieftain one has a yearn for the possibility of leaving home. You want to travel to extend your network, to get insight and knowledge, to spread your vision. I have had the option of going in a car, on a plane or by train. Back in time we had horses ♥, and SHIPS! We’ll get back to the horse.

The mark of the Viking age was ship building. Extreme vessels the world had never seen. Big ships that could transport great armies across open sea, unto beaches and up rivers.

Watching the TV-series “Vikings” taught us that the first thought in a great Viking chieftains mind is: “How can I get a ship?” By finding a ship builder.

In 2004 I was fortunate enough to do just that. Hans Breivoll from Gjøvik had built a Viking ship before. And he was part of my people. I asked him humbly, as you must with a ship builder. But you always know that, as long as the ship builder isn’t busy building a ship, he is never hard to ask. Hans built my first Viking boat over the summers of 2004-5. It was reall enough built for our project and Viking group. But as the chieftain I stick to the right of calling it mine. Beautiful Njardar was launched first of October 2005 and it was such a great day!


I got seven years by the steering oar. It was such lovely years! But in 2012 she was left on shore and I suddenly didn’t have the right to care for her. I was heartbroken. Now others have taken over and she might never again feel the salt water under her kiel. I do miss her SO much!

I never felt so relaxed as when I was onboard that boat, even though I am no sailor – yet!

This is not a “beautiful” video, but it gives a glimpse of the joy of rowing your own ship!

In 2010 I got my second ship “Rond” from a project in the east – but she needed repairs and at this moment I didn’t have a boat builder. Built in Bjørkedalen on Sunnmøre 12 years earlier. She suffered the same destiny in 2012 and are now on display in the middle of our camp. I never got to get as close to her, but beautiful she is!


I have a dream! Not of a new ship, but of a whole fleet. I still got time. And I have found a new boat builder. First I need a merchant ship, because I am first of all a trader, not a warrior. I have warriors to fight my fights (will get back to that). My merchant ship is a small beautiful Knarr. First built in Sogn, maybe Aurland, around 1000 ad. Found in Roskilde fjord, Denmark. She has been rebuilt four times and her daughters have sailed around the planet. She will be named after one of Ægir’s daughters. When she is born you will know her name. Here are some photos of her sisters (Saga Siglar, Borgundknarren and Ottar):

My boat builders, and my mentor on Viking authenticity and ship building:

Hans Breivoll RIP, my new ship builder and Arne Emil Christensen (Master and menthor)

Now – all I need is the money 🙂

Then, the story goes on, and the plan and the visions are clear!

Visions & goals – Part 1


To build a Viking town – and live in it – and teach the world the meaning of a simple and happy life – with struggles, obstacles, purpose & meaning. Teaching by the old Chinese rule of: You hear and you forget, you see and you remember, you take part and understand.

The meaning is not the goal, but the journey!

It need to be true, authentic but not silly, and rule no 1, 2 and 3 : maintenance x 3

So, what did a Viking town look like in Viking time? Under here you see two cities who had more than a 1000 inhabitants. Haithabu was in Denmark and probably the largest merchant city in the north of Europe. Trade, and production of trade goods, was the only activity in a town or city.


Haithabu/Hedeby (by Schleswig, Germany) over, and Birka (by Stockholm, Sweden) under.

Music by Wardruna

A town or city seemed always to be initiated and owned by a king in need of goods. The kings farm would be in safe distance from the town. Probably because most people there were common, poor and dirty :-). And of course there would be lots of pirates coming to town to trade slaves and loot. The king wouldn’t want them too close.


(Over) Arkikon animation of the kings farm at Tissø, Denmark (click photo)

handelSTORTA vision of Gudvangen by Anders Kvåle Rue, and another by Ragnar Børset:


And now, after 21 years, a final plan has raised! Drawn, and to be built, by my friend Steen Bjerg, who built the long house and other buildings at Ribe Viking Centre!

And here it is:


And this will be my house, the chieftains house, ready before Christmas 2016:


This is the entrance, seen from the seafront:


And in the back the seremony house finished 2018-19


And today, the 8th of November 2016, the final building permit arrived! So, by 1st of May 2017 the first 17 buildings should open in NJARDARHEIMR – the home given to his people by Njord!

The Raven – our friend, or Odin’s spy?

The Corvus Corax Corax

The wood cut print is made by Scottish artist Ian MacCulloch. Prints can be bought from Julian Jardine’s web shop The Odin illustration seems to be quite ancient.

I would say the Raven is by far the most magic and mysterious of all birds.

The Raven is on top of the crow family hierarchy with the magpie and the crows submitted, but with the Royal Eagle soaring above. The Raven might respect but doesn’t fear the eagle as it can be seen teasing them high up in the sky with their brilliant capability of acrobatic flying. On ground among the dead bodies the Eagle is still the boss. If caught by birth the Raven can also be a family bird who sometimes speaks better than a parrot. And they stay true to their human family.

Outside, in our Valley, we have two – and only two it seems – Ravens. They seem as royal as the eagle family who lives above us, and sometimes slides through the Valley on low speed. Sometimes when we open our front door to go out they are sat in a tree 500 feet away, crowing a few times like they want to say something, before they lift off and fly away. Sometimes they appear further up in the mountains when we go for a trip. I wonder if these birds actually knows us. I like to think so. They are wiser and more beautiful than most other birds!

Corvuscorax001          Photographer unknown

They are never to be seen as three in our valley, but also very rarely alone, so it must be a couple. And couples live together all their life. They can be up to at least 50 years old. The oldest tame raven we know died at the age of 68.

Odin’s ravens Hugin (Thought) and Munin (Mind) are his “spies”, or news agents, around the world. They go out in the morning and return back in the evening, telling him the news worth knowing. I hope the news they bring from here is good news, and if not that he sorts it out to my pleasing… They cover both the realm of gods (Asgard) and of men (Midgard).

First print is Gerhard Munthes illustration of the Harold Hairfair saga of Snorre Sturlasson, the little figure was found in the 90’s in Lejre, Denmark. The lower, also my t-shirt design, is a plaque from a helmet from Vändel, Sweden (6-700ad)

11059400_1093528947339502_1327863220492834673_nPhoto Paul Edmundson, Flåm

A crow and a raven is not too hard to know apart. I often wandered. This video is quite American, but educational:

The Viking kings had banners when they went to battle. The first we know of was Ragnar Lothbrok’s banner (7th – 9th century), then Harald Hardrada’s 250 years later. The Raven banner. Then one can wonder if Harold Godwinson brought with him Harald H’s banner to the battle of Hastings. It’s suggested, but to me that looks like a wild guess.

Maybe they confirm what people believed in old days, that the Raven came with a message of death.

A beautiful, if a little strange :-), film about this miracle bird:



…my logos and images.



My mark the Lynx, most lovely animal of our woods! It is on my cloak and on my shield, as it will on my banner. My yellow dragon that also is our Viking group’s logo, designed by a goldsmith as part of the Oseberg collection of silver jewelry. My coin that also bears the mark of the  home of Njardar.

IMG_0202-Edit - k

Photo by Krystian Krystkowiak

And finally, a view of the town as a friend saw it…


Drawn by Anders Kvåle Rue

Viking lands – where are they?


My Viking lands are spread.

At the moment I live among mountains, in the most beautiful fjord landscape one can dream of. People who come here believe it to be Viking heaven, or Valhalla inside Midgard. Many stay far longer than intended, some settle for years or for life. Common to all who leave is that coming back is like coming home. As I arrived I was given a dream – to build a Viking sanctuary, a dwelling of a few chosen – to teach history to thousands. To pass on the dream. This has been my passion and my calling, for as long as it takes to grow from infant to a responsible parent. I came here as a stranger, grew into the wild mountainside and is now even known as the king of Njardarriket. And I am proud enough to say I earned it. Every year hundreds of reenactors travel here to fall in love, to be enchanted, to make babies and to trade their goods.

And they leave, forever lost into the dream.

Elise Gegauff

As time went I travelled. To share my new passion. My journey went across the Norse sea to Norththumberland and to Jorvik, as my past time relatives before me. I went as far as The Bridge. Stamford Bridge in East Riding of Yorkshire. I walked with friends on what was called Battleflats, and I saw where the old bridge had been 950 years ago. And I wandered “Might I have been here before?” I believe I might. I got many friends there, companions for life. Even my skald I met there. Adrian the Skald have been my close poet ever since, and will be for as long as we walk this path together. And of course who can be a (even an imaginary) king without a Skald to tell his story!


As Vikings leave their heart between the mountains where I live, a part of my heart will always stay in the streets of Jorvik, and the beer will never taste as good as among friends in the old flooded pub Kings Arms by river Ouse. And in my dream, one winter morning in February some year, I will claim my Viking land of my past as we roll down our flags along the walls of Cliffords Tower.



Lets end this day with a poem from my skald:

…and I Recall Forever Who Is Our Chieftain

I recall the day

I was asked by Olafr Reydarsson to stand by him to be his Skald

I recall the day that the man Georg called to my audience

that he would like to have me by his side at all times

I recall the day he said he would like me to never leave this old land

I recall the day I heard my chief was ill

I recall the day I heard he had stood again

I recall the day I was announced by him, in York, as the Skald of Jorvik

I recall the day I first stepped among these many Viking people

I recall the day I first met Georg

I recall the day he smiled

I recall the day he smiled at my challenging ways

I recall the day he accepted my unusual thoughts

I recall the day he called us all to listen to my words

I recall the day he laughed

I recall the day I sat beside his great chair

I recall the day I was welcomed into his home

I recall the day he called me friend

I recall the day a whole host looked up to him

I recall the day the falls all turned to mist

I recall the day the ship had him at prow

I recall the day no single soul refused

I recall the day I knew I was only one of all

I recall the day he told me of his dreams

I recall the day I knew

I recall the day I pledged to walk by him all time

And I

Recall the day