Beyond the Vikings: Oslo’s medieval festival brings history alive

Photos courtesy of  Oslomiddelalderfestival.com Jesters relax while not on duty.

Photos courtesy of Oslomiddelalderfestival.com
Jesters relax while not on duty.

Molly Jones
Norwegian American Weekly

In just two months’ time, Oslo’s distinguished Akershus Fortress will transform into a medieval festival reminiscent of the 14th century as thousands of history buffs—and their knights and princesses in training—participate in the Oslo Middelaldersfestival. The festival aims to remind locals of Oslo’s roots in the Middle Ages and focus on the diverse and exciting history of Norway’s capital, inviting guests to Bli med oss bakover i tid, til en æra da Oslo ble rikets maktsentrum or “Come with us back in time, to an era when Oslo was the center of the empire.”

Photo courtesy of  Oslomiddelalderfestival.com Reenactments of combat and jousting are among the festival’s biggest draws.

Photo courtesy of Oslomiddelalderfestival.com
Reenactments of combat and jousting are among the festival’s biggest draws.

The historic fortress will host the event during the last weekend of May, from May 29 to 31. The festival first began in 1994 and was held at Middelalderparken på Sørenga for 20 years, but construction at the park required the festival to relocate. Understandably though, the Akershus Fortress provides the ideal location—even more so than the Middelalderparken.

“It’s easy to create an illusion of the Middle Ages in such great surroundings,” commented the event’s organizer Henrik Høie to Osloby last year.

Photo courtesy of  Oslomiddelalderfestival.com The festival offers many choices for food, drink, and entertainment.

Photo courtesy of Oslomiddelalderfestival.com
The festival offers many choices for food, drink, and entertainment.

With the relocation, the festival was able to expand and now offers Friday evening hours and additional entertainment including historical theater, concerts with medieval instruments, jugglers, jesters, and more.

Attracting 5,000 to 7,000 visitors each year, the festival is especially popular among families. Children are invited to partake in knight and princess school, listen to storytellers, sword fight, make crafts, watch talented jugglers, learn about the Middle Ages, wander through a medieval market, among many other adventures.

Photo courtesy of  Oslomiddelalderfestival.com

Photo courtesy of Oslomiddelalderfestival.com

“I hope that as many people as possible want to take a historic journey back to medieval Akershus Fortress. It’s going to be a great experience in a historic setting,” commented Høie.

The program for 2015 is not yet finalized, but it will be made available on the festival’s website closer to the festival date.

Admission is 200 kroner for adults, 100 kroner for children ages three to 12, and free for children under three.

For more information, visit oslomiddelalderfestival.org (in Norwegian).

This article originally appeared in the March 13, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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