Sea Stallion not sailing to London

It would have made a fantastic picture: the Sea Stallion’s swaggering prow with London’s Tower Bridge in the background. But not this time.

Tower Bridge, London. Photo: Preben Rather Sørensen
Tower Bridge, London. Photo: Preben Rather Sørensen

In recent months the Viking Ship Museum has carried out several evaluations in collaboration with the Danish embassy in London of how the Museum’s crown jewel, the Sea Stallion from Glendalough, could fit in a visit to London and Tower Bridge on its way home to Denmark this summer.

Better a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big pond

“We have made a thorough analysis and there is a lot at stake for the Museum”, explains Tinna Damgaard-Sørensen, Director of the Viking Ship Museum, and continues: “It would require an extraordinary effort from the Museum to make a success of such a visit. With a city like London with over 9 million inhabitants and hundreds of thousands of tourists, there is a real danger of being swamped by all the other cultural events. And not only that, but we would spend at least two days getting up and down the Thames – days that would need to be found in the already very tight schedule of only six weeks”.

But there are good alternatives that are actually along the route we have to sail.

“So we are now going to find a harbour on the route through the English Channel the ship will be sailing anyway and there are lots of good options: Portsmouth is one of England’s most important ports when it comes to the country’s long history as a sea-faring nation. A ship like the Sea Stallion would certainly attract a lot of attention here”, says Tinna Damgård-Sørensen.

The Viking Ship Museum wants to use a visit to create maximum attention about the project the Museum calls “Thoroughbred of the Sea”. The ship and its crew of 61 men and women from all over the world can tell a story about one of the Vikings’ most spectacular military devices, which gave Denmark a strong position of power in Europe. But the ship also tells a story of impressive skills in shipbuilding and seamanship.

“We are not only putting the Viking Ship Museum on the cultural and historical world map. The ship and the project help market Denmark to a degree and in a way that measures up to the biggest Danish sporting triumphs in recent time, and that is precisely why it is important that we pick the right place!” concludes Tinna Damgård-Sørensen.

By: Preben Rather Sørensen

12/02 - 2008