29th of April 2021 - 1st of March 2023

From 1643-45, there is a feud between Sweden and Denmark - and on a cold October day in 1644, the final, bloody showdown between these two hereditary enemies takes place. In the Fehmarn Belt, a dramatic naval battle is fought, sending three ships to the seabed. Hundreds of years later, maritime archaeologists investigate the wrecks prior to the construction of a tunnel between Lolland and Fehmarn.

The sea erases no trace….

The exhibition ‘In Smoke and Flames’ is the result of several years of research, carried out by Danish and German researchers from the Viking Ship Museum and the Archäologisches Landesamt Schleswig ‐ Holstein, on behalf of Femern A/S. With the discovery of the three shipwrecks, Swarte Arent, Lindormen and Delmenhorst, we can bring to life the gruesome events that mark the beginning of the end of Denmark’s power in the Baltic Sea.

A visual staging of a dramatic painting from the naval battle. Fragments of bronze guns destroyed by fire and explosion. Grim traces of the crews. An impressive ship model of a Danish warship. Rust-red textile fragments, which underline the importance of fire as a decisive element of naval warfare.

A timeline

A timeline that lets you follow the course of history, year by year, month by month, day by day and hour by hour. From Christian IV increasing the Sound Toll and the Swedish invasion of Jutland, to the fateful battle in Fehmarn Belt and the subsequent peace negotiations, and, not least, the maritime archaeological investigations of the shipwrecks in 2012 and 2020.

If you want to know more…

The story continues in the online finds catalogue and essays from maritime archaeologists and experts in naval war history. And with a series of small films produced during the construction of the exhibition, we take a look behind the scenes and show glimpses of how the new special exhibition was created.