we vikings now on

Vikings were the pirates of the North Sea. They terrorised the coasts of Europe with their killing and pillaging. Vikings also ravaged the Dutch coastal region of Frisia. The attacks began in 810, when Danish Vikings attacked Frisia with a fleet numbering more than 200 ships. The ferocious Vikings only stopped their looting when their victims paid them a large ransom in silver. But they often came back in the years that followed.

We Vikings takes you back to the time when Vikings frequently raided Frisia. Discover how families were devastated by kidnappings, houses were burned down and villages were destroyed. But you will also get to know another side of the Vikings.


Between the attacks there was a lot of trade between the Dutch and the Vikings. At that time, the North Sea was the highway of Europe: everything went faster over water. The interiors were so difficult to reach that it was easier for someone from the Dutch coast to get to Denmark than Enschede in the eastern Netherlands. As a result, there was a lot of trade and exchanges with the coastal inhabitants of Scandinavia, Great Britain and Ireland. There was, in fact, a shared North Sea culture.

This culture also included Vikings. Vikings were not a nation, ‘Going Viking’ meant going on a raid. Not only Scandinavians were Vikings: the inhabitants of Frisia also joined the Vikings. Sometimes they did so under duress, but often men, women and even children volunteered to join the violent raids. In We Vikings you will discover how much we have in common with Vikings.


The Fries Museum acquired the drawings of the small warship Skuldelev V. The remains of this Viking ship are preserved in the Vikingeskib Museet in Roskilde, Denmark. Students from the ROC Friese Poort’s Maritime Engineering course built a replica together with the shipbuilder Bein Brandsma. This fifteen-metre-long replica can be seen in We Vikings.

After the exhibition the ship will be outfitted for sailing and for the first time in centuries a Viking ship will once again navigate through Friesland.

The exhibition We Vikings is realised with support from the Mondriaan Fund, LF2028, Leeuwarden Municipality, Prins Bernhard Cultural Fund, Het Nieuwe Stads Weeshuis Foundation, St. Anthony Gasthuis Foundation, Vaderlandsch Fonds, Meindersma-Sybenga Foundation, Leeuwarder Ondernemerfonds, Stichting Siebolt Foundation, the Directorate of Oostersche Handel en Reederijen, Boelstra Olivier Foundation, Herbert Duintjer Fund and the Friends of the Fries Museum.

The Fries Museum is co-financed by the Abe Bonnema Foundation, the Province of Friesland, the Noord-Nederland Partnership, EZ/Kompas, the BankGiro Lottery and Aegon.