Heritage Alert: The Viking Ship Hall – Roskilde, Denmark


The International Scientific Committee on Twentieth Century Heritage (ISC20C) has released an International Heritage Alert regarding the threatened demolition of the Viking Ship Hall in Roskilde, Denmark.

Vikingeskibshallen (The Viking Ship Hall) is a masterwork of modern Danish architecture. It is a unique structure that creatively integrates museum, setting and archaeology in a way that transcends historic definitions. The Viking Ship Hall was built in 1967-68 and was the first late modern building to be listed for protection in Denmark in 1998.

Following dramatic floods in 2013 and a subsequent escalation of structural decay issues, the Viking Ship Hall became the subject of unusual political and public debate. It was used to prompt a significant change in the Danish heritage law that weakens the protection of listed modern buildings.

On 30th August 2018, the Danish Minister of Culture, Mette Bock, against the advice of her own experts’ and the advice of the department of culture, decided to delist the building. As a consequence, the Roskilde Viking Ship Museum, which owns the building but not the ships, has sent a letter to the Cultural Affairs Committee of the Danish Parliament officially stating that the museum now intends to demolish the building and build a new one. ISC20C and all Danish heritage organisations consider this an alarming and unnecessary loss of one of the most internationally significant modern buildings in Denmark.

ISC20C appeals for the preservation of the Viking Ship Hall, stressing that the structural issues and the climate conditions of the building site are not unique and can be addressed. The investment and the effort to preserve architectural masterpieces in concrete are widely supported and achieved in many places around the world. ISC20C appeals for immediate action to preserve the Viking Ship Hall as an internationally outstanding architectural ensemble that has significant future large socio-economic potential.

See ISC20C website for more information.

You can download the documents related to the Viking Ship Hall alert below:  

Press Release Viking Ship Hall

Heritage Alert Viking Ship Hall

Letter of Appeal to Danish Government

Letter of the International Union of Architects


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