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Talks and Walks, 14th - 17th of August

Stay tuned for more information!

Finally, Midgardsblot is back, and people from all over the world flock to Borre and its unique historical environment!

This year's festival runs from Wednesday14th of August to Saturday 17th of August. There will be concerts, happenings, workshops, good food and drink and a Viking market.

The seminar Midgard Talks takes place every day with lectures and panels relating to Viking history, culture and music. The festival collaborates with the Midgard Viking Centre.

We set up extra activities on the playground for children and extra guided tours during the festival.

Buy tickets here!

Choose between ticket for one day or for the whole four days:

Wednesday August 14th

About the Wednesday program (Midgard Talks)

We set the tone for the festival and start off at 10.00 with exploring heavy music’s use and inspiration of the Viking age. 

Next, we dive into the medieval, European witch hunts, that has also been a popular theme in metal music, as week as in films, comics and books. After, we go back in time to meet up with Snorri Sturlusson, ascribed author of some of the most important medieval sources to the Viking age. He visited Vestfold on several times and was involved in a major Icelandic-Norwegian power struggle, that in the end had him killed. 

This talk also creates a background for trying out our  brand new VR experience, where you can join in on the battle of Iceland where his family, the Sturlungs, were central. The realms of death in Norse mythology is endlessly fascinatin, and in the last talk of the day we travel to death on horseback to find out more. 

We wrap up the day exploring how the Viking age is used in popular culture. 

The Vestfold museum’s Peter Bøttinger will host a panel with Viking experts and the audience is welcome to join in. 


10.00 Beyond Viking metal: Heavy music and the Ancient North. Adam Kelly, Oxford university 

11.00 The Era of Early Modern Witch-hunts in Europe. Rune Blix Hagen, University of Tromsø 

12.00 Snorri Sturluson and his relationship to Vestfold and Norway. Bjørn Bandlien, University of Southeast Norway 

13.00 Travelling to death on horseback. Terje Østigård, Linnaeus University 

14.00 Panel: The Viking age in popular culture: “fake” history? Peter Bøttinger (moderator, Vestfoldmuseene) Stefan Nyzell, Adam Kelly, Fredrik Bjønnes, Rune Rasmussen 

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    Adam Kelly
  • 2/4
    Rune Blix Hagen
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    Bjørn Bandlien
  • 4/4
    Terje Østigård

About the Wednesday speakers

Adam Kelly 

Adam Kelly is a doctoral researcher at the University of Oxford, where he works on the benefits of melancholy in the Middle Ages. He specialises in Old and Middle English literature. He’s been obsessed with heavy music for as long as he can remember. 

Rune Blix Hagen 

Rune Blix Hagen is a specialist in witchcraft and has published several books on the topic. He was also central in the anarchist movement in Northern Norway in the 70s, and has an interview with the one and only Lemmy on his CV.  

Bjørn Bandlien 

Bjørn Bandlien is the local, award-winning history professor down the road from Midgard Viking Centre. Immensely productive, he has published a long list of books on a wide variety of themes like gender and masculinity, identity, kings and queens, love and marriage. 

Terje Østigård 

Terje Østigård has been intrigued with the theme of death in general in his career, and more specifically cremation. In recent years, he has been focusing on how water and frozen winter landscapes have been defining northern societies. As an archaeologist he has work all over the world, Egypt, Nepal, Palestine, Tanzania, Norway and more. 

Rune Hjarnø Rasmussen 

He has lived in several countries in Europe, Africa, North- and South America. He works to revitalize animist knowledge and practice to recover land-connectedness, ecological knowledge and kinship with a greater community of beings.  

Thursday August 15th

About the Thursday program (Midgard Talks)

In our first talk today we go north, to explore the Sami people and their role in the Viking age. 

Do we know anything about their religious practises? We stay north in the next talk but go some hundred years ahead to the worst witch hunt in Europe, the witch trials of Finnmark in the 1600s. What were the evidence for sorcery and how is Shamanism a part of the story? 

In the last two talks we explore how oral myths transform through time. Can they keep their core after being handed down hundreds of years? What happens when the old tale of Beowulf is used in modern art and popular culture? And then, what can the stars tell us? 

Our last talk today suggests that the constellations in the sky may reinforce the old myths from the Eddic poetry. The finishing touch today is a panel on spirituality and magical practises. What do we know about them in the past: the Vikings, the Sami and the witches? And does the old rituals and practises live on in the present? 

We are joined by Professor Jone Salomonsen, a specialist on feminist neo-paganism, as well as Marte Spangen and Rune Blix Hagen. 

The audience is as always welcome to join in on the discussion. 


10.00 The Sami and Saami religion in the Viking Age. Marte Spangen, Museum of Cultural History, Oslo 

11.00 Sorcery and Shamanism in the witch trials of Arctic Norway, 1593 to 1692.  Rune Blix Hagen, University of Tromsø 

12.00 Grendel's Hoard: On History, Truth, and Fiction in Adapting Beowulf as an Art Project. Stefan Nyzell, Malmö University 

13.00 The sagas are in earth as the Edda is in heaven: How the vikings orientated themselves in the world. Gísli Sigurdsson, Árni Magnússon Institute, Iceland 

14.00: Panel: Spirituality and magical practises - past and present. Vicky Mikalsen (moderator), Rune Blix Hagen, Jone Salomonsen, Marte Spangen 

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    Marte Spangen
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    Rune Blix Hagen
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    Stefan Nyzell
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    Gísli Sigurdsson

About the Thursdays speakers

Marte Spangen

Marte Spangen works at the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo as an associate professor in Nordic iron age archaeology. Her specialty is Saami archaeology and Saami offering sites. She is currently working on metal detecting finds and citizen science. 

Rune Blix Hagen

Rune Blix Hagen is a retired history professor and specialist in witchcraft. He has published several books on the topic. He was also central in the anarchist movement in Northern Norway in the 70s, and has an interview with the one and only Lemmy on his CV.  

Stefan Nyzell 

Nyzell is a history professor at Malmö university. He has published books on Viking re-enactment and Beowulf. He also has a general interest in the uses of cultural history and the history of Scandinavian police history.  

Gísli Sigurdsson

Gísli Sigurðsson is a professor at the Árni Magnússon Institute where a lot of the old manuscripts of the Eddas and Sagas are kept. He has worked on different subject connected to the eddas and Sagas, among them on Gaelic influence in Iceland. He has also curated exhibitions.  

Friday August 16th

About the Friday program (Midgard Talks)

It is tempting to name todays program after the Red Hot Chilli Peppers album: Blood Sugar Sex Magic – read from bottom up.  

Prepare for a fun and gory day exploring the eccentric tales of the Viking past. We start off with magical encounters, were-whales, sex and magic. Then we learn about the Viking way around nature before it all escalates in bloodshed. Did it really happen? The human sacrifices in Uppsala? 

As a dessert after these fine courses, we offer a panel where we ask: are the sources lying to us? Are the stories too good and gory to be true? In this critical look on our Viking past we have invited today’s speakers, as well as phd candidate Josh Rood to explore the question. 

Our wonderful audience is invited to ask all the questions everybody itches to ask.  


10.00 The mystical far north: Magical encounters on the Artic edge of the Viking world. Lionel Perabo, Sorbonne Université 

11.00 Sex and the supernatural in Old Norse literature. Grace O’Duffy, Oxford University 

12.00 Viking plants as sources to cultural practice. Karoline Kjesrud, Museum of Cultural history, Oslo 

13:00 Bloodletting, bodies in trees, bears and bullshit - can we believe Adam of Bremen's account of the pagan sacrifices at Uppsala in the eleventh century? Tim Bolton, Cambridge University 

14.00 Panel: A supernatural past? Are the sources lying to us? Karoline Kjesrud (moderator), Lionel Perabo, Grace O’Duffy, Tim Bolton, Josh Rood 

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    Lyonel Perabo
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    Grace O'Duffy
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    Karoline Kjesrud
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    Josh Rood

About the Friday speakers

Lyonel Perabo 

Is based in Tromsø in Arctic Norway. He has an MA in Old Norse Religion from the University of Iceland and is currently a phd candidate in Germanic studies (focusing on the Prose Edda) at the Sorbonne University of Paris. 

Grace O’Duffy 

Is a phd student at the University of Oxford and is specialising on violence in Old Norse literature. She challenges her academic field to tackle ‘difficult’, ‘taboo’ or ‘sensitive’ topics. She has also co-created a medievalist network to support researchers who may suffer from engagement with such topics.  

Karoline Kjesrud 

Karoline Kjesrud works as an associate professor at the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo. She works interdisciplinary within the fields of philology and art history. Currently she is part of a research project on Nordic people and plants, and another project, REA:life where the aim is to rediscover cultural historical heritage to innovative pharmaceuticals. She has also curated exhibitions, like the current ARV at the Historical Museum in Oslo.  

Tim Bolton 

Has an MA in Viking studies from the University in Oslo, and his phd from Cambridge University. Yale university press published his biography about the Danish King Cnut, and to great acclaim. He has since become an international expert on medieval manuscripts, and has among others, worked for Sotheby’s.  

Josh Rood 

Josh Rood is doing a phd on modern Åsatru in Iceland, the US and Norway. He is also a musician and a ritual performer. He recently published a book on Åsatru in Thailand. 

Saturday August 17th

About the Saturday program (Midgard Talks)

The iconic boat graves from Oseberg and Gokstad have impressed the world, but little attention has been given the sledges in the graves. 

Our first talk on the last day will reveal how new research has shed light on burial customs, including the Ship mound at Borre. Speaking of ships graves! How excited are you about the new Viking ship museum under construction? We will get inside information about the new exhibitions and the ideas behind them. 

After, the ship sails to Ireland. Ireland has an important place in the Viking saga, and we will hear all about it. We tie the day up with stitches. How can we interpret the beautifully woven Oseberg tapestry, and can digital methods help us? 

The last panel of the year discuss the lates Viking discoveries. New technology and chance finds make it to international headlines. What have the researchers been most enthusiastic about? What made you excited? 

Feel free to share.  


10.00 Buried in sledges – new light on Viking age burials. Ragnar Orten Lie, Vestfold County Municipality 

11.00 A few of my favourite things. A tour through the new exhibitions at the Museum of the Viking Age. Ellen Marie Næss, Museum of Cultural history, Oslo 

12.00 The Vikings and the Irish. Caitlin Ellis, University of Oslo 

13.00 Tracing Threads - Digital illustration as a new method for re-interpreting the Oseberg tapestry fragments.  Margrethe Havgar, Museum of Cultural History, Oslo 

14.00 Panel: What’s the hottest Viking news? Easy-going and informative on the latest Viking news.  

Margrethe Havgar (moderator), Benjamin Raffield, Ragnar Orten Lie, Ellen Marie Næss, Caitlin Ellis  

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    Ragnar Orten Lie
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    Ellen Marie Næss
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    Caitlin Ellis
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    Margrethe Havgar
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    Benjamin Raffield

About the Saturday speakers

Ragnar Orten Lie 

He has background from archaeology and history of religion and works as a project coordinator for the Vestfold County council. His main project Vikingveien, has the aim to promote and develop numerous Viking sites from the mountains in Telemark to the coast of Vestfold. Museums and volunteers are involved in the work.  It is a goal to become a European Viking Cultural Route. 

Ellen Marie Næss 

She is an archaeologist, and her daily work is to plan dissemination and new exhibitions for the Museum of Cultural history which is part of the University of Oslo. Since 2006 she has created new exhibitions and dissemination at the Viking Ship Museum. She is also a consultant on Viking history for the online dictionary Store Norske Leksikon. Apart from that she has a black belt in karate. 

Caitlin Ellis 

Is a historian examining medieval Scandinavia, Britain, Ireland and the North Atlantic, where her interest has been the cross-cultural relations and maritime networks. She has had several scholarships at renowned research institutions in Iceland, Ireland and Sweden. She has also taught at the universities Maynooth in Ireland and Durham, Oxford, East Anglia and Cambridge in Britain. 

Margrethe Havgar 

Is phd at the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo, and part of an interdisciplinary team researching the Oseberg textiles. She has worked at the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo, been involved with the Gjellestad ship project, and coordinated the Heritage Experience Initiative (HEI) at the University of Oslo. Currently, she is a host for the Nordic Mythology podcast.  

Benjamin Raffield 

His primary research interest is the study of military organization and conflict in various social, political, and religious contexts. He is currently conducting research on slavery and social inequality in Viking-Age Scandinavia. 

Download the program (pdf-file)

  • David Thiérrée.

Midgard Talks – official artist 2024

David Thiérrée has delivered a commissioned work for Midgard Talks 2024. The illustration is inspired by the story of Torbjørg Lillevolve in the Saga of Eirik the Red. You can buy prints at the Midgard Viking Centre store. 

Thiérrée is a French artist born in 1970. He is self-taught and works and lives in Brittany. Since 1989, he has made artwork for metal bands worldwide. Among some he has worked for Behemoth, Nocturno Culto, Mortiss, Ihsahn, Primordial and many more. He has also done fantasy illustrations, and his works have been featured in numerous exhibitions, books and magazines. 

He has contributed to a fantasy miniatures game, and ha published two art books by Cult Never Dies in 2011 and 2017. He was honoured with a Froud award in 2008. He also illustrated the Mimir Talks seminars during Midgardsblot 2019. 

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Other experiences and events:

Guided Tours – Midgard Viking Centre 

Wednesday – Saturday, starting from the main entrance of Midgard Viking Centre: 

12.00 The Gravemounds 

13.00 The Museum Exhibition 

14.00 The Gravemounds 

Ticket: Free with a museum ticket, festival wristband or Midgard Talks ticket. 

Saturday Playground – Midgard Viking Centre 

10-16 Try out Viking archery and crafts. 

Ticket: TBA.


1230 The Battle of Iceland - is an interactive and immersive historical experience that brings you into the middle of Viking battles and historical events. Take part in Iceland’s history through virtual reality. Step back in time and fight alongside the Vikings. 

Ticket: TBA.

Explore Edvard Munch

Friday August 16th at 12.00 Meet up outside Midgard Viking Centre.  

Learn about the life of the renowned painter Edvard Munch, known for his dramatic “Scream” painting. Munch spent a lot of time in the picturesque town Åsgårdstrand where he painted some of his most famous paintings. We walk through the Fjugstad forest to Åsgårdstrand. 

Ticket: 300 Nkr. 

Guided tour of Munch’s House

Where: Edvard Munchs gate 25, 3179 Åsgårdstrand 

  • Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday 11.00-17.00  

  • Guided tours at the house: Tuesday – Sunday 12:30, 15.00 and 16.00 

  • A walk in Munch’s footprints, starting from Munch’s house. Tuesday – Sunday 11.15 and 13.30 

  • Digital experience and museum shop: 11.30-17.30 

Guided tours at Slottsfjellsmuseet 

Where: Farmannsveien 30, Tønsberg 

Opening hours: Monday - Wednesday 11-16, Thursday 11-19, Friday - Sunday 11.00-16.00

Guided tours – every day:

  • 11.30 World War II bunker 

  • 12.00 The Castle ruins 

  • 13.30 The Exhibitions 

  • 14.30 World War II bunker 

  • 15.00 The Castle ruins 

Green Vikings

Our “Green Viking” courses are designed to teach practical skills known from the Viking Age, but also how to use and reuse materials you may have in your home or garden. Experience the joy of DIY the Viking way!

5-hour courses:

These courses offer two different designs (see photos).

Monday August 12th at 11.00 – 16.00

Design 1: Learn how to make your own coiled basket. We provide the materials, and you get enough to finish your creation if you run out of time. Capacity: 11-16 people.

Tuesday august 13th at 11.00 – 16.00

Design 2: Learn how to make your own coiled basket. We provide the materials, and you get enough to finish your creation if you run out of time. Capacity: 11-16 people.

Ticket 550 Nkr

3-hour courses:

Wednesday August 14th at 11.00 – 14.00:  learn the looping technique and make your own small bag for toiletries or water bottles. We provide string of hemp or flax, that you use for your creation, and you get enough to finish it at home if you are not done. Capacity: 8 people.

Thursday August 15th at 11.00 – 14.00: learn the looping technique and make your own small bag for toiletries or water bottles. We provide string of hemp or flax, that you use for your creation, and you get enough to finish it at home if you are not done. Capacity: 8 people.

Ticket: 320 Nkr

About Midgardsblot

Midgardsblot er en utendørsfestival fra 14.- 17. august 2024 ved Midgard vikingsenter, Borre. 

Festivalen går inn i sitt tiende år, og med 10.000 besøkende over fire dager, har Midgardsblot tatt steget frem som en av de større festivalene i Norge. Festivalen har det største internasjonale publikummet hvor nærmere 50% kommer fra utlandet for å feire norsk vikingkultur, oppleve verdensledende band innen metal, folk- og urmusikk, pop, rock og beslektede sjangre i et unikt område full av vikinghistorie og norsk folklore.

Midgardsblot har med sitt unike festivalkonsept blitt et «bucket list» fenomen hvor folk stadig vender tilbake og og har vokst med omtrent 30% økning i publikum hvert år. Festivalen har blitt den viktigste kanalen til utlandet for formidling av norsk musikk, kultur og vikinghistorie og gjort at turistene strømmer til Vestfold.

Festivalen byr på berikende kulturopplevelser og kunnskap om vår vikingtid i tillegg til et bredt konsertprogram. Midgardsblot har vikinglandsby hvor publikum kan reise over 1000 år tilbake i tid og besøke smed, treskjærere smykkekunstnere og en ekte viking hær blant annet. På dagtid er det Midgards Talks på Midgard Vikingsenter med seminarer og paneldebatter hvor de største navnene innen vikingtidsforskningen står i kø for å få holde foredrag på festivalen og det forskes nå på fenomenet Midgardsblot, som har opparbeidet seg status som en tungvekter i formidling av vikinghistorien og norsk musikk ut til det store utland.

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Museum24:Portal - 2024.06.11
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