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The History of the Viking Congress

The history of the Viking Congress goes back to 1946 when the idea was conceived by Robert Bruce, when he was Area Officer in Aberdeen of the British Council. It was pursued by his successor Mr. A. C. Davis. The working title for the first congress was Scoto-Scandinavian Conference, which was changed to the Viking Congress at the suggestion of Eric Linklater.

The first Viking Congress was held at Lerwick, Shetland as a joint effort by the British Council and the University of Aberdeen.

The Viking Congresses are multinational, interdisciplinary conferences within Viking Age studies. Viking Congresses have been held on a three- to four-year basis since 1950, by turns in Scandinavia and the Britain/Ireland. The objective of the conferences is to create a common forum for the most current research and theories within Viking Age studies, and to enhance communication and collaboration between leading scholars within the field, crossing geographical and disciplinary borders. The main disciplines are archaeology, history, numismatics, philology, name-studies and runology. The official language of the conference is English (also Welsh for 2022).

Besides the academic emphasis an important part of the conference has always been to introduce the participants to the hosting country and its culture. Therefore, excursions to museums and significant cultural sites have played an important role.

The logo of the Viking Congress


…was adopted at the fifth congress in the Faroes. Known in the Faroes as a held (Icelandic: högld), it is a ring made of a locked loop of ram’s horn. It was, and still is, used for a number of purposes, but chiefly as a loop attached to a rope and used when carrying hay.

Earlier Congresses

Viking Congress 2017Denmark
Viking Congress 2013Shetland
Viking Congress 2009Reykjavik and Reykholt, Iceland
Viking Congress 2005Cork, Ireland
Viking Congress 2001Faroe Islands
Viking Congress 1997Nottingham and York
Viking Congress 1993Hässelby slott, Sweden
Viking Congress 1989Caithness and Orkney
Viking Congress 1985Larkollen, Norway
Viking Congress 1981Isle of Man
Viking Congress 1977Århus, Denmark
Viking Congress 1973Dublin, Ireland
Viking Congress 1969Uppsala Dalarna, Sweden
Viking Congress 1965Tórshavn, Faroe Islands
Viking Congress 1961York, England
Viking Congress 1956Reykjavík, Iceland
Viking Congress 1953Bergen, Norway
Viking Congress 1950Lerwick, Shetland