absolutely intercultural 66 +++ Vikings +++ living in the past +++ battle recreation +++ Crusades +++ learning from history +++

An atypical Viking

Today’s show is about people who live in the past, more specifically about those who live as Vikings for one week in the year or every summer weekend depending on their role. What makes them prefer the Viking era over any other? How authentically do they try to live the Viking lifestyle? Is there anything we can learn from this living tableau?

We’re going to the Mosegaard Viking Moot, a gathering of people from all over the world who just want to be Vikings. Every year at the end of July, just south of Aarhus, the Vikings meet to show off their horsemanship, their handicrafts and their fighting skills for a week. People live as Vikings, more or less, and at the weekend the public are invited to join in. Since I have been enjoying this for many years I decided that this year I would be brave and approach some of these warriors, feisty women and well-travelled minstrels to try and find out what makes ordinary people try to step into such a faraway culture so completely.

absolutely historical:
I spoke to Peter Hambro Mikkelsen at the Mosegaard Museum to get some background to the event and only then did I find out how special the Mosegaard Moot really is!

absolutely homely:
Now let’s hear from some of the enthusiasts who live as Vikings. First I talked to Grethe, a conscientious Viking woman who makes all her own clothes and who comes to Mosegaard with her husband who is a horseman.

absolutely exotic:
As I was wandering round the encampment, buying pancakes and roasted meat and getting smoke in my eyes, my gaze was inexorably drawn to a very exotic looking person even by Viking standards: This turned out to be the alter ego Ibn Fadhlan who revealed his Arabic roots and recommended the 2005 film ‘Kingdom of  Heaven’ as a fair representation of the Crusades story.

absolutely violent:
Then I could put it off no longer; I simply had to gather all my courage and nail down one of the warriors to find out what made them come from all over Europe and beyond to fight. I’d always been intrigued by the number of English voices I’d heard on the battlefield over the years so I made sure that it was a Briton that I talked with. The voice belongs to Ian Judd or Gunnar as he is known in Viking circles.


absolutely historical:

Finally we return to Peter Mikkelsen from the Museum to find out if there is anything we can learn through these cultural recreations. This leads to an interesting parallel between how there was class distinction even in death in the Viking era but that the same distinction was made during the Falklands War when privates were buried in a mass grave on the Islands while the fallen officers were flown home. Peter ends with a powerful anecdote about the strength of the Viking identity.


You can find more pictures of the Moot here.

The next show will be coming to you on 2 October from Dr. Laurent Borgmann in Germany.

So long…stay tuned!

The host of this show is:  Anne Fox in Denmark

absolutely intercultural 60 +++ diamond jubilee +++ Aarhus +++ Turkey +++ educational systems +++ Jessie Dunford Wood +++ Language Lab +++

BrydlydmurenWelcome to the 60th show of Absolutely Intercultural, the podcast about all things inter-cultural. In many cultures, 60 of anything marks a celebration. For example if you have been married for 60 years then that is your diamond jubilee and everybody has to give you diamonds!

absolutely vocational: Firstly we go to the closing event of a European project, Brydlydmuren, (break the sound barrier) all about using sound in vocational education. Students had done all sorts of sound-related work including a collaborative project with a university in Turkey. This final event took place in a large hall in the city of Aarhus and included displays and experiences such as a blind restaurant, which is where you eat in complete darkness so that your other senses come to the fore. One of the events was a Skype video conference with the Turkish university.

absolutely culinary: I attended a chat show featuring one of Britain’s celebrity chefs, Jessie Dunford Wood. This was another of the events offered by Language Lab, the online language school based in Second Life. One of the attractions of going to these events is that you can participate by asking questions yourself. So what comes to mind when you hear the phrase British food? Would you go to a British restaurant for a special treat?

In the second extract from the Jessie Dunford Wood session we hear about the difference between a chef and a cook and why the athletes had to bring their own food to the London Olympics in 1948. In the podcast I promised you could see a memo written at the time by British civil servants who were checking on how the different national teams were coping with their British food rations.  One I particularly liked was about the Mexican team. The civil servants noted that ‘the habit of regarding food as a precious commodity was foreign’ to the Mexican. See the memo here.

The next show will be coming to you on 11 July from Dr. Laurent Borgmann  at RheinAhrCampus in Germany.

So long…stay tuned!

The host of this show is: Anne Fox
Editor: Peter Kron