Double Success for Viking Cultural Route

The team at JORVIK Viking Centre is celebrating double success for an international partnership that is encouraging Viking-themed cultural tourism around the Viking World.  JORVIK is a key part of the Destination Viking Association, which has just received major recognition in Europe.

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For the last thirty years the Council of Europe has promoted its shared European values through a series of thematic and geographical routes which bring together organisations across Europe. The Viking route promotes the rich culture of the Viking period and seeks to raise awareness of their impact in terms of trade, influence, craftsmanship and above all their superb ship-building and navigation skills that took them across most of Europe.

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The Carlos V Foundation based in Spain has just awarded the Cultural Routes Programme its most prestigious prize. Presented on Europe Day (May 8) by the current King of Spain at a special ceremony in the ancient Monastery of Juste near Madrid, the prize recognises the contribution the Cultural Routes make to European culture and identity. The Destination Viking Association (DVA) was represented at the ceremony by one of its local members in Spain, the Council of Catoira, showing that the Vikings travelled and traded widely beyond their Scandinavian heartland.

In the same week the Governing Body of the Enlarged Partial Agreement of the Council of Europe confirmed that DVA was being re-accredited as the guardian and manager of the Viking Route of European Cultural Heritage for the next three years. The Association brings together museums, universities, tourism bodies, local municipalities and commercial companies to promote the Vikings and the contribution they made to European Heritage. It has recently delivered a major trans-national project under the European Union’s Creative Europe Programme to bring together cultural professionals, creative performers and young people. A series of roadshows, organised by York Archaeological Trust, who own and manage the JORVIK Viking Centre,  were performed in locations in Poland, Spain, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Scotland, Ireland, before completing the tour in York with a live son-et-lumière performance, including international performers and local dance troops, following the JORVIK Viking Festival in February.

“The continued popularity of the JORVIK Viking Centre shows the public enthusiasm for all things Norse, and it is wonderful that we’ve been able to play a part in making Destination Viking Association such a success across Europe.  We are very much looking forward to sharing our messages over the next three years,” comments director of attractions for The JORVIK Group, Sarah Maltby, who also sits on the Destination Viking Association Board.

The Destination Viking Association is the largest grouping of its kind in Europe and the accreditation by the Council of Europe involved an extensive independent review of its activities and visits by the assessor to several members’ sites. The review board specifically visited JORVIK earlier this year to understand the impact that they are making within the Museum community promoting the Viking era, and were very impressed by all they saw and heard. It is an important mark of the quality and importance of the Route which will give confidence to the public, governments, and other professional agencies.

The Chairman of the Destination Viking Association, Edmund Southworth, is the Director of the national heritage agency for the Isle of Man, located in the Irish Sea. It was an important location in the Viking and Norse period and is still rich in archaeological sites and Viking visitor attractions.

Edmund Southworth said “It has been a great honour for the Destination Viking Association to receive these two awards so close together. It demonstrates that the rich legacy of the Vikings is still highly relevant today. At one level Viking-related museums and tourist attractions contribute greatly to tourism across Europe. Between them, DVA members attract millions of visitors and create a significant number of jobs. But the association also promotes research and learning. One of the most rewarding activities DVA has done recently has been bringing young people together across Europe to perform music and dance inspired by the tales of Viking gods and heroes.”