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The Viking year of 2001

DEAR VIKING FRIENDS

Yet another Viking season has passed. For many of us, this means five months of winter doze, for some of us it means time for making new equipment and for others there will be time for making some new exciting Viking products for the future summer season.

Here at Foteviken, we are busy working with different matters even during the cold winter. We have rebuilt and altered our restaurant and built a new wooden floor in Valhalla. All this will be ready in December, in time for The Midwinter blot. The houses of Sven the Juror, Öivind the Carpenter and Per Jarl in The Viking Reserve are being completed at the same time. The interior decoration of the houses, takes a lot of time to be completed, but one can see some good results already. A minor house next to Thinghöll will hopefully also be ready in time for the season. This house is to be used as a farm building in connection with The Thinghöll. However we must not forget our other building schemes, The Guild of Balder, Alf the Brewer and Harold the Merchant are all busy building houses of their own.


A summary of the summer shows a lot of good results. The Viking groups of Foteviken have visited many of the fantastic Viking markets in Europe. The last trip went to Belgium in September.

The summer at Foteviken has been exciting and rewarding. A training camp for fighters and archers was arranged as usual. The traditional ceremony on the shore was of course carried out, in honour of the fallen soldiers in The Battle of Foteviken. A couple of hundred Viking fighters participated in the activities during this weekend.

It is also our hope, that The Viking Market Week of Foteviken was appreciated. It was unfortunately not possible for us, to control the weather. During Saturday night, the rain was pouring down. The Gods seemed to want to have it this way. The plans for the gathering around the great bonfire with singing, dancing, music and storytelling in The Viking Reserve, had to be abandoned. However the bad weather may have resulted in that some people did not have such a memorable headache during the Sunday, when the weather was sunny again.

This year, it was our intention to limit the Viking market to a maximum of 350 participants. It very soon turned out that nearly everybody presumed they were among the chosen ones. After some meetings with a large number of Vikings from different countries, it was decided that everybody who wanted to, was invited to come and participate in the Viking market. The regulations of Foteviken were followed, these regulations says, "The Viking Reserve of Foteviken is founded for all Vikings."

We felt assured that all the Vikings would keep their promises, assist us during the market and be indulgent towards us if some mistakes were made in the organization of the market activities. The cook had prepared food for slightly more than 600 Vikings. However in the end, he had to improvise and 650 portions were served. Our innkeeper's cook was working for the first time during a Viking market and by mistake a queue arose! This must of course not happen! The queue became very long and stretched away across the entire Viking Reserve. If our guests had not had the opportunity to drink the homemade and exotic wine of Foteviken, the risk for many Vikings going berserk was obvious.


This year it was decided that an entire Viking week, ending with the market during the weekend, was to be arranged. All you Vikings could arrive when you wanted to. An important fact for us in the organization of this market, was to extend the arrangement, in order to make it possible for Vikings from near and far, to get to know each other better. To gather only for a couple of days during the market, could be rather stressful. It is our intention that The Viking Reserve of Foteviken should serve as a special meeting place for all established Vikings.

We think it is important to offer handicraft-training courses. The Museum of Foteviken organises the training courses and administrates the applications. The actual training courses are organised by the teachers or training course leaders. The courses are their personal responsibility. The Museum of Foteviken does not claim any fees or profit for this service. All the receipts from the training courses fall to the share of the training course teacher. We were happy to see that the training courses had almost no vacancies left this year.

The solemn inauguration of The Thinghöll during the evening of June 28th was a magnificent manifestation of the international Viking congregation. There were 66 Viking leaders from 23 different countries present, inside The Thinghöll, during the inauguration. At 7.28pm The Law of Foteviken was passed and accepted and the large drinking horn was passed round the tables. Earlier during this day, several of the Viking groups had handed over their coat-of-arms, in order for them to be permanently hanged on the walls inside of The Thinghöll. Today there are 19 coat-of-arms in The Thinghöll. In order to be given permission to have a coat-of-arms in Thinghöll, you have to be a well organised, seriously working Viking group and you have to accept and obey The Law of Foteviken.


Many Vikings participated in the different competitions as usually. There were quite a lot of different competitions and I personally found a bit stressful sometimes. The chiefs according to tradition appointed "The Viking of the year". The winner was Jimmy Nielsen from The Halfdanes. Lennart Nilsson from The Scanian Archer Guild became "The archer of the year". Jimmy Nielsen won the tossing the caber competition; Andreas Larsson from Lundi won the arse hook competition and Jonas Hedlund from The Rans won the axe throwing competition. Jerry Judge of The Jomsvikings won the fighter competition.

Johan Bertilsson won once again the popular competition The Viking Run. This means that Johan has two victories inscribed on the beautiful drinking horn, which is the challenge trophy of this particular competition. If Johan wins next year, he will have three victories and the challenge trophy will become his forever. Now it is up to all Vikings to train for The Viking Run of 2002. We also have to tell that Robert Dahlstroem finished last and he was also the last Viking to leave the water as usual.

The new, big event during the market was the attack on the village. We were surprised how easy it was to get thousands of spectators, accompanied by children and dogs to go up on the defence earthwork. The attack and the defence turned into a fabulous battle and spectacle. When the craftsmen, women and children started to defend themselves with buckets filled with water and ladles, it was not an easy task to be a successful fighter. I would also like to thank everybody, who participated in the planning and carrying through of this arrangement.

Another one of the highlights, which really fulfils our hopes for The Viking Reserve, is all the Vikings, who have been staying and living, alone or with their families, in our village during the entire summer season. Vikings from many different countries have been staying in the village, some for a couple of days, others for weeks. It has been quite an international meeting place. Visiting Vikings has been living in our houses, in tents of their own or in our tents. They have taken part in all sorts of activities, like sailing, rowing, working with different handicrafts, selling their products, helping the house builders and voluntarily helping the native villagers carry out their daily business.


Of course there have been some troubles as well. The toilets are one of the big problems. Currently, we are rebuilding one of our buildings (the red brick-stone house) and in the basement several new toilets and showers for both men and women will be installed. Valhalla is altered and the kitchen is also rebuilt. Hopefully this will prevent queues and other problems during next season.

On behalf of all Fotevikings ... thanks for this year and see you all in 2002!

Björn

Finally, there is a little something for you to dwell upon. I know that our beakers are nice to use. The only problem is that these beakers tend to get lost. They are used in the entire Viking Reserve and it is easy to bring them back home by mistake. We would be very happy if you who have borrowed some beakers could return them in 2002. The same thing goes for our grey blankets. These are very nice and cosy to use in The Viking Reserve. If anybody by mistake has brought some of them home, we would be happy if you would return them as well in 2002. We need to wash them.

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