Tonsberg, Medieval Festival

Tønsberg Medieval Festival
Tønsberg Middelalderfestival
Tønsberg (Vestfold county)


one of the largest historical festivals in the Nordic Countries with joy, music, drama and lots of impressions in a unique setting. A time travel back to the Viking Age, the glorious period when the Norwegian kingdom's powerhouse was in Tønsberg…


Geographical, cultural and historical context

Tønsberg lies on the western coast of the Oslofjord near its mouth onto the Skagerrak, at about 102km from the capital city Oslo, in the Vestfold county of Southern Norway. Tønsberg is generally regarded as the oldest town in Norway and one of the oldest of the whole Scandinavia: according to Snorri Sturluson (1179-1241 AD, an Icelandic historian, poet, and politician), Tønsberg was founded during the Viking Age before the Battle of Hafrsfjord, a great naval battle fought in Hafrsfjord in year 871 AD, that resulted in the unification of Norway: the victorious Viking chief Harald Fairhair (c.850-c.932 AD), proclaimed himself the first king of the Norwegians by name Harald I of Norway. The archaeological excavations conducted in the late 1980s revealed several Viking graves which have served to confirm the earlier age of the original settlement. Besides, the greatest evidence of town’s significant Viking heritage is represented by the world wide famous Oseberg ship, found in a burial mound in 1904. A true archaeological full-scale copy of the ship is today moored in Tønsberg harbour.

Tønsberg has long been an important trading center, as well as the site of the Haugating, the Thing (Viking assembly) for Vestfold and one of Norway's most important places for the proclamation of kings. In the 13th century, King Haakon Haakonson (1204-1263 AD, also known as Haakon the Old or Haakon IV) built a castle in Tønsberg, the Tønsberg Fortress, or Castrum Tunsbergis, which defended the town for over 300 year being also greatly expanded with large walls, towers, residential halls and a church. The town was destroyed by fire in 1536, but Tønsberg remained one of the most important harbour towns in Norway. Only a few ruins of the fortress remain today. The modern-day tower Slottsfjellet (Castle Mountain), standing on the hill north of the city centre and overlooking one of the Scandinavia’s largest ruin site, was raised in 1888 as a memorial of the historic fortress. The tower and the Slottsfjell Museum, located below the mountain, host a permanent exhibition devoted to the cultural history of Tønsberg and Vestfold with particular, emphasis placed on whaling and shipping, urban and rural history.

Event description and programme

Every year in May Tønsberg host one of the Nordic region's largest historical festivals the Tønsberg Medieval Festival attracting an average of about 10,000 visitors every year. Visitors of all ages to travel back into the city of the 13th century to meet artisans and shopkeepers, knights and ladies, troubadours and jugglers. The programme of the event is rich for activities, displays and shows for all the family. The medieval market provides the chance to learn more about the medieval crafts and goods, while the Grand Parade through the city features knights, the Queen and her court, common citizens, Vikings and shamans. Moreover, several lectures and talks on the local history and the Viking Age, as well as storytelling, archery, knights’ tournaments are included in the programme. Special activities and games are designed for children, and the evening is animated by medieval entertainment: dance and music performance, theatre and puppet shows.

Please contact the Organizers for confirmation and further details.

Info & Contact

Organization: Tønsberg Middelalderfestival
Address: Slottsfjellet (Castle Rock), Tønsberg, Vestfold county, Norway
Tel.: +47 91000803

Tønsberg Town Council / Tønsberg Kommune
Address: Postboks 2410, 3104 Tønsberg, Norway
Address: Halfdan Wilhelmsens allé 1 C, 3104 Tønsberg, Norway
Tel.: +47 33348000

Image: Tønsberg Middelalderfestival
Text: Tønsberg Middelalderfestival, Wikipedia, Visit Norway, Visit Vestfold

Tønsberg and the Slottsfjellet on Google Maps:



Video reportages and promos of the event: 




Visiting Tønsberg:




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