Credit: Gareth Kelly

What do Lego, Thursday, and going berserk all have in common? They’re all Danish! Lego was invented in Denmark, Thursday owes its origin to the Danish god Thor(sday), and going berserk is a reference to the famously naked and bloodthirsty Viking warriors.

Such information and more can be found at the new Solvang Amber & Viking Museum located in The Copenhagen House in Solvang — the Danish capital of America. The museum, located within the building’s former bank vault, complete with an impressively thick door, is guarded by an 800-pound, 10-foot-tall wooden sculpture of the Danish mythical hero Holger Danske, one of only two such sculptures outside of Denmark. 

Credit: Gareth Kelly

Inside the museum, visitors step back in time — more than 1,000 years in the past — and view ancient Viking artifacts such as three swords dating back to 800-950 AD, arrowheads, coins depicting the god Odin, burial urns, and even a first edition of Gesta Danorum — “Deeds of Danes” — printed in 1575. There’s even a life-size berserker figure wearing little else but a shield for protection.

“The artifacts are truly unique to this Danish-settled town — which is, in and of itself, unique,” said ElseMarie Lund, Manager of The Copenhagen House. “Our Viking history is ingrained in Danish culture, and this enhanced exhibit gives us an avenue for educating visitors about our storied past.”

Also on display are many amber artifacts. Jewelry, stones, and trinkets feature this precious commodity highly prized in Viking culture and still sought-after in modern-day Denmark. There’s even a nod to the role amber played in the Jurassic Park movie with a velociraptor head leaping from the wall as well as details of amber’s geographic origins and even fake pieces to test your powers of deduction. 

Museum curator and real-life Dane Rene Kaerskov hopes to continue adding to the museum. “There’s few genuine Viking artifacts outside of Denmark, but I hope to find some more items such as swords and helmets and possibly even a replica Viking longboat,” he said.

For more information, visit

Support the Santa Barbara Independent through a long-term or a single contribution.


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.