Norway

Norway: Quest for the Viking Spirit (Adventures With Purpose)

A thousand years ago Vikings set out from the fjords of Norway striking fear across Europe. Yet today this ruggedly beautiful country is the home of the Nobel Peace Center, of explorers and adventure travelers and one of the most eco-friendly countries on earth. Bangs’ quest is to discover how such a progressive nation grew from such a violent past—if modern Norway is a result of its Viking heritage or a reaction to it. This time Richard’s adventures take him the length of Norway on a Quest for the Viking Spirit.

In 793 AD long ships with dragon-headed bows and square sails crossed the North Sea and landed on England’s shore. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, “The ravages of heathen men miserably destroyed God’s church on Lindesfarne.” Since that time the name “Viking” has been synonymous with pirates, violence and terror.

But today modern Norwegians are active in peace and conflict resolution on a global scale. Norwegian women have one of the highest political participation rates and are active in gender equality issues worldwide. Norway is proud of its successful ecology efforts at home and actively supports ecology solutions in developing countries.

So why is there such a discrepancy between the ancient stereotype of marauding pirates and modern, civilized Norway? The Viking age ended over a thousand years ago. So why does it still resonate today? Could it be a romantic revision of a grisly past or cynical pandering to a growing tourist trade? In this documentary special Bangs explores the Viking Spirit and how it survives today in modern Norway.

Quest for the Viking Spirit begins in Oslo and travels to the extreme northern tip of Norway with stops in Alta, Kirkenes and Lofotr. Like early Vikings we sail from Tromsø down the western cost and experiences the beauty and majesty of the mountains and fjords with stops in Trondheim, Bergen, Flam and Sognefjord before returning to Oslo.

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