The Viking Information Center of Den Oever is urgently looking for volunteers. Keeping the only Viking center in the Netherlands open depends on it. The illustrious period of the former island attracts many visitors to Den Oever, but who will help tell that history?
The Viking Information Center, right at the entrance to the village, has been around for almost twenty years and has become best known since the discovery in 1996 of a special Viking treasure on Wieringen. This turned out to be of international importance. The center now also has one of the largest collections of reference works on the Vikings and archaeological finds. “To be proud of,” says Maartje Burghout of the Viking Center.
Burghout: “We can no longer manage with twenty volunteers and many are already quite old. We want a new exhibition for next year, improve the website and we are looking for people for maintenance and for organizing events.”
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Schools visit regularly, says Marianne Nieuwhof with enthusiasm. “Is anyone raising a finger: Do I also come from the Viking Age? Well, I’m not 1000 years old, am I? They have no idea of time and they especially like to dress up. They walk around all morning wearing a coat of mail or a helmet. Wonderful.”
Josien Smit is one of the youngest volunteers and she likes to dress in Viking clothing. Today too. “I have always been interested in history and I used to go to the House of the Earth with my mother. I sat there with blonde braids in a Viking dress.” Josien studied cultural heritage at the Reinwardt Academy in Amsterdam and returned to Wieringen. “There is also history here and a fantastic treasure has been found.”
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Burghout: “People come here from all over the country; Friesland, Gelderland, Brabant and they are so enthusiastic that they would like to be volunteers, but the distance, right? We hope to be able to attract people from the region here. Lots of people also say that they often drive by and come and have a look. The center is not only of tourist interest, students also come here for the library, the drawings and the collection.”
Next March there will be demonstrations with ‘real’ Vikings at the Viking Information Center. The new exhibition must also be ready by then. Burghout: “It’s about archeology in the backyard. These are finds that Wieringers have made and we want to exhibit them. Who knows, maybe that will bring in new volunteers, but before then we hope to find people who want to come and help.”
You can register via [email protected].