Mainstream Norwegian Medievalism in the Twenty-first Century

Continuity and Change in Narrative and Form


  • Karl Alvestad University of South-Eastern Norway


Norway, medievalism, Camino, Birkebeiner, pilgrimage, medieval film, skiing


Scholarship and media discussions of Medievalism in contemporary Norway has focused on the right-wing and fascist movements use of Vikings and medieval history and forgotten the medievalism that permeates mainstream Norwegian culture. This paper explores three examples of this mainstream medievalism in Norway, arguing that this use of the medieval and Viking past is linked to the earlier traditions of nationalist medievalism of the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-centuries in Norway. By examining the annual sporting event Birken, the network of hiking routes Pilgrimsleden and the 2016 film The Last King and their contexts and reception, this paper demonstrates how the medieval and medievalism are part of contemporary Norwegian culture. This analysis has demonstrated how the narratives remembered in mainstream medievalism is still the same, but that its purpose, target audience and interactivity has shifted so that it is meant to be experienced and consumed. Consequently, I argue that contemporary mainstream medievalism in Norway has evolved to be a personal rather than collective experience of the “medieval”.





Alvestad, K. (2021). Mainstream Norwegian Medievalism in the Twenty-first Century: Continuity and Change in Narrative and Form. Mirator, 21, 50–64. Noudettu osoitteesta