Henri Houben har bygget vikingskipet med egne hender

What would you think about building a ship ?
No, not one of those little ones that you put in a bottle, or a miniature or small sailing boat.
How about a ten-meter ship.
Impossible, you say ?
But just imagine that you are so fascinated by a particular ship that you would like to copy it... Still no way ?
Well, there is a man who has done exactly that, a man named Henri Houben, and the ship he built was a Viking ship.
So, as the Norwegian headline says,


In 1975, Henri and his family were on vacation in Norway.
In the Vikingshipmuseum in Oslo, Henri saw the Norwegian Oseberg ship,
a Viking ship dating from c. 900 AD that had been discovered and excavated in 1904.
He was so impressed with the beautifull lines of this ship that he vowed that someday he would build a replica.
This resulted in his first Viking ship, the five-meter Roskilde-ship.
But the memory of the Oseberg wouldn’t let go.
So, helped by his photographic memory, Henri developed preliminary sketches.
The drawings he made later on provided the basis for estimates, and then Henri started to build.
The original Oseberg ship
The Orm in front of the house When Henri started to build, he felt like a ski-jumper on the way down the jump- there was no way back.
The actual building of the different parts of the ship started off in the attic of his home and even the living room was used for a while.
But he soon outgrew these spaces, and the parts were transported to the barns of the various market gardeners in the neighbourhood of his home, Zuid-Scharwoude.
At various times he had to make way for the prunes, onions and cabbages that were stored in the barns.
More then 3000 hours of his spare time Henri Houben has worked at this do-it-yourself project, day and night sometimes.
The greatest help was given him by his wife and children, who hardly ever complained of his special relationship to his 10 metres long Orm.
Without that it is impossible to finish such an enormous job.

25-2-2021  ]

© Copyright H.A. Houben