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Introducing the Nordic Spirit

April 9, 2010

Nordic Spirit will be on display at The Center for Wooden Boats in Seattle through May 15th, 2010.

For 30 years the Nordic Spirit was one of Seattle’s hidden treasures: a Viking-style ship in permanent storage at Ballard’s Nordic Heritage Museum. The Nordic Spirit was built in northern Norway approximately 200 years ago, the continuation of an ancient boatbuilding tradition that can be traced to the 4th century. Built using lapstrake design, the Nordic Spirit resembles the Viking long ships which carried adventurers from Scandinavia to Iceland, Greenland, Italy and North America.

In the 1960s the Swedish auto company Volvo purchased the Nordic Spirit and outfitted it with Viking-style embellishments for use in an American marketing campaign for a new type of marine engine. The Nordic Spirit eventually moved to Seattle with a retiring Volvo executive who kept the boat at Ballard’s own Sagstad Marina before donating it to the Museum.

In preparation for the 2009 centennial celebration of the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, the boat was removed from storage and restored to seaworthiness. On August 30th, 2009, the Nordic Spirit sailed for the first time in 30 years in celebration of Norway Day and the contribution of Nordic-Americans to the development of Seattle.

Today, the Nordic Spirit continues its journey as an icon of Nordic design and adaptive reuse.

– Jason Herrington, Nordic Heritage Museum

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