A European project celebrating the story of the Vikings has been given a major cash boost of about £1.4 million, with Shetland leading the way.
Shetland Amenity Trust has been awarded the sum from the Europe Culture sub-programme for “Follow the Vikings” – a four year celebration of Viking heritage throughout Europe.
The trust is the lead partner, with another 14 full partners, and 11 associate partners involved in the scheme, spread over 13 countries.
They include Iceland, Ireland Sweden, Norway, Spain, Russia and Canada.
“Follow the Vikings” will have an emphasis on creativity and culture, including the creation of a website with information about the Vikings.
A key part of the project is a Viking Roadshow, visiting 12 locations throughout Europe and culminating in central Europe.
The roadshow will feature demonstrations of Viking crafts and arts, Viking games, and shows combining drama, poetry, stories, music, dance and re-enactment involving local participation and working with children.
It is also hoped that it will raise the visibility of the Council of Europe’s Viking Cultural Route, managed by the Destination Viking Association of which Shetland Amenity Trust’s general manager, Jimmy Moncrieff, is chairman.
Mr Moncrieff said the funding was “brilliant news” and the Vikings were “right up there with the Greeks and Romans as a premier world brand.”
“Everybody has heard of them,” he said.
“Often the story is more interesting than the public perception.”
Mr Moncrieff added: “I am absolutely delighted that the trust has been successful in securing this funding on behalf of our Viking colleagues.
“We and our partners have been working towards this for a number of years to make transnational Viking heritage more accessible and understandable to a worldwide audience.
“This is our fourth attempt to secure EU Culture funding support and this shows that a good project plus tenacity can ultimately succeed.”