NORDEN - the nordic arts festival

Niels and the Nydam Boat

It is surely no coincidence that a boat, of all things, embodies the common history of two nations. The Nydam - boat may have found its resting place in the permanent exhibition in Schleswig, but as a symbol it still drifts on the waters of cultural ideas between Germany and Denmark.

Short Film by Anne-Kristin Jahn, 30min, Germany 2020, German / Danish / English with subtitles

An old man sits under an apple tree and looks absorbed into the landscape. We learn that in front of him is Nydam Mose, a bog near Sønderborg in Denmark. A sacred place from the Iron Age. Boats and countless spears and lances are said to have been sacrificed here as offerings to the gods. And so we follow the man, his name is Niels, into the fairway of the Nydam - boat. A boat that today is exhibited in Germany, in Gottorf Castle in Schleswig. How did the boat get there? What role did it play in the cultural relations between Germany and Denmark? All this is written in the history books today, but as Niels traces the boat's journey from Nydam Mose to Schleswig, the region it once traversed comes alive: Niels meets residents of the border area, experiences are shared. The Secon d World War still haunts the memories of the people who were long separated by an impenetrable border. During the encounters and conversations, however, what separated them is forgotten.

It is surely no coincidence that a boat, of all things, embodies the common history of two nations. The Nydam - boat may have found its resting place in the permanent exhibition in Schleswig, but as a symbol it still drifts on the waters of cultural ideas between Germany and Denmark. These kinds of ships should always have free passage. For in civilizations whose borders are impermeable, the dreamers die out.
Niels and the Nydam Boat