Nordic “clinker boats” in UNESCO Heritage List

United Nations’ culture agency, UNESCO, added the Nordic “clinker boats” to its Heritage List, in December 2021.

Highlights

  • The wooden sailboats have allowed peoples of northern Europe to spread influence, trade and sometime war across continents and seas, for thousands of years.
  • Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Sweden and Norway jointly sought the UNESCO designation.
  • The term “clinker” is believed to refer to the way its wooden boards were fastened together.

Viking Ship Museum

Viking Ship Museum is located in Roskilde, west of Copenhagen. It not only exhibits the remains of wooden vessels which were built 1,000 years ago but also works towards rebuilding and reconstructing other Viking boats. The process of construction involves use of experimental archaeological methods to gain a deeper, and practical understanding of Viking Age.

Characteristics of Wooden Clinker Boats

Wooden clinker boats are characterized by use of overlapping longitudinal wooden hull planks. These planks are sewn or riveted together. Boats are strengthened internally by additional wooden components, specifically tall oak trees. Gaps are stuffed with tar or tallow mixed with animal hair, moss and wool.

World Heritage Site

World Heritage Site is an area or landmark, which is legally protected by an international convention administered by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). These Sites are designated by UNESCO for having historical, cultural, scientific or other form of significance. The sites are judged for comprising “cultural and natural heritage worldwide, considered to be important to humanity”.

Number of World Heritage Site

As of July 2021, there are 1,154 World Heritage Sites, across 167 countries. Out of them, 897 are cultural, 218 natural, and 39 mixed properties. Italy, with 58 selected areas, is the country with the greatest number of sites on UNESCO List.

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