Does Kattegat really exist? Vikings: the real-world location of Valhalla explored

Contains spoilers for “Vikings: Valhalla”

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: The location of Kattegat, central to the stories of both “Vikings” and “Vikings: Valhalla”, has raised curiosity among viewers about its authenticity. The spin-off series, “Vikings: Valhalla,” continues the saga, taking audiences back to Kattegat during its premiere episode, “The Greenlanders.” In particular, the 100-year gap between the two series brings significant changes to Kattegat, Norway.

After the conclusion of “Vikings” in Season 6, “Vikings: Valhalla” premiered on Netflix, reintroducing characters to Kattegat under the command of King Canute. The prominence of Kattegat in both shows has led many viewers to question whether this city is a real location or a fictional creation for the series.

Kattegat has been the epicenter of the “Vikings” universe since its inception and remains a pivotal location throughout “Vikings: Valhalla”. As the spin-off series progresses, the intrigue surrounding the reality of Kattegat continues. Let’s delve into the fascinating answer of whether Kattegat is a real place or a building of historical fiction, exploring its real-world inspirations and significance.

Is Kattegat in “Vikings: Valhalla” real?

Photocom of the show
Photocom of the show “Vikings: Valhalla” (@netflix)

Interestingly, there is a real Kattegat, but it is not exactly as portrayed in the TV shows. In “Vikings”, Kattegat is presented as a bustling city in Norway. However, in reality, Kattegat is not a city but a sea area located between Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

This sea is bordered by the Jutland Peninsula in the west, the Danish Strait islands in the south, and several Swedish provinces in the east. The waters of the Kattegat are known for being shallow and filled with reefs and dangerous currents, which makes navigation risky. This treacherous nature is presented in “Vikings: Valhalla” during the journey of Leif Eriksson and Freydis Eriksdotter.

In “Vikings: Valhalla”, Kattegat developed into a significant trading port ruled by Jarl Haakon (Caroline Henderson), reflecting its strategic importance in the region. The real Kattegat area contains about 12,000 square miles and includes important ports like Gothenburg, Aarhus, Aalborg, Halmstad, and Frederikshavn.

For filming, both shows used Lough Tay in County Wicklow, Ireland, to represent Kattegat. While the series takes liberties with Norse myths and historical facts, it draws inspiration from real places like Kattegat. The evolving portrayal of Kattegat from a humble village to a significant commercial hub mirrors its real-life importance in Scandinavian history.

The reason behind Jarl Haakon’s fictional rule in “Vikings: Valhalla”

Photocom of the show
Photocom of the show “Vikings: Valhalla” (@netflix)

In “Vikings: Valhalla”, Jarl Haakon, portrayed by Caroline Henderson, assumes leadership over Kattegat, Norway, during Season 1. However, this portrayal is largely fictional, as there is no historical evidence of a female Viking ruler.

While women in Viking society held significant roles and rights compared to other contemporary cultures, records do not document them as rulers in the political sense. In the series, Jarl Haakon rises to power after the death of her husband at the hands of Christians for refusing to renounce pagan beliefs. This story reflects aspects of Viking cultural practices where women could lead households in certain circumstances.

The name “Haakon” probably draws inspiration from historical figures such as Haakon Sigurdsson, who ruled Norway in the late 10th century. That historical context lends some authenticity to the use of the name in a fictional context.

While many characters in the “Vikings” universe are fictional or composite figures based on historical fragments, the city of Kattegat itself remains a central and recognizable setting, embodying the spirit of Viking history and legend in popular culture.

“Vikings: Valhalla” trailer



“Vikings: Valhalla” Season 1 and 2 are available for streaming on Netflix.

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