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A woman has been bestowed the title of a modern-day Viking thanks to her impressive hair, wardrobe and lifestyle.
Freya Bergander, 26, is currently living in Germany where she is about to finish her master's degree in medieval history before going on to start writing her PhD.
Freya has loved Viking history ever since she was a kid and eventually went from being a model to fully embracing the lifestyle of a Viking woman.
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And now, she is rejecting marriage proposals from eager fans.
She told Daily Star: “I adore the jewellery, the relics and recreations of Viking clothing, the insanely beautiful wood carvings and absolutely impressive ships like the Oseberg wreck.
“Apart from dressing and doing my hair in my own interpretation of the Scandinavian Middle Ages before Christianisation, I do include several aspects in my everyday life in honour to worship the ancient Viking culture.
“The most important one might be my religion. I believe in the gods of Norse Paganism like Odin, Freya, Thor and Loki. Therefore I do sacrifice rituals to honour them – which one calls blót – on a weekly basis.
“It’s important to me to know their opinion on certain life decisions and ask them for support. Believing in Norse Paganism goes basically hand in hand with a strong bond to nature and what it provides us with.”
Freya is dedicated to looking the part and how long it takes her to get ready can vary depending on what she’s wearing.
If she’s opting for a simple basic dress without any fancy braided hairstyles or makeup, it will take her a maximum of 20 minutes.
However, holiday looks or styling herself for a special photoshoot can take up to two hours, of which most of the time will be spent on her hair.
These festive looks often involve dresses with many layers, a linen underdress and the typical apron held together by brooches Viking women used to wear.
“To top it all off, I like to wear my beloved jewellery. My favourite pieces are my Hiddensee-necklace such as my Brisingamen-replica,” Freya shared.
“It’s not that easy to get into my looks from time to time and likewise it applies when undressing, so I am extremely happy when my boyfriend or a friend is with me and can help me get the layers on or off. That can help shorten the whole process a lot!”
So far, Freya hasn’t received any weird or disrespectful reactions from people when she wears her Viking style in public.
She continued: “I often get complimented – especially by women – on my jewellery and hair which really makes my heart smile. You don’t often get warm words from other girls in our competitive society, unfortunately.
“Children love my looks probably the most though. They always ask ‘Are you a princess? Can I touch your dress or hair?’ which I find totally adorable.
“Some people also take photos of me without my consent – an aspect I do not find very flattering or respectful.”
People’s reaction to Freya online is mostly positive as well, as the 26-year-old has managed to grow a supportive community.
But this doesn’t mean she doesn’t occasionally receive inappropriate messages from men.
“It can get a little weird from time to time as men are trying to get to know me or even ask to seriously marry me in my DMs, however, I try to ignore these kinds of messages,” she said.
“The only mean comments I’ve received so far in general were online, mainly on Instagram. They are about my make-up not being authentic, which is funny to me because I never claimed it to be and, shocker, my dresses aren’t either.”
Some nasty people also call her a cosplayer who simply enjoyed the Vikings series on Netflix a little too much or call her crazy for worshipping the Norse Gods.
Freya simply laughs at most of them, especially at the ones who try to educate her about the Viking age.
“Don’t get me wrong, I love to share and discuss aspects of the Viking Age, however, I really struggle holding myself together when being confronted with Google knowledge,” she explained.
“That’s also the main reason why I came to barely read my DMs these days as my account has grown quite a lot over the last year.
"Above all, I try my best to make my accounts safe spaces where followers act respectfully towards and with each other.
“Especially people from the right-wing or Nazi community who claim the Viking culture to be their heritage, who are banned from my social media platforms instantly. Both as a Norse pagan and as a historian, I distance myself completely from these political beliefs.
“The Viking culture has been proven to be one of the most open-minded, tolerating, including societies that ever existed, especially when you compare it to the Christian medieval society of central Europe within the same time period.
“Hitler’s regime appropriated the old pagan symbols like the swastika or the double S run violently and exploited them for their own disgusting ideology. The Viking culture has nothing to do with this kind of political extremism which I don’t consider a ‘political opinion’ but a crime.”
Sadly we know very little about the Viking cultural life which leads people to mostly rely on archaeological findings as the main sources.
Adding to her celebration of Vikings, Freya loves to spend time walking in the woods, hiking or simply sitting by a lake.
She tries to live as self-sufficient as possible, meaning she doesn’t really go out for dinner or order food, her meals contain no processed foods and she stays away from plastic whenever she can.
The blond beauty added: “My dream would be to run my own farm with lots of different animals one day somewhere in northern Sweden or Iceland.”
Freya has always loved dressing up in historical costumes – but it was when her parents organised a medieval birthday party in a castle for her seventh birthday that her love for history truly started.
It was at this event that she was allowed to wear an authentic medieval dress from the owner of the castle for the first time.
“I fell in love instantly and knew, that I would choose to dress like this every day in my life if I ever had the chance,” she explained.
“After finishing school, I started to care less and less about fitting in and living up to modern society’s standards. Pleasing the crowds and my former online life as a model simply didn’t feel right to me at all anymore.
“About this time I also left the Christian church and started doing a lot of research on Norse paganism to which I felt bonded to because of my father’s family roots. As I chose to convert to Asatru, the dressing went literally hand in hand with it.
“Suddenly I felt just the same as I did at the age of seven again, completed. Nowadays, there are very few days when I am not dressed in Viking Age-inspired clothing and jewellery.
“I like to include at least some small details in every outfit I am wearing, for example in university where I wear casual looks mostly.”
To clarify, the term Viking is used to refer to a male warrior who takes part in sea raids or pillages regions he has to sail to on a boat.
As Freya as not done such a thing and doesn’t plan to, she isn’t technically an official Viking but this term has been bestowed upon her by her followers and fans of her work.
“In modern history research we call the people living in Northern Europe during the time period from approximately 600 to 1100 ‘Vikings’ in order to ease up the identification of these different tribes,” she clarified.
“This is due to the fact that within this specific time period, the Norsemen started to raid and plunder more and more frequently by sailing to the eastern baltic first and then found their personal ‘treasure chest’ in 793 when the first raid on a Western-European monastery called Lindisfarne took place.
“I enjoy keeping the cultural heritage of the Norsemen alive by believing in and practising Norse paganism, dressing in Viking Age-inspired fashion and taking part in active historical research on this specific time period.”
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