After watching the Tilting-at-the-Rings event over the weekend you undoubtedly have a number of questions you are curious about. A couple of mine were:
- Why do the riders wear a bow on their head?
- Does the red and white flag attached to their lance signify anything?
- Why are the rings coloured?
If so, you could do much worse than taking a trip to the Ringrider museum.
The museum is set up in the old gable house on Church street. This is the second oldest house in Sonderborg, dating to 1643. After falling into disrepair, it was passed on to the local historical archive in 1987, and to the tilting festival of Sonderborg in 2006, when they turned it into Denmark’s first and only Tilting at the Ring Museum.
On entering the museum you find yourself in a charming little house. I was immediately greeted by the person manning the museum on the day, who charmingly answered all my questions in ‘langsamt og tydlig’ Danish (slow and clear): The bow and the flags are simply decorations; the rings are coloured depending on their size, making it easier for the scorers to know the ring size that has been completed. There was also a wall of all the festival posters used since the tournament started in 1888, which I thought was very interesting.
If you are around during the museum’s opening times (Tuesday and Friday 10:00-16:00 during June, July and August, and every day during the festival weekend; free entry) I would strongly urge you to drop in. The attendant was extremely charming and happy to answer any questions I threw at him in broken Danish, making the visit that much more than a simple museum visit. Worth a visit!