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[en] HEIMDAL will be a multi length scale neutron scattering instrument for the study of structures covering almost nine orders of magnitude from 0.01 nm to 50 mm. The instrument is accepted for construction at the European Spallation Source (ESS) and features a variable resolution thermal neutron powder diffractometer (TNPD), combined with small angle neutron scattering (SANS) and neutron imaging (NI). The instrument uses a novel combination of a cold and a thermal guide to fulfill the diverse requirements for diffraction and SANS. With an instrument length of 170 m, HEIMDAL will take advantage of the high neutron flux of the long pulse at ESS, whilst maintaining a high q-resolution due to the long flight path. The q-range coverage is up to 20 Å"−"1 allowing low-resolution PDF analysis. With the addition of SANS, HEIMDAL will be able to cover a uniquely broad length scale within a single instrumental set-up. HEIMDAL will be able to accommodate modern materials research in a broad variety of fields, and the task of the instrument will be to study advanced functional materials in action, as in situ and in operandi at multiple length scales (0.01–100 nm) quasi simultaneously. The instrument combines state-of-the-art neutron scattering techniques (TNPD, SANS, and NI) with the goal of studying real materials, in real time, under real conditions. This article describes the instrument design ideas, calculations and results of simulations and virtual experiments.