Philip and I both LOVE museums. Seriously while we were walking along the harbour in Stockholm we were trying to come up with a word to describe, how we love going from museum to museum just soaking up knowledge and getting our geek on. The best we could come up with was ‘musetiquing’ you know like antiquing, but with museums instead… do you think that will catch on?!
There are more than 30 museums in Stockholm. We visited three of them during our stay and we loved them all for completely different reasons. Let’s start with the big kahuna… The Vasa Museum is one of Stockholm’s most famous attractions. Whenever I received suggestions of what to see whilst visiting Stockholm, the Vasa was always on the list.
And now I know why. As you walk in to the main area, I did the same thing as everyone else. Stopped, looked up and said Wow. The Vasa (pronounced varsa rather than vassa) is just breathtaking and bloody massive, so big in fact it is almost impossible to photograph it in it’s entirety.
Built in the 17th century, the Vasa is a war ship that sunk on it’s maiden voyage in 1628, just 1.3 km out of Stockholm’s harbour. It didn’t crash into an iceberg or get shot down by a cannon or anything like that, it turns out it was just very badly designed and with a big gust of wind, it literally got blown over to one side and sank.
If it wasn’t for the fact that 15-50 people died (they have no way of knowing for sure) it could be the start of a funny story.
Because of the temperature, the water and lots of other scientific stuff that I won’t bore you with, 300 years later when they found the Vasa again, she had been incredibly preserved and when they salvaged her, the hull was almost entirely intact.
The Vasa now stands proudly in the museum, 98% original, she looks like she has come straight off the movie set of Pirates of the Carribean or the Goonies. In fact looking at her in all her glory from the 7th floor gallery, I almost expected her to start flickering and for it to turn out that she is a hologram of some kind. It is really amazing to know that she was sitting on the bottom of Stockholm harbour for 300 years.
Not only is there the incredible ship to see, but the museum is jam packed with exhibitions about how she was built, what the 17th century was like, the skeletons of some of the people that they found in the wreckage and loads of other stuff that was really fascinating.
We had two and a half hours in the Vasa Museum and it was no way near enough (but keep in mind that we love this kind of thing and read everything… properly!) If you are in Stockholm, you must see the Vasa.
On the other end of the scale and impressive for completely different reasons is the Nobel Museum. There is nothing that will take your breath away when you walk in, but scratch the surface and you could spend all day in there reading. They have information on everyone who has won a Nobel Prize and there have been 856 winners so far!
You’d think that all that information would become overwhelming, but the museum is very well curated and the most complicated ideas have been simplified, so that it is accessible for everyone. It was both incredibly inspiring and daunting, in fact I’d defy anyone not to read about these amazing people and not start to question what the hell they’ve been doing with their lives (I know I certainly did!).
There is information on the incredible Alfred Nobel and how the Nobel Prize came about (he left instructions in his will), two different cinemas with films about some of the Nobel Laureates (we watched a fascinating short film about Nelson Mandela) and a huge multimedia area. There was also an impressive looking area for children, which was unfortunately completely full of kids, so I thought I should give it a miss!
We finished up with a trip to the gift shop and then a trip to the museum cafe (the museum tea blend is delicious) and both left happy and a little smarter!
The last museum we visited was completely different once again… this time we took a look at the History of Sweden and learnt about Vikings at the The Swedish History Museum. This is a big museum and we didn’t have time to linger quite as much as we would have liked.
The timeline on the first floor was my favourite… it took us all the way through the history of Sweden, whilst giving an idea of what was happening in other areas of the world at the same time. I must admit that I had no idea Sweden had such a bloody history.
As well as giving the facts and figures, there were also a lot of exhibitions that asked questions; like ‘do our current social biases change the way we see history’ ‘what is important in our lives now’ and ‘were priorities different in the past’
What is your favourite museum in Stockholm?