A personal travel guide for adventurous young people by Lisa Love

Museums
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Stockholm
Wednesday, 06

The Vasa Museum and the Museum Ships

Vasamuseet och Museifartygen

Address: Galärvarvet, Djurgården
Phone: 08-519 548 00
Opening hours, admission, etc: www.vasamuseet.se
Busses: 44, 47
Streetcar: From Norrmalmstorg and Nybroplan
Ferry: From Gamla Stan and Nybroviken

Almost 400 years ago, on a late summer day in 1628, the Swedish warship Vasa set sail on her maiden voyage from the heart of Stockholm. People lined the shores to see King Gustav Adolf’s magnificent new vessel under sail for the first time. After firing her cannons to salute the dignitaries, the Vasa moved into the harbor; but within just a few minutes, she heeled over, righted herself for a moment, and then heeled over again.

Water began rushing in through her lower gun ports, and to the horror of her crew and bystanders alike, the Vasa sank without ever leaving the harbor. The ship wasn’t recovered until 1961 when she was raised to the surface and floated to a dry-dock on Djurgården. After being moved a few hundred meters from this temporary home, a museum was built up around her.

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Today the Vasa is the largest object displayed in any museum in the world and the new Vasa Museum has become the most visited museum in Scandinavia. When you enter the Vasa Museum, you feel like you’re entering a cathedral because the ceiling is so high. (34 meters!) There in the middle of this giant ship hall is the Vasa, the only remaining intact ship from the 1600’s. Almost the entire hull is the original, but the lower masts and rigging have been reconstructed to give the visitor a sense of what the ship looked like before she set sail.

You can view the ship from six different levels and look at her from both above and below. You can stand back to view the entire ship or, on the Vasa’s starboard (right hand) side, you can come so close that you can almost touch the hull. There are all kinds of exhibits surrounding this ship, from “Life Onboard” and “Sweden in 1628” to the story of the discovery of the wreck and its salvaging. Don’t miss the introductory film about how the ship was saved, by the way. It takes about 25 minutes and is shown at least once an hour throughout the day. Lots of cool models and some of the original cannons are on display as well.

FThe lightship FinngrundetThe Museum Ships
Outside the museum are two museum ships from the beginning of the 1900s that are open from June through August and part of the same admission price. They are the icebreaker “Sankt Erik” and the lightship “Finngrundet”, and are well worth a visit. The Sankt Erik was Sweden’s first icebreaker, and Finngrundet was a floating lighthouse, which for more than sixty years warned mariners about dangerously shallow waters in the Gulf of Bothnia. You can go onboard both of them.

The Museum Ships are open daily from June through August.

Copyright © 2011 Lisa Christina Love. Ideas or suggestions? Please contact me.

Bookmark: Link. Chapter: Museums

Revised: Wednesday, 6 June 2012.

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This model depicts how the Vasa struggled to stay afloat moments before it sank during its maiden voyage in 1628.

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The Vasa Museum and Museum Ships.

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The stern of the great ship and some of the rigging.
Photo by Andy Carvin.

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