The Vasa Museum in Stockholm, Sweden
When you visit Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, one of the great delights – and a ‘must do’ experience – is the Vasa Museum. Situated on Djurgården island, a short hop from the city center, the visitor’s first impression is a modern, hangar-like building. Hidden inside is one of Europe’s most remarkable treasures – the only 17th-century ship ever to be salvaged in close to pristine condition, the Vasa.
Baltic cruises from Stockholm or Helsinki will take you past where the Swedish warship, bristling with cannons and the pride of the fleet, foundered shortly after her launch in 1628. She was discovered in the 1950s, brought up from the harbor in the early 1960s, carefully restored, and is now displayed beautifully with majestic glory in the museum.
Carefully Controlled Conditions Preserve Ship’s Original Beauty
The hangar’s temperature and humidity are carefully controlled to preserve the Vasa in the best possible condition. Although visitors cannot board the ship, they can walk around and admire her from her gorgeous, intricately-carved stern to her elegant bow with its leaping lion figurehead. The lower parts of all three masts have been fitted, as well as the rigging. The museum’s vast atrium supports a remarkable and beautiful copper roof that depicts the full height of the Vasa in her prime, with her sails aloft.
Learn About Life on Board
A replica of the platform from where the sails were worked (17m above the deck), also gives visitors a chance to brave the dizzying heights that sailors had to climb to operate the ship.
The museum also has engaging, interpretive sections that describe life on board. You will get a great idea of what it was like to be a sailor on this beautiful, but cramped ship. You will also become acquainted with the details of the sinking and of the ruling family that built her. The name Vasa means ‘vase’ in Swedish, the heraldic symbol of the king.
Learn About 17th Century Shipbuilding
On your visit, you will find out more about the Vasa’s construction and the vast industrial network needed to support Sweden’s 17th-century naval might. One of the most remarkable insights is that the cannons were salvaged not long after the Vasa sank, using primitive “diving bells” to allow swimmers to work successfully in the shallow harbor waters.
The entire experience, from viewing the ship to the supporting exhibits and the excellent museum restaurant, has made it one of the most popular museums in Scandinavia. The area is home to several other museums as well, so it’s well worth the short trip.
Baltic Cruise from Stockholm or Helsinki
You can visit the Vasa Museum by Baltic cruise from Stockholm or Helsinki.