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If you’re interested in Stockholm’s history or the rich culture of Sweden, then you won’t want to miss a trip to the Vasa Museum. This museum is one of the most popular in Europe thanks to fascinating exhibits and the original salvaged Vasa ship itself.
What is Vasa?
The first question many travelers have is what, exactly, is the Vasa?
Vasa is a Swedish warship that was designed to be top-of-the-line in the early 17th century. Outfitted with 64 guns, Vasa was the idea of King of Sweden Gustavus Adolphus, a man eager to show Sweden’s strength against neighboring Poland and Lithuania.
Unfortunately, on the ship’s maiden voyage in 1628, the entire ship sank. The King’s order of extra canons and a lavish upper structure coupled with a poor ballast, made the ship top heavy, and a courage to expose the ships structural problems was lacking among his subjects. Over the 17th century, some efforts were made to salvage the bronze cannons on the ship, but the Vasa was largely forgotten for centuries.
In 1961, the Vasa was discovered and then salvaged, and the fully intact ship serves as the highlight of the Vasa Museum today.
What Exhibits are Found Within the Vasa Museum?
The ship itself, coming in at over 220 feet in length and 172 feet in height, is the main attraction at the Vasa Museum, which was built around the ship after it was salvaged and reassembled on dry land. You can also see replicas of the bronze cannons that were initially removed from the ship as well as unusual objects that were preserved on the Vasa for more than 300 years in the Baltic Sea.
There is also a stunning exhibition that describes what life was like for people living in Stockholm at the time of Vasa’s departure and what it might have been like to live and work aboard a warship in the 17th century.
Guided tours are available three times each day in English, and there is an English-language film about the Vasa that serves as a fantastic introduction to the museum and its various collections.
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How Do I Get to the Vasa Museum?
The Vasa Museum is located in the borough of Östermalm. More specifically, it is situated in a large royal park called Djurgården, which is clearly signposted from every side for the convenience of travelers. Also in the park is the Skansen Zoo and a Scandinavian history museum.
You can get to these landmarks and many more on the red line of the subway or on the tram. Just alight at the Djurgården stop for both means of transport.
What Other Attractions are Popular in Stockholm?
Stockholm is an exciting beautiful city, and there is no shortage of attractions that you’ll want to explore on your visit. The Old Town, or Galma Stan, is the epicenter of historic buildings like the Royal Palace or the City Hall where the Nobel Prize banquet takes place.
Other highlights of a trip to Stockholm might include soaking in the vistas from the Skyview, admiring works of art at the Galleri Magnus Karlsson or indulging in a classic Swedish smörgåsbord at a local restaurant.
No trip to Stockholm would be complete without a visit to the Vasa Museum, which boasts the only fully-intact 300-year-old ship in the world.