Vasa Museum Stockholm
When in Stockholm, you should certainly visit Vasa Museum, the most famous museum in Sweden, which receives over a million visitors every year. This historic maritime museum is unique because it is actually a well-preserved warship from the 17th century.
The Vasa is a large warship, over 69 meters long, which sank while on its very first voyage right in the middle of Stockholm in 1628. It was salvaged over three centuries later, in 1961. Thereafter, because of some extraordinary work by generations of maritime engineers, artists, and other experts, the ship was restored to its former glory.
Over 95 percent of the Vasa is original, just the way it used to be. There have only been a few additions made here and there whenever needed. The original masts of the Vasa have been restored, to the same height to which they were raised to back when the ship was built.
The ship has as many as ten different exhibits, each of which depicts how it was like to live and work in a large warship of the 17th century. There is a well-made documentary on Vasa which is shown to guests. Besides that, there is a lovely little restaurant and a store with historic maritime memorabilia.
The History of the Vasa
The Vasa has a great story behind it. It was supposed to be a large floating fortress, the most formidable warship of its time. The ship had as many as 48 light cannons and two large cannons, and 6 heavy howitzers.
The only problem? All the heavy artillery were crammed into the lower and upper floors of the ship, giving it a top-heavy structure. There were serious issues with the ship’s construction and it failed many stability tests. There was a real danger of the ship sinking at the slightest pressure. Yet, because of the pressure from the ruling administration, the ship was built anyway.
The Vasa was launched on August 10 of 1628, watched by a large crowd of ordinary people, foreign diplomats, and royals. It has only sailed for one nautical mile when a gust of wind was enough to make it keel and for the water to start pouring in. The ship sank in a matter of minutes, bringing great humiliation to Sweden and to the Swedish Navy in particular.
It was only in 1961 that the Vasa was lifted to the surface after being underwater for more than 300 years. The ship was found to be in a very good condition. The restoration work began soon after that, and the Vasa Museum was opened to the public in 1990.
How to Get to the Vasa Museum
It is easy to visit Vasa Museum. You can take the train to the Central Station or the Karlapan Station and get to the place with a short walk. You could also board the buses 47 and 69 from the Central Station or 44 from Karlapan Station.
Another option is to catch the Djurgården Ferry from Slussen or Nybroplan. You could take the tram line from Djurgården should you want to as well. If you want to get to the Vasa by car, you will find plenty of parking spaces at Slussen or Karlaplan.
Admission is free for children. Adults will need to pay a nominal visiting fee. There are free and paid tours that take you in and around the Vasa Museum which you may want to join.