Vasa Museum

My first full day in Stockholm was a Sunday, and I chose to visit the Vasa Museum, which is one of the top sights in the city. This turned out to be an excellent choice.
Outside the museum are pleasant grounds overlooking an inlet of the Baltic and the busy boat traffic.
This tree clad knoll was the perfect place to spread a small bit of ashes from the husband of a friend, Molly.
The Nordic Museum looks out over Mike's Knoll.
While intriguing, the Vasa Museum exterior provides no real indication on the splendor contained within.
You are immediately confronted by the imposing presence of the Vasa from the moment you walk through the doors.
This is not a reproduction: this is a real Swedish warship from over 300 years ago.
And it is really big! Too big, in fact. The Vasa sunk very early on her first voyage.
An extra gun deck was added to the ship, by the king's orders, without modifying the hull design to accommodate the extra weight.
Without extra ballast the extra gun deck made the ship top heavy, and the first gust of wind blew her over on her side.
The ship was to have been the flag ship of the Swedish navy, and in addition to its immense bulk, the ship was adorned with elaborate carvings.
German and Dutch wood carvers lavished the ship with intricate figures.
Soon after she sunk, the ship was covered in thick silt, which preserved it.
Over 300 years later it was discovered and brought to the surface, where it was made water tight and floated into the new museum that was built for it.
Most of the ship's equipment and supplies were recovered.
The museum also has reproductions of various parts of the ship. Here a portion of one of the gun decks appears as it would have when the Vasa sailed.
Despite its size, the decks were low and cramped.
To show the scale of the ship, a reproduction of the main mast crow's nest was reproduced at ground level.
The real thing looks much smaller atop the mast.
A cut-away model shows the arrangements of the decks (note the too little ballast at the bottom).
And another model gives a good impression of how the ship looked under sail.
As seen in the model, all of the figures on the ship were painted in bright colors.
The museum also had wonderful displays on life during the time of the Vasa, and what life was like for the average crew member.
I spent most of the day at the Vasa Museum, and took the ferry back to Gamla Stan.
The Vasa and Nordic Museums from the water.
The ferry is a real transportation system, with multiple stops along its route.
Many cruise ships dock at along the Södermalm sea wall.

Return to the trip report main page.