You’ll find a lot of museums in Stockholm but if you’re strapped for time it’s difficult knowing which ones to visit. So aiming to make the selection process easier, I’ve put together a list of museums that hopefully cover something to appeal to most tastes. Whether you’re into history, art, music or understanding more about Swedish culture, you should find something to pique your interest.
The Vasa Museum
The Vasa Museum is a maritime museum located on the island of Djurgarden. It is the most popular museum in the whole of Scandinavia and this is no surprise when you see how much effort has been put into restoring Vasa, the famous 64-gun warship that sank to the bottom of the Stockholm archipelago only shortly after it set sail on her maiden voyage in 1628!
During the recovery of the ship in 1961, archaeologists also found thousands of artefacts and the remains of at least 15 people which you can find in skeletal form at the museum. Other artefacts include weapons, clothing, food, coins and cutlery. The Vasa Museum truly is an unforgettable record of an extraordinary event in Swedish history.
ABBA: The Museum
Inspired by The Beatles Museum in Liverpool, ABBA: The Museum opened its doors in May 2013 and has been a popular pilgrimage for lovers of Sweden’s most successful band ever since. Like the Vasa Museum, it is located on the island of Djurgarden opposite Skansen. There’s lots to see in this museum kitted out with a variety of interactive displays and audio commentary provided by the band themselves.
Walk through recreated studios and marvel at their original costumes – sequins, velvet, tassels and flares galore – including the ones they wore at the Eurovision in 1974 with their winning song Waterloo. And if you consider yourself a bit of a pop star, you can even audition to be a fifth member of the group in a specially designed karaoke stage complete with a halogram of the group! Read about my visit to the ABBA Museum
Fotografiska is a contemporary photography museum located on the island of Sodermalm. Housed in a former government house, the building itself is listed as a cultural interest due to its Art Nouveau style.
The museum exhibits on two floors and has held host to a variety of world renowned artists. These include Annie Leibovitz, Joel-Peter Witkin and Gus Van Sant to name but a few. The museum also hosts a fabulous restaurant and bar, with fabulous views of the across Stockholm and the archipelago.
Skansen is the world’s oldest open-air museum and also located on the island of Djurgarden (along with the Vasa and Abba Museum). Founded in 1891 by Artur Hazelius, it was created to show the way of life in different parts of Sweden before the industrial revolution.
Attracting over 1.3 million visitors a year, the museum exhibits over an area of 75 acres. It includes a replica of a 19th-century town where there are demonstrations of traditional craftsmanships such as blacksmiths, shoemakers and glass-blowing. There is also an open-air zoo with a huge variety of Swedish animals such as brown bear, lynx, wolves, otters and moose. And if you visit around Christmas, enjoy the world-famous Christmas market!
One of my favourite museums in Stockholm and located on the super pretty island of Skeppsholmen, surrounded by nature. Here at Moderna Museet you will find one of the largest collections of 20th and 21st century art in Sweden spanning all media including painting, photography, film, sculpture and installation art.
On display are works by Picasso, Matisse, Dali, Jean Buffuet and many others. As well as the permanent collection, there are temporary exhibitions throughout the year showcasing both Swedish and international artists.
Reopened in October 2018 after being closed for renovation for several years. The museum is Sweden’s largest museum of art and design and its collections comprise of more than 700,000 objects in total. It was originally built between 1844 and 1866 and was designed by German architect Friedrich August Stüler. The $132 million overhaul sought to put more of the museum’s collection on display and also make better use of the original features of the building such as opening more than 300 windows that had been shut since the 1930s.
As you can probably guess from its name, the Nobel Museum is about Nobel laureates and celebrating their contributions to the world. At the moment, the museum is particularly focusing on Martin Luther King Jr, and promoting his life’s aim of racial equality and peace through non-violent means. Other parts of the museum highlight the need to take care of our world which seems increasingly more relevant with our growing population. Lastly, with extra information about past Nobel recipients and how their contributions have changed and influenced our world will you feel better about humanity having visited. Located in the tourist hotspot of Gamla Stan, you’ll find plenty of other things to enjoy in the capital’s Old Town too.