Home > Scandinavia > The ship that sank a few minutes into her maiden voyage … the Vasa

The ship that sank a few minutes into her maiden voyage … the Vasa

Photo: Richard Ryan, Stockholm Visitors Board

Photo: Richard Ryan, Stockholm Visitors Board

Visited the Vasa Museum today for the first time in four years. Even though the ship still looks the same as it did four years ago, I have to admit that I’d forgotten how the rest of the museum looked.

The museum is one of Stockholm’s major tourist magnets and is usually top of every tourist to the city’s list of things to see and do. Which I always find amusing as the ship was really a disaster. It was one of the most expensive and extensive ship projects ever carried out in Sweden, yet it only sailed a miserly few minutes before it capsized … apparently the 120 tons of stones were not enough to stabilize the ship in strong winds.

Even though I enjoyed my first visit to the Vasa Museum, I left wondering why it is ranked as one of Stockholm’s top tourist attractions.

However, today, on my second visit it dawned on me. Watching the 25-minute video about the ship at the beginning of your visit to the Vasa Museum is a great way to start your tour as it grabs your attention and brings the story to life. What is amazing about this whole Vasa project was the work undertaken to drag the ship up from Stockholm’s Baltic waters after her lying on its bed for 333 years. The raising of the Vasa and the discovery on board of hundreds of relics from the 17th century and the erection of the purpose-built museum in which the ship is housed today, is quite impressive.

It’ll cost you SEK 95 to enter the museum but for your SEK you’ll get to watch a video, a guided tour and it’s up to you if you spend 30 minutes or three hours pouring over the 17th century history.

The ship itself is impressive – built out of oak and adorned with hundreds of carvings. But I have to say that by the end of the tour, I was itching to set foot on the ship (not allowed of course) to really get inside it.

So, yes, if in Stockholm – the Vasa Museum is a must see. And if you are feeling culturally and historically charged afterwards, you can always drop by the Pippi Langstocking museum (Junibacken) or the Nordiska Museet next door.

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