Stockholm’s Best Museums
Alex Dudley shares some of the best museums in Stockholm worth visiting.
There is history wherever you look in Stockholm, and the city has an array of museums scattered around its islands, with each establishment offering something different.
You can choose to see the best preserved warship from the 17th century or explore the first open air museum in the country. From contemporary art to travelling back through time, there is a museum for every taste.
Here are some of the best museums in Stockholm.
Skansen Open Air Museum
Located on Djurgården, this was the first museum of its kind to open in Sweden. It was first unveiled in 1891 with the primary aim of showing the way of life in the country prior to the Industrial Revolution. Skansen is most commonly the first museum visitors want to see, but is also equally popular with locals especially during the summer holidays.
Apart from the open air museum, there is also a zoo which plays host to a range of animals that are native to the Scandinavian region, with frequent shows open to the public throughout the day.
The best time to visit is undoubtedly over summer as the majority of the day will be spent outdoors. You should definitely stop by and take a step back in time, with over 150 dwellings, gardens, and farms to see.
As one of the best museums in Stockholm, the Vasa Museum holds the only fully preserved 17th century ship in the entire world. The ship sank on its first voyage from Stockholm Harbor in 1628. Since its recovery in 1961, it has been restored to its former glory.
Almost the entirety of the ship is original, but don’t be entering expecting to walk aboard the famous ship. The closest you can get is being able to walk around its sides at a safe distance. This ensures that you can see every inch of the ship and admire its full beauty. This is the most visited museum in the whole of Scandinavia, and through its well-preserved artifacts, you can learn all about what it was like living on the seas in the 17th century.
The Swedish Army Museum is one of the best historical museums in the city with three floors full of unique exhibitions. You will follow men, women and children on their journey through war time in Sweden, beginning in the 1500s and ending at present day.
There are fascinating stories told within the museum and they are presented in a special way so you as a visitor can connect with them. The Museum also plays host to a variety of historical objects, only further setting the scene of living conditions that Swedes lived in during this time period.
Armémuseum is smartly able to tell the stories of all classes throughout war time in Sweden. It is a brilliant family day out for educational and enjoyment purposes, with the ‘Children’s Trail’ keeping your little ones busy for hours.
ABBA is probably the most famous Swedish export, with fans from all around the world touched by their music. However, the museum attracts both fans of the band and general music fanatics. The most enjoyable factor of the museum is its interactive elements; you can dance along to ‘Waterloo’ or ‘Dancing Queen’, while also learning the story behind the music.
All members of the band have donated memorabilia and told their stories to enhance the museum’s originality. Band member Björn Ulvaeus is the director for the museum and has recently played a massive part in the opening of their latest exhibition, which follows the band members following their separation. It really wraps up their story and the museum now has their complete journey from start to present day.
You should buy your tickets well in advance as it is massively popular and queues are common.
The Swedish Royal Museum of Natural History is one of the two major museums of natural history in Sweden, with the other one located in Gothenburg. Here, you can experience nine permanent exhibitions covering nature and the developments of mankind.
It is one of the best museums in Stockholm that combines education and enjoyment; and it is a must if you have children. The two most popular exhibitions are the ‘Human Journey’ which follows the development of humans from seven million years ago to today. The second most popular is the ‘Fossil and Evolution’ exhibit. Just look for the dinosaurs!
The Cosmonova IMAX theatre is another vital point of interest, here you can enter the 760- square meter dome and watch the featured movie. At the time of writing this article, the featured film was ‘Pandar’, showcasing the world of pandas and their daily struggles. The main museum is free to enter but Cosmonova costs 120 SEK for adults and 80 SEK for children.
The classic Nordic Museum enables you to discover life in Sweden from past to present. Furthermore, it is Sweden’s largest museum of cultural history. You will find it located on the island of Djurgården which also happens to hold a few of the best museums in Stockholm already on this list.
The building itself is well worth the visit to see it, as the building is a true landmark of the city and looks like a castle.
Inside, you will discover a variety of exhibitions, ranging from fashion and textiles to furniture, interiors and photography. Additionally, there is a separate exhibition where you can learn about the only indigenous people in Sweden, the Sami. There are audio guides available in a host of languages; including French, English, Spanish and for those still learning the local language – easy Swedish.
The restaurant is a must as it serves beautiful traditional Swedish food and snacks.
After a long five years of renovations, the Nationalmuseum once again opened its doors in 2018. This is Sweden’s premier museum of art and design. The recently reopened institution has tailored its newfound space to highlight the museum’s enormous collection of classic and modern art work. Nationalmuseum also has government authority to preserve cultural heritage and promote art as well as interest and knowledge in art.
The museum plays host to collections of paintings, sculptures and drawings from 1500-1900. Additionally, there are applied arts, designs and portraits from early Middle Ages up until present day.
Best of all, the museum is free, except for certain visiting exhibitions. At present, the only exhibitions that payment is needed for is the John Singer Sargent and A&E Design. Prices begin from 150 SEK for general adult admissions, while students and seniors pay 120 SEK. There is free admission for visitors under the age of 20. Once you have paid, you are free to enter both exhibitions.