Denmark and Sweden have engaged in countless war during the centuries – since the 17th century the Swedish kings had the upper hand on land – but on sea the Danish navy was superior through the history. Today we go and visit the pride of the Swedish navy build between 1626 and 1628. The ship were named after the Swedish king breaking the Danish rule in 1523 Gustav Vasa and was supposed to be the most power full ship in the world when it was constructed.
When the ship was finally finished after the two years construction period the Swedish navy took it out for a short sail from the center of Stockholm to a destination a few hours sail outside the city. People came onboard the ship to celebrate the new ship maiden voyage. The ship moved away from the port to the water just outside – but it wasn’t entirely stable and after less than a mile of sailing the ship capsized just outside the city. I guess this is why the Swedish navy got the upper hand in the Baltic Sea.
The ship sank quickly and took about 30 of the crew and visitors down with the boat. Immediately after the ship sank there was a few attempts made to salvage the wreckage so it could finally be a part of the Swedish navy – but after they managed to bring up a few of the guns they gave up on the attempts of getting the ship back afloat and the Gustav Vasa was forgotten on about 30 meters deep water for 333 years.
Finally in the 1950s a marine archeologist rediscovered the lost ship and it was decided to recover the ship. It took a few years to bring it back to the surface and another 17 years to do conservation on the ship so it could survive the new condition of air instead of water. The Swedish government decided to build a museum for the ship and in 1990 the museum finally opened the doors to the public so everybody can go and enjoy the ship. Apparently the ship is the best preserved ship from this era in the world and by far the biggest of any surviving ships anywhere. The lack of seaworthiness of the ship is actually what has made it possible to see it today since it has only survived by being buried at sea for three centuries.
When we get into the museum we see the ship and it is pretty big. It isn’t possible to go onboard the ship because it would involve too much wear and tear on the ship so it is only possible to see it from the outside. The museum is actually in 7 different levels so you can go up and down and see the ship from different perspectives. In addition to just watch the ship there is a movie theater which shows movies about the ship in different languages. There are also exhibits of the old artefacts they managed to salvage from the ship.
We walk around the different floors of the museum and look at the ship which is surprisingly well preserved. Down in the basement is a little exhibit about the ship crew and the skeletons of the people who were lost onboard the ship. They have made models of how they assume the skeletons used to look when they were living people.
The entrance to the museum is a bit steep at 150 SEK or a bit under 15€. But it is pretty interesting to explore the nice old ship. If you got the time or are feeling hungry you might go outside to see an exhibit of more modern ships at on outdoor museum which you can explore and get onboard the ship or you can go to the Sprit museum next door to take advantage of the great restaurant there.