Stockholm is the cosmopolitan capital of Scandinavia and thrives in culture. The city’s extensive range of museums has something for everyone, no matter what your interests are.
Learn of a ship lovingly reconstructed 300 years after its maritime disaster, a UNESCO Royal Palace or a tribute to one of the world’s most famous bands, ABBA. Take a voyage through time from the Stone Age to the Viking era and more recent centuries at the National History Museum or delve into contemporary art and photography at the city’s galleries. Kids will thrive at Skansen petting zoo or the interactive science museums. Whether you are travelling with friends, family or on business, take time out of your busy schedule to visit some of Stockholm’s extensive collection of museums.
A glimpse into one of Europe’s most modern Royal Families
The Swedish royal family are popular with the nation’s residents but also have a strong following outside the countries borders. To get a glimpse into how they have become one the world’s most admired and modern royal families visit their properties around the city. Dominating the heart of the city, on the edge of the old town, Gamla Stan, you’ll find the baroque Royal Palace (Kungliga Slottet). This is the official royal residence but is also open to the public. See for yourself how the Swedish monarchy live. The building has over 600 rooms and on a guided tour you’ll be lucky enough to see the royal apartments, the treasury and a number of museums on the complex.
In opposing style, venture a little outside the city to Drottningholm Palace (Drottningholms Slott) on the edge of Lake Mälaren. Built in the 1600s, it is a shining example of European architecture from this period. As a result, this castle is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The palace is open to the public and highlights include the Chinese Pavilion Pleasure Palace, the Palace Theatre and the beautiful gardens that surround it.
Horse-drawn carriages still play an important role in ceremonial and official events and the Royal Stables are located in downtown Stockholm. As well as serving the current royal family, this is also a rich part of the monarch’s heritage. Take a guided tour and get up close to Sweden’s most important horses. If you are left wanting to know more about Sweden’s monarchy, there are plenty of royal attractions to visit.
Cast your eye over contemporary art and photography
Described on Tripadvisor as “a piece of art in itself”, Fotografiska is one of the largest contemporary photography exhibitions in the world. If you love nothing better than to be behind the lens or develop images in a dark room, then this is the museum for you. Each year, the displays are made up from four permanent and up to 20 temporary exhibitions. This is a meeting place for like-minded people or those who just appreciate world-class photography. If you want to learn how to improve your skills then why not find out more about courses, lectures and workshops that are run on a regular basis.
“a piece of art in itself”
The photography installations at Moderna Museum dates back to 1840. However, at this venue art comes in all shapes and sizes. From paintings and sculptures to film, drawings and prints, you will find artworks from famous Nordic and global names. Make sure to stop by the Art Library before you leave, one of the largest of its kind specializing in Nordic art, design and photography.
Another of the city’s major contemporary art venues is Bonniers Konsthall. Here you will find the works of Swedish and international artists, both emerging and well established. This venue showcases progressive and experimental art that may challenge your mind. Exhibitions are rotated regularly so if you pay a return visit you will be met with new art installations.
Take a step back in time
The National History Museum is an absolute must for history enthusiasts. Delve into the story of Sweden. Travel as far as the Stone Age and be transported through time. Learn how Scandinavian ancestors lived, the story of the Vikings, and of everyday life during medieval times. In the Gold Room, you’ll be amazed at the vast quantities of gold and silver jewelry and artefacts that have been uncovered over time, each piece with its own special story in history. To make the journey smoother, audio guides are available free on smart phones or you can pick one up at the museum for 25SEK.
Hits for the kids
So, as parents, you may be eager to visit ABBA: the Museum but are afraid the kids might not know who they are. Do not fear, this museum offers all round entertainment. As well as browsing the collection of the bands memorabilia, costumes and records, you can even record your own song. Skansen is always a hit with the kids. The world’s largest open-air museum is a village of houses, dwellings and farms dating back to the 16th century. It is also home to 75 species of animals, including many that are native to Scandinavia. The petting zoo and aquarium are also a big hit with the young ones.
The sheer scale of the Vasa Ship in the museum of the same name will impress the whole family. When you see the reconstructed ship with your own eyes, you’ll realize why it took two years to build in the 1600s. Find out why it was raised from the seabed after nearly three hundred years and lovingly restored. As you see it now in all its glory, it is hard not to be impressed by this special vessel. The Tekniska Museum is ideal for challenge children through interaction and innovation. The highly rated Tom Tits Experiment also offers interactive experiments and projects to get the adults and kids thinking.
One thing is for sure. Your Stockholm vacation will be packed with cultural highlights regardless of who you are travelling with. Along the way, don’t forget to marvel and the stunning architecture, archipelago and waterways along the way. With a choice of Radisson Blu Hotels in Stockholm, you are never far from the city’s museums.
Top image © Matej Kastelic/Shutterstock.com