Vasa Museum - History and Facts | History Hit

Vasa Museum

Stockholm, Stockholm County, Sweden

The Vasa Museum in Sweden displays the world’s only surviving 17th century warship.

Peta Stamper

15 Jul 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Vasa Museum

The Vasa Museum (Vasamuseet) in Stockholm, Sweden, offers a fascinating and detailed insight into the 17th century Vasa ship, which sank on its maiden voyage but was recovered in the 20th century to become the only surviving ship of its era.

Vasa Museum history

The Vasa was a warship built during the reign of king Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden. It was part of a fleet of warships commissioned by the king in 1625 when Sweden was at war with Poland and was built by an experienced shipbuilder called Henrik Hybertsson.

The Vasa was intended to be a masterpiece of naval engineering with 64 guns and capacity to fit 300 soldiers. It was completed in 1628, but Hybertsson had actually died a year beforehand, leaving his brother in charge.

On 10 August 1628, the Vasa took its maiden voyage before crowds of spectators and with over 150 passengers. However, minutes into the journey, it began to sway violently before it finally tipped over and tragically sank.

Up to 50 people were estimated to have died as a result of the sinking of the Vasa and the disaster prompted numerous criminal investigations, although nobody was convicted. The conclusion of all of the inquiries was that the ship sank as it was badly proportioned.

Vasa Museum today

Open between 10am and 5pm, the Vasa Museum now displays the preserved ship in a purpose-built building for the public to see. Incredibly, the rich mud of the archipelago prevented the ship from too much water decay, allowing it to be retrieved after the ship was found in 1956.

Together with several detailed exhibitions, both about the Vasa itself, its passengers (including a focused exhibition on the women of the Vasa) and about Sweden’s maritime history, the museum invites visitors into a time capsule. Audio guides are available and can even be downloaded online and guided tours also take place.

Getting to the Vasa Museum

Sat beside the water within Stockholm’s island of Ostermalm, the Vasa Museum is easily found on foot or via Stockholm’s public transport. You can get the 80 or 82 ferry over to Allmanna grand terminal or get the 7 tram or 67 bus to Vasamuseet.

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