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Stockholm in Five Museums

The lively city is a hatchery of new trends in music, technology and design, innovations which often go viral around the world. Its art centres –museums, galleries, spaces for creation– are the places for taking the city’s pulse and feeling its spirit. Let’s visit the most emblematic venues, each of them a world unto itself, and immerse ourselves in the city’s contemporary art, photography, decorative arts, and music.

Stockholm boasts a rich, thousand-year-old cultural heritage, with wonderful architecture, museums, the Royal Palace, and the perfectly preserve medieval city centre, the Gamla Stan. Here, trendy bars and fine restaurants mingled with historic cafés and pubs. Similarly, modern shopping streets and malls feature all the major international brands, along with a stunning variety of local boutiques unusual shops, and the city’s museums range from the classic Vasa Museum to ABBA The Museum, and Fotografiska. In Stockholm there are more than a hundred cultural and recreational attractions to choose from. Here’s our choice of just five:

The Vasa Museum

The Vasamuseet features the Vasa, the world’s sole surviving, almost fully intact 17th C. ship, a real artistic treasure. More than 95% of the ship is original, and it is adorned with numerous carved wooden sculpture. The 69-metre-long, 64-gun warship sank on her maiden voyage in 1628, and was salvaged 333 years later, in 1961. Nearly fifty years were spent restoring the ship to her original splendour. Her three masts tower above the building that now houses the Vasa. The museum is today the most popular in all Scandinavia, and receives more that a million visitors each year. Ten separate exhibits illustrate different aspects of the ship, including what life aboard was like. Children are admitted gratis.

Royal Palace

The 600-room Royal Palace or Kungahus, still the residence of the Swedish royal family, is one of Europe’s largest palaces. It is open to the public and houses no fewer than five museums. It was built in the Italian baroque style in the 18th C. on the site of the 13th C. Tre Kronor (Three Crowns) palace which burned to the ground in 1697. Visitors first see the splendid reception halls whose breathtaking furnishings and adornments date from the 18th and 19th centuries. Next is the Rikssalen (Hall of State) with the silver throne used by Queen Christina (1629-1689). Also worth seeing are the Ordenssalarna (apartments of the orders of chivalry), the Gustav III’s Museum of Antiquities, the Kronor Tre Museum, and the Treasury.

The Royal Palace also houses the Armoury, with its marvellous collection of royal costumes and body armour, the coronation carriages, and the magnificent horses in the Royal Stables. The colourful changing of the guard ceremony can be watched at 12:15 h. on weekdays and at 13:15 h. on Sundays and holidays.

Fotografiska

One of the world’s largest photography museums, Fotografiska stages as many as four major and twenty smaller exhibitions each year. It shows the works of Swedish and foreign photographers, both established and emerging. The new restaurant in the museum is run by master chef Paul Svensson and has already won awards for its seasonal and ecological dishes. From the café on the top floor visitors can enjoy some of the best views of Stockholm.

Moderna Museet

Here we find one of Europe’s most important contemporary art collections, with works dating from the early 20th C. to the present, including masterpieces by Picasso, Dali, Matisse, and Sweden’s own Siri Derkert. Its permanent collection and its temporary exhibitions make it a must for visiting art lovers. The Moderna Museet is located on Stockholm’s fairytale Skeppsholmen island in a spectacular building by the Spanish architect Rafael Moneo. Its restaurant affords lovely views Djurgården park and Strandvägen boulevard.

ABBA The Museum

Music, clothing, lyrics, videos, and interactive displays concerning Sweden’s most celebrated pop group ABBA can be seen and heard in this museum on the island of Djurgården. The famous quartet, founded in 1970, sold more than 378 million records before is disbanded in 1983. Its biggest hit, “Waterloo”, reached the top of the charts in 1974. The 1994 musical “Mamma Mia” revived interest in the group.

The vibe in Stockholm is open, easy-going, and welcoming. Diversity and innovation are prized. Stockholm is a place the whole world should visit. So, what are you waiting for? Check out our fares here!

Text: Isabel y Luis Comunicación

Illustrations: Visit Stockholm, Ola Ericson