Updated in September 2019
It’s always a good time to go to Stockholm, but summer is even better. The nights are long, it’s not raining too much, and you can take your delicious local food to go.
Stockholm has an enormous amount of excellent museums. I’ve been to Stockholm 5 times – 2 times working coming only for museums and World Heritage sites.
Here you can find 2 recommendations for the first time visitor and 3 for the returning traveller. So put on your good shoes and glasses, and let’s go!
FOR THE FIRST TIME VISITOR
Stockholm has some of the best museums, I’ve visited. I can be overwhelming, but here are the absolute musts, when visiting the Swedish capital.
You walk in and before entering the large room, you can smell the tar. You gasp as you stand in front of a real 17th century war ship.
Vasa Museum is without a doubt this one of the best museums in the world. The overwhelmingly large ship is the only preserved warship from 17th century in the world!
One of the reasons for its fame is that it’s almost intact. This is because it sank right on its it maiden voyage in front of the king…
The museum itself is actually built round the ship, which just makes it very easy to experience the different parts of the ship. FRom the outside a couple of masts show how high the ship was when it was complete.
Not only is the ship unique, but the museum is pretty good. You can walk around the entire ship on different levels. And it still smells of tar. If you are lucky enough to be a Swedish pupil you can come behind the scene to a complete reconstruction of the upper deck with thunderstorms and cannon fire around you.
Unfortunately, the incredible amount of wood is deteriorating, but science is trying to help the conservation team.
FOTOGRAFISKA is actually not a museum, but an art exhibit. And it is very large. It is housed in a former industrial Art Nouveau style building from 1906. It has been open since 2010, but is already an institution. They show world renowned photographers such as Annie Leibovitz and David LaChapelle, but also newcomers. There are many different exhibitions at once, so you will definitely find something you like.
The café and the bookshop is nice with local food. The café and restaurant have a great view of the harbour and hence brunch is extremely popular here. So book in advance.
FOR THE RETURNING TRAVELLER
Tekniska Museum focuses on science.
This technical and digital museum won as best museum in Sweden in 2016, probably because they let kids and night club architects help develop their exhibitions. Like in the exhibition “Mega Mind” on how we develop ideas! Talk about a difficult subject, and they made it work. It is very educating and fun at the same time. The museum focuses a lot on interactive elements – you can vote on the best inventions ever. I voted for electricity and anesthesia.
Expect to spend many hours here and swing by the excellent gift shop afterwards. Right now, they are building a mathematics garden!
SWEDISH ARMY MUSEUM
Armémuseum is a museum of Swedish military history from 1500 to present day. Not what I usually go for, but it is very interesting.
It is mostly army history, but there was also a small exhibition on the conflicts Sweden are involved in now and a collection of modern weapons. Something that really stood out was the many of the depicted soldiers were women. The museum teaches about warfare, but also on related themes such as hunger, sorrow and propaganda. Most themes are visualized with life-size puppets which is very creepy. As a Dane, it is weird to see yourself represented as the enemy.
MEDIEVAL MUSEUM OF STOCKHOLM
Medeltidsmuseet is a small museum showing life in the middle ages.
The museum is somewhat hidden and underground. It’s built as reconstructed brick buildings, ware houses and shops inhabited with life-size puppets (again puppets) dressed as monks, workers, sick and others to make it feel more medieval-like. The feeling is heightened, since the museum is laid out around a large excavation and features 55 meters of the original 16th century town wall. There is also a real graveyard.
And its free!