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What to do in Stockholm: Top 10 Most Interesting and Colourful Museums

Museums of Stockholm
Photo taken by Wikimedia.org.  Museums of Stockholm

These days, flying to Stockholm from the Baltics is cheaper and easier than ever before. You can reach this city not only be ferry, but also on cheap flights. And there’s certainly quite a lot to see here. This city, full of islands and canals, overwhelms with its architecture and royal mightiness. Even though the Swedish capital is not a cheap travel destination, it’s well worth visiting due to its many interesting museums, where your days will pass purposefully and quickly.

1. The Nordic Museum (Nordiska Museet)

Nordic museum in Stockholm
Photo taken by Wikimedia.org.  Nordic museum in Stockholm

It’s the largest cultural and history museum in Sweden, which will take you well over an hour to explore. You won’t be disappointed, though, as this gigantic, luxurious Renaissance-style building is home to over 1.5 million items that were used by the inhabitants of Swedish towns and villages, as well as the Northern Sami tribes. The exposition, spanning the time from 1520 to this day, consists of fashion attributes, footwear, accessories, interior pieces and household objects. This museum also has the world’s largest collection of paintings by the writer and playwright August Strindberg. An audio course will help you get better acquainted with the Swedish way of life.

2. The Museum of Modern Art (Moderna Museet)

Sculptures outside Moderna Museet
Photo taken by Wikimedia.org.  Sculptures outside Moderna Museet

In this museum, you’ll be able to dive right into the 20th-century art heritage of not only Sweden, but the entire world. Here you’ll see the works of P. Picasso, S. Dalí, S. Derkert, H. Matisse and many others, from the classics of modernism to contemporary art.

The Museum of Modern Art, located on the picturesque Island of Skeppsholmen, was designed by the Spanish architect Rafael Moneo. The museum is modern not only in its exhibits, but also its educational programmes, which will appeal to children and adults alike. Nearby you’ll also find a souvenir shop, a library and a pleasant restaurant.

3. The Swedish Museum of Photography

Photography museum, Stockholm
Photo taken by Holger Ellgaard / wikimedia.org.  Photography museum, Stockholm

The Swedish Museum of Photography is one of the country’s most interesting museums. Here you’ll find a wide range of pictures from different eras, a constantly changing exposition of photographs by different artists, documentary film screenings, a restaurant, a souvenir shop, and a terrace with an excellent view of the city. During recent years, the museum has steadily grown in popularity, and is now recognised as one of the best photography expositions in the world.

4. The Open-Air Museum of Skansen

small wooden fairy hut on chicken legs, Skansen park, Stockholm , Sweden
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  small wooden fairy hut on chicken legs, Skansen park, Stockholm , Sweden

Skansen is the oldest open-air museum in the world. This park, located on the Island of Djurgården, will occupy you for an entire day. It’s not only the old buildings of Swedish settlements, the authentic environment, the interesting educational programmes and people dressed in clothes from different ears, but also the fantastic Stockholm Zoo.

Skansen is home to over 150 different buildings and houses. Here you’ll even find entire town quarters with manors, stables, bakeries, a wooden church, a pottery kiln and other important historic premises. In the zoo, you’ll see the traditional Swedish animals – elks, bears, lynxes, wolves and seals.

5. The Vasa Museum

The warship Vasa museum, Stockholm
Photo taken by OneHungLow / wikimedia.jpg.  The warship Vasa museum, Stockholm

The incredible Vasa battle ship, which was supposed to be the pride of the Swedish Royal Navy, sank during its first voyage in 1628. In 1961, thanks to a complicated salvage operation, it was brought back to surface. Now, visitors of the museum can transport themselves back in time and explore this ancient ship, 95 per cent of which has remained intact. The masts seen on the museum’s rooftop aren’t just for attracting tourists, either – all three of them are exact copies of the masts on the ship itself.

Before heading out, you should know this is the most popular museum in Sweden, visited by roughly a million people every year. So make peace with the fact that you’re not going to be the only one who’s going to come to see the ship.

6. The Royal Palace of Stockholm (Sveriges Kunghaus)

Swedish flag with the Royal Castle in background, Stockholm
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Swedish flag with the Royal Castle in background, Stockholm

You might need an entire day here as well. This palace, located on the edge of the city’s beautiful Old Town, is the Swedish king’s official place of residence. Interestingly enough, the Queen’s residence is located elsewhere.

The Royal Palace of Stockholm is a reminder of the former Swedish Empire’s might. The palace has over 600 rooms and as many as 5 museums with truly noteworthy expositions. Here you’ll see the golden throne of Queen Christina, the Museum of Antiques, the arsenal, the Three Crown Museum and the treasury.

7. ABBA: The Museum

ABBA The Museum main wax statue
Photo taken by Graham C99 / wikimedia.org.  ABBA The Museum main wax statue

This long-awaited temple for the gods of Swedish pop music is a favourite even with those who don’t really like their music. It’s an interactive entertainment-filled museum, where every square metre offers something new – from interesting photos to music videos or the bus these superstar performers rode in during the early years.

The museum even has the helicopter from the cover of the 1976 album Arrival. Now, every fan can get inside and take pictures. You can also dance together with projections of the four band members, visit a restored recording studio, and even record your own song in the recording booth.

8. The National Museum of Science and Technology

Sciense and technology museum in Stockholm
Photo taken by Holger Ellgaard / wikimedia.org.  Sciense and technology museum in Stockholm

Another museum to stimulate your imagination, where people of any age group will find something of interest, is the National Science and Technology Museum. Here you’ll find many interesting expositions. Upon arrival, visitors are greeted by the international invention hall, where you’ll find described and vividly depicted inventions that changed the world – from the wheel and writing to the latest scientific discoveries. For instance, to illustrate the invention of the ball, there’s a mini ping-pong table everybody can try out for themselves. In other rooms you’ll find mirror rooms, various structures and many interactive forms of entertainment, which can teach the little ones how the world woks. Parents won’t be bored, either.

9. The Pippi Longstocking Museum

Who could ever imagine Stockholm without a museum dedicated to fairy tales? Children are going to love this museum, built in honour of the characters created by the famous Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren. You can travel through the museum’s wonderland on a little train and visit the house of Pippi Longstocking. Children can even try on her clothes, and have fun just like she did in the books.

Here you’ll also find a number of other characters born in the minds of children’s writers, and will be able to buy books of fairy tales by various Swedish writers that have been translated into many foreign languages.

10. The Museum of Spirits

Spirit Museum Stockholm
Photo taken by Holger Ellgaard / wikimedia.org.  Spirit Museum Stockholm

It might seem to some that building a museum around the topic of distilled alcohol would be difficult. The Swedes, however, have made it work. The expositions, situated in a number of 18th-century buildings, depict the varying – and sometimes uneasy – relationship this nation had with spirits. The museum covers the manufacturing of various home-brews, traditions and folk songs pertaining to consuming alcohol, dishes that go well with drinks, and holiday traditions. Here you’ll also find a hangover room with screeching music and intensive light. Other rooms hold various expositions, recordings and historical facts related to alcohol. Those who are interested can also order a tasting of various liquor-based drinks.

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