The Ship That Sunk Before It Left The Harbour

The Vasa Museum, view from across the waterfront

If you go to only one museum in Stockholm, go to the Vasa. It intrigued us because on one of our walks, across the waterfront, we saw an impressive ship-like building – the Vasa Museum – sitting next to a classically built edific

The Vasa is a large warship that took 300 men two years to build in 1626. In 1628, it set sail on its inaugural voyage to much fanfare, only to keel over and sink before it made it out of Stockholm harbour. What an anti-climax.

333 years later (such a magic number!), the Swedes salvaged the ship, excavated and restored it, eventually turning it into a 7-floor museum. Conservation is an on-going process. The ship’s size is the most dramatic thing about it. You can go up & down – your choice, elevator or stairs – to look at all the levels of the ship. And they’ve extracted details like the decorative elements, the working objects, and a model ship for a close-up inspection.

Normally, war ships aren’t my thing. However, having been, I can see why it is the most popular museum in Sweden.

~ Spotted Cow

The salvaged Vasa

A view of the model ship from a high floor

Decorative detail on the Vasa

Inside the Vasa Museum


8 thoughts on “The Ship That Sunk Before It Left The Harbour

  1. I adore history like this WC – we had a similar (but much more recent) occurrence when the Hunley, the first submarine ever used in warfare, was excavated from Charleston harbor. Great post.

    1. I am amazed at how they extract these big heavy water-logged things out of the sea and then recover and reconstruct them so that we learn the story. It’s really fascinating.

  2. Imagine the mood of the crowd, the builders and the government that day. I wonder if heads rolled.

    Actually, I do wonder how large ships float. I know the physics but it is still bewildering. 🙂

    1. Heads must’ve rolled ! You know, I wonder the same thing about aeroplanes, i.e. how the get up and stay up in the air. Even knowing the physics makes it bewildering.

  3. it is indeed an amazing and unique museum (though the english have done a really good job with the 16th century mary rose in portsmouth) thanks for taking me there again.

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