Life in Sweden: Vasamuseet!

Here it is, my first post detailing parts of life in Sweden! Well in this case it's more of a touristy museum visit, but it totally counts, because duh who doesn't want to go to European museums whenever they get a chance!!! I know you're excited, because I am, so without further ado: Vasa.  

a 1/10th scale model of Vasa with original paint; the real Vasa ship is visible behind the model 

In 1624 Sweden was a country at war with Poland.  It was a kingdom which ran into a lot of economic problems, ship disasters (due to weather, or battles) and had a scrap of a navy comprising of Germans, Dutch, Swedes, Danes...and then there was the king, Gustavus Adolphus.  For most historical intents and purposes he was a successful king.  The Vasa, a ship he ordered built for the Swedish Navy, was meant to be his grandest and most majestic weapon of destruction.  It came up a little short.

The ship left Stockholm's harbor in August, with a crowd of hundreds, maybe thousands of locals gathered on shore to watch the new flagship leave its home port.  No expense was spared when it came to the Vasa, and it was painted in loud, gaudy colors, so it was easy to see even without a looking glass.  But less than 400 feet later, it sank thanks to nothing more than a small gust of wind.  And from 1628 that's where it remained, until a little more than fifty years ago.

Vasamuseet is now the home of the epic warship.  It's a climate-controlled indoor environment that's used to continue to preserve the vessel after it was lifted up, intact, from the waters of the Baltic Sea.  The museum is amazing because it's literally just built for a gigantic wooden ship, and has multiple levels and balconies so you can see the ship itself from different angles.  There are artifacts recovered from the ship as well, including pipes, chests, pots and pans, jewelry, and clothing.  In addition to all of that, there were the remains of some 15 people available to view in the museum.

The crew and contractors were put on trial extensively and questioned by many, but blame couldn't be put on any one group of people for the ship's demise.  It was too topheavy with a shallow keel, and no one felt quite comfortable bringing forth these problems to the king, who was notoriously adamant that someone else was to blame.  In the end, they called it an act of God.  Seems legit. I'm just happy it sank, because otherwise we would have never found such a well-preserved, intact, gorgeous piece of Swedish history.

So if you're in Stockholm for any reason (one of those reasons could be visiting me!!) stop by Vasamuseet and check out the most hilarious ship fail of Sweden's history!!!

PS. As a bonus, just so you don't start taking me too seriously (part of the blame goes to Henri who actually took the photographs) here is the figurehead of the Vasa: a lion.  With a penis.  So here's the lion and his penis.



  1. This pictures are fantastic. Sounds like a fun time!


  2. Hahaha, a penis!

    That sounds like an awesome museum, I love ships like that! And the background story is awesome.