The museum houses the Vasa, a wooden warship that sank in Stockholm Harbor during her maiden voyage in 1628.
The Vasa Museum has twelve permanent exhibitions. They tell in different ways about Vasa, the time she was in and about her recent history. At the museum one can view the ship as well as most of the items on board when it sank. The main hall of the Vasa Ship Museum houses the restored galleon, which soars to a height of 190 ft and has a total surface area of 150,000 sq ft. The ship has been fitted for winter sailing, with the lower sections of three masts. Visitors to the Vasa Museum can gawk at the imposing structure from six levels, from the keel to the top of the stern castle. 95% of the ship is built of its original oak, and it is said that 40 acres of timber were felled to construct it. The Vasa is so well-preserved because the Baltic Sea is brackish, with nearly no oxygen, salinity, nor wood-destroying organisms.
About the ship
The Vasa was built during the 30 Years’ War of 1618-1648, when Sweden had lost a dozen ships and needed vessels to support King Gustav II Adolph’s military campaign in the Baltic. The ship was the largest in the history of the Swedish fleet, with an extra cannon deck that the king himself had ordered during the Vasa’s construction.
On August 10, 1628, the vessel departed from her mooring in front of the royal palace with some 130 crewmen and wives on board. As she sailed slowly through the islands that separate Stockholm from the open sea, a wind caught the sails, and the top-heavy ship unexpectedly hove to port. Water poured through the open cannon ports, and the ship sank in the 105-foot (32-meter) channel.
Although most of the crew and passengers escaped, some (including the ship’s cat) went down with the Vasa. Sporadic salvage attempts took place over the next 50 years, but the ship was all but forgotten by the end of the 18th Century.
115 21 Stockholm
+46 (0)8-519 548 00
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