Vasa Museum re-creates era of
giant wooden warships
By Jonas Tyden
July 30, 2008 | STOCKHOLM, Sweden --- The Vasa Museum
was opened in 1990, and inside the museum is the Vasa
ship. The museum is on the island Djurgården in Stockholm,
and the maritime museum is one of the most visited in
Scandinavia. The history of the Vasa Museum goes back
to the 1620s. In that time, Sweden was in a war with
Poland and the Vasa ship was buildt to strengthen the
In 1625, the King Gustaf II Adolf ordered four ships
to be built, and Vasa was supposed to be the biggest
one of them. One thousand oak trees were cut to build
the ship that is 69 meters long, 12 meters wide, and
with a mainmast that is 52 meters tall. The ship has
64 cannons and it would have been a great asset for
Sweden in the war.
On its first journey, ironically the Vasa ship sank
only a few minutes after it had left Skeppsholmen in
Stockholm. The cannons were still open after the salute
and the ship started to take in water. Not many of the
145 members of the crew survived since they didn't know
how to swim. An extra 300 soldiers were supposed to
board the ship and the ship would have carried a total
crew of 445 soldiers.
After the Vasa ship sank attempts were made to pick
it out of the water, but all of them were unsuccessful.
The Vasa ship lay on the bottom of Lake Mälaren for
hundreds of years and it became a legend.
No one knew were it was located until Anders Franzén
started looking for it in the 1954. He was looking for
it everyday, and one day in 1956 he got a piece of oak
wood from the water. Divers went down to look, and they
found the ship laying at the bottom of lake Mälaren.
The ship was finally taken up from lake Mälaren in 1961.
That was 333 years after it had sank. The ship was in
good condition, but many of the original sculptures
had been destroyed.
The last time I visited the Vasa Museum was in 1993,
and I was 9 years old. I still remember it, and I thought
it was amazing. The museum is big, and the masts come
out of the roof. You can see the museum from many different
sights in Stockholm because of the masts, but it is
not until you walk inside the musuem that you realize
how big and beautiful the Vasa ship is.
Vasa is the only ship in the world from the 17th century
that is almost intact. Many of the wood sculptures that
were outside the ship have been recreated. The ship
originally had about 500 sculptures, and many of them
are shaped like Lions.
When you walk into the museum you get a feeling of
what it must have been at that time. The wars that were
fought were primitive, and Vasa would have been terrifying
for any opponent at that time. The ship is extremely
beautiful with quite a few of its "Lion head sculptures"
intact. You can walk around the entire ship and it is
possible get within a few meters of the ship.
The entry fee to visit the musuem is $15 for adults,
$10 for students and free for people under 18. I definitely
encourage anyone who visits Stockholm to go to the Vasa
Musuem. It has only been open for 18 years, but the
ship has great history and it is amazing to see a ship
that well preserved from the 1600s.