Museums in Sweden

The Royal Coin Cabinet

The Royal Coin Cabinet is a museum dedicated to the history of money. The museum includes exhibitions of coins, banknotes (the first in the world was issued in 1661 by Stockholms Banco), treasure hoards and piggy banks. Particularly notable are the oldest Swedish coin, a copper plate coin dating from Queen Christina's reign in 1644 that is thought at 19.7 kg to be the heaviest in the world, some of the Lohe treasure found ...
Founded: | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Vasa Museum

The Vasa Museum (Vasamuseet) is a maritime museum displaying the only almost fully intact 17th century ship that has ever been salvaged, the 64-gun warship Vasa that sank on her maiden voyage in 1628. Opened in 1990, the Vasa Museum is one of the most visited museums in Scandinavia. The main hall contains the ship itself and various exhibits related to the archaeological findings of the ships and early 17th century Swede ...
Founded: 1990 | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm City Museum

The Stockholm City Museum documents and exhibits the history of Stockholm. It was opened to the public in 1942 and located in the palace completed in 1685. The museum is the largest municipal museum in Sweden, and houses collections which include 300,000 items of historical interest; 20,000 works of art and 3 million photographs. The museum has two permanent exhibitions, one called "The Stockholm Exhibition - Based on a ...
Founded: 1942 | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

The Museum of Medieval Stockholm

The Museum of Medieval Stockholm was constructed around old monuments excavated in an extensive archaeological dig in the late 1970s. Part of Stockholm's city wall, dating from the early 16th century, was also found. The museum enables visitors to experience medieval Stockholm, with its brick houses and booths, workshops, harbour and gallows. It relates the medieval history of the city from the 1250s to the 1520s. In 2010 ...
Founded: | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Skansen Open Air Museum

Skansen is the first open air museum and zoo in Sweden. It was founded in 1891 by Artur Hazelius (1833-1901) to show the way of life in the different parts of Sweden before the industrial era. Skansen attracts more than 1.3 million visitors each year. The many exhibits over the 75 acre (300,000 m²) site include a full replica of an average 19th-century town, in which craftsmen in traditional dress such as tanners, shoema ...
Founded: 1891 | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Uppland Museum

The Upplandsmuseet (Uppland Museum) is the county museum of Uppsala County. The institution is responsible for preservation and conducting research in the area of the cultural history and archaeology of the county, including the city of Uppsala (parts of the historical province of Uppland, from which the museum takes its name, belong to Stockholm County). The permanent exhibition covers subjects such as the history of the ...
Founded: | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Gustavianum

Gustavianum is the former main building of Uppsala University, built 1622–1625 and named after King Gustavus Adolphus. Under the cupola is the theatrum anatomicum, the second oldest in the world added to the building in the mid 17th century by Olaus Rudbeck, professor of medicine and amateur architect, among other things. Although still used for lectures and conferences, most of Gustavianum functions as a museum, i ...
Founded: 1622-1625 | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Gothenburg Museum of Art

The Göteborg Museum of Art at Götaplatsen, Gothenburg, is renowned for its collection of Nordic art from around the close of the 19th century. A must see is the lavishly decorated Fürstenberg Gallery, named after a leading Gothenburg art donor, Pontus Fürstenberg and his wife Göthilda. Among the artists showcased one can mention Carl Larsson, Anders Zorn, and P.S. Kröyer. The museum also hou ...
Founded: 1923 | Location: Gothenburg, Sweden

Lund Historical Museum

The Historical museum in Lund, founded in 1805, is the second largest archaeological museum in Sweden. Its collections contain among other things Kilian Stobaeus' Cabinet of Curiosities from the 18th century, thousands of finds from the excavations of the Iron Age city of Uppåkra and numerous artefacts from the Scanian Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages. The museum also has the second largest coin collection in the country ...
Founded: 1805 | Location: Lund, Sweden

Medical History Museum

History of health and medical care is exhibited in a 200-year-old former hospital. The museum is located in the Oterdahl building, donated by wholesaler Aron Oterdahl in 1808 to Sahlgren hospital as a gift “for time eternal”. The exhibition is set up based on various, still current, themes and presents a history of the development of western medicine from antiquity to our times.
Founded: 1808 | Location: Gothenburg, Sweden

Strindberg Museum

The Strindberg Museum (Strindbergsmuseet) is dedicated to the writer August Strindberg and located in his last dwelling, in the house he nicknamed the "Blå tornet" (The Blue Tower). The Museum is owned by the Strindberg Society of Sweden and was inaugurated in 1973. Strindberg moved to the house in 1908 and lived there until his death in 1912. The Museum consists of Strindberg's flat and library, as well as an area ...
Founded: 1973 | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Gotland Museum

The fine Gotlands Fornsal Museum provides comprehensive coverage of Visby's past. Housed in an 18th century distillery and a medieval warehouse, it holds five storeys of exhibition halls covering eight thousand years of history, as well as a good courtyard café and bookshop. Among the most impressive sections are the Hall of Picture Stones, a collection of richly carved stones dating mostly from the 5th to 11th ce ...
Founded: 1875 | Location: Visby, Sweden

Swedish Army Museum

The Swedish Army Museum, was awarded the title of the best museum of Stockholm in 2005. Its displays illustrate the military history of Sweden, including its modern policy of neutrality, and of the Swedish Army. The building was erected in the 17th century as an arsenal for the production and storage of artillery weapons. The exhibition includes life-size figures of soldiers of past centuries, as well as scenes of the gr ...
Founded: 2002 | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

East India Company House

The old East India Company House (now the City Museum) was once the hub of Sweden's trade with the Far East. Most seafaring nations in the 18th century had an East India company which held a monopoly on trade with the East. Scottish merchants were not part of the lucrative dealings of the English, so Scot Colin Campbell, in association with Niclas Sahlgren in Gothenburg, devised an idea for a Swedish East India Company, w ...
Founded: 1750-1762 | Location: Gothenburg, Sweden

National Historical Museum

The National Historical Museum (Historiska muséet) covers Swedish cultural history and art from the Stone Age to the 16th century. The museum is known for its so called "Gold Room" (Guldrummet) by the architect Leif Blomberg, where a large number of gold objects are kept as part of the exhibition. The museum hosts also the largest Viking exhibition, with more than 4,000 original artifacts.
Founded: 1866 | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Gothenburg Maritime Museum

The exhibitions at the Maritime Museum tell 400 years of maritime history. Themes include pirates past and present, life at sea, the Swedish American Line and much more. There are four permanent exhibitions displaying the history of sea routes, flows of people and ideas, Gothenburg port and technical development of seafaring.
Founded: | Location: Gothenburg, Sweden

Naval Museum

Marinmuseum (Naval Museum) is Sweden"s national naval museum, dedicated to the Swedish naval defense and preservation of the country"s naval history. Marinmuseum is one of Sweden"s oldest museums, established in 1752 when King Adolf Frederick began the collection and documentation of naval objects in what was called the Model Room (Modellkammaren). He also ordered the preservation of ship models and ship bu ...
Founded: 1752 | Location: Karlskrona, Sweden

The Jewish Museum

The Jewish Museum in Stockholm is the only one of its kind in the Nordic countries. The permanent exhibition displays unique objects and settings that give an account of the lives and traditions of Jews.
Founded: | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Sigtuna Museum

Sigtuna Museum exhibits the history of Sigtuna, Sweden's oldest medieval city. The museum is located on the site where the first royal palace was built in the late 900’s AD. The museum dates back to 1916 and the current museum has been built in the 1960s with new showrooms, reception and storage. The permanent exhibition displays Sigtuna's earliest history. Although the museum is active in many areas the archaeological ...
Founded: 1916 | Location: Sigtuna, Sweden

Blekinge County Museum

Blekinge Museum is a regional museum that was founded in 1899. Since 1972 it is housed in Grevagården, one of the oldest buildings and the only remaining town farm in Karlskrona. Grevagården was completed 1705 as the home of Admiral General Count Wachtmeister, one of the founders of Karlskrona. Since Blekinge is a marked coastal county with an archipelago, the maritime heritage is a chief focus. Blekinge muse ...
Founded: 1899 | Location: Karlskrona, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Pembroke Castle

Pembroke Castle is a Norman castle, founded in 1093. It survived many changes of ownership and is now the largest privately owned castle in Wales. It was the birthplace of Henry Tudor (later Henry VII of England) in 1457.

Pembroke Castle stands on a site that has been occupied at least since the Roman period. Roger de Montgomerie, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury founded the first castle here in the 11th century. Although only made from earth and wood, Pembroke Castle resisted several Welsh attacks and sieges over the next 30 years. The castle was established at the heart of the Norman-controlled lands of southwest Wales.

When William Rufus died, Arnulf de Montgomery joined his elder brother, Robert of Bellême, in rebellion against Henry I, William's brother and successor as king; when the rebellion failed, he was forced to forfeit all his British lands and titles. Henry appointed his castellan, but when the chosen ally turned out to be incompetent, the King reappointed Gerald in 1102. By 1138 King Stephen had given Pembroke Castle to Gilbert de Clare who used it as an important base in the Norman invasion of Ireland.

In August 1189 Richard I arranged the marriage of Isabel, de Clare's granddaughter, to William Marshal who received both the castle and the title, Earl of Pembroke. He had the castle rebuilt in stone and established the great keep at the same time. Marshal was succeeded in turn by each of his five sons. His third son, Gilbert Marshal, was responsible for enlarging and further strengthening the castle between 1234 and 1241.

Later de Valence family held Pembroke for 70 years. During this time, the town was fortified with defensive walls, three main gates and a postern. Pembroke Castle became de Valence's military base for fighting the Welsh princes during the conquest of North Wales by Edward I between 1277 and 1295.

Pembroke Castle then reverted to the crown. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the castle was a place of peace until the outbreak of the English Civil War. Although most of South Wales sided with the King, Pembroke declared for Parliament. It was besieged by Royalist troops but was saved after Parliamentary reinforcements arrived by sea from nearby Milford Haven. Parliamentary forces then went on to capture the Royalist castles of Tenby, Haverfordwest and Carew.

In 1648, at the beginning of the Second Civil War, Pembroke's commander Colonel John Poyer led a Royalist uprising. Oliver Cromwell came to Pembroke on 24 May 1648 and took the castle after a seven-week siege. Its three leaders were found guilty of treason and Cromwell ordered the castle to be destroyed. Townspeople were even encouraged to disassemble the fortress and re-use its stone for their purposes.

The castle was then abandoned and allowed to decay. It remained in ruins until 1880, when a three-year restoration project was undertaken. Nothing further was done until 1928, when Major-General Sir Ivor Philipps acquired the castle and began an extensive restoration of the castle's walls, gatehouses, and towers. After his death, a trust was set up for the castle, jointly managed by the Philipps family and Pembroke town council.

Architecture

The castle is sited on a strategic rocky promontory by the Milford Haven Waterway. The first fortification on the site was a Norman motte-and-bailey. It had earthen ramparts and a timber palisade.

In 1189, Pembroke Castle was acquired by William Marshal. He soon became Lord Marshal of England, and set about turning the earth and wood fort into an impressive Norman stone castle. The inner ward, which was constructed first, contains the huge round keep with its domed roof. Its original first-floor entrance was through an external stairwell. Inside, a spiral staircase connected its four stories. The keep's domed roof also has several putlog holes that supported a wooden fighting-platform. If the castle was attacked, the hoarding allowed defenders to go out beyond the keep's massive walls above the heads of the attackers.

The inner ward's curtain wall had a large horseshoe-shaped gateway. But only a thin wall was required along the promontory. This section of the wall has a small observation turret and a square stone platform. Domestic buildings including William Marshal's Great Hall and private apartments were within the inner ward. The 13th century keep is 23 metres tall with walls up to 6 metres thick at its base.

In the late 13th century, additional buildings were added to the inner ward, including a new Great Hall. A 55-step spiral staircase was also created that led down to a large limestone cave, known as Wogan Cavern, beneath the castle. The cave, which was created by natural water erosion, was fortified with a wall, a barred gateway and arrowslits. It may have served as a boathouse or a sallyport to the river where cargo or people could have been transferred.

The outer ward was defended by a large twin-towered gatehouse, a barbican and several round towers. The outer wall is 5 metres thick in places and constructed from Siltstone ashlar.

Although Pembroke Castle is a Norman-style enclosure castle with great keep, it can be more accurately described as a linear fortification because, like the later 13th-century castles at Caernarfon and Conwy, it was built on a rocky promontory surrounded by water. This meant that attacking forces could only assault on a narrow front. Architecturally, Pembroke's thickest walls and towers are all concentrated on its landward side facing the town, with Pembroke River providing a natural defense around the rest of its perimeter.