Skansen Open Air Museum

Stockholm, Sweden

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, shoemakers, silversmiths, bakers and glass-blowers demonstrate their skills in period surroundings.

There is even a small patch growing tobacco used for the making of cigarettes. There is also an open-air zoo containing a wide range of Scandinavian animals including the bison, brown bear, moose, grey seal, lynx, otter,red fox, reindeer, wolf, and wolverine (as well as some non-Scandinavian animals due to their popularity). There are also farmsteads where rare breeds of farm animals can be seen. In early December the site's central Bollnäs square is host to a popular Christmas market that has been held since 1903, attracting around 25,000 visitors each weekend. In the summer there are displays of folk dancing and concerts.

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Details

Founded: 1891
Category: Museums in Sweden
Historical period: Union with Norway and Modernization (Sweden)

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Valerio Meletti (2 years ago)
Excellent for children: very interesting reconstructions of local traditional activities from all over Sweden; open air zoo with Nordic animals (always a pity, but at least they have lots of space compared to other zoos). At Xmas I'd recommend to visit during
Marcus Bernestrom (3 years ago)
Best time to visit is when the Christmas market is on, with dancing and lots of traditional foods and traditions. Any Swedish holiday deserve a visit though as interactive displays of traditional celebrations take place. Midsummer celebrations are spectacular, Christmas and New Years are great. Any time of year it is worth a visit though. Meet spring when seasons shift and animals and flowers wake up, summer with active animals and gorgeous days and nights, with ter with its coat of snow and houses to visit including where traditional bread is made, glass is blown and much more.
Martin Caruso (3 years ago)
Awesome open air museum/zoo. I went knowing very little about the place and had a grand time. The museum portion is amazing and pretty informative. They have all kinds of traditional workshops and trades going which is very unique. The zoo portion is also great where they have many of the regional animals available for viewing.
Eryn Zook (3 years ago)
Wonderful place to visit. Especially with children. In December they have a Julmarknad (Christmas Market) with booths selling all sorts of candy, clothing, and toys that are time appropriate for the theme. There are old building you can explore that are the original houses built back in the first day in Stockholm. The workers are all dressed time appropriate as well! And enjoyable experience for both children and adults.
James Skelton (3 years ago)
Amazing park! I came here by myself as I had a free day and had a great time. The open air museum is very interesting and the Nordic animals area is wonderful for those visiting Sweden on a tight schedule. Staff are all very friendly and all demonstrations were in both Swedish and English - which is very helpful!
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Glimmingehus

Glimmingehus is the best preserved medieval stronghold in Scandinavia. It was built 1499-1506, during an era when Scania formed a vital part of Denmark, and contains many defensive arrangements of the era, such as parapets, false doors and dead-end corridors, 'murder-holes' for pouring boiling pitch over the attackers, moats, drawbridges and various other forms of death traps to surprise trespassers and protect the nobles against peasant uprisings. The lower part of the castle's stone walls are 2.4 meters (94 inches) thick and the upper part 1.8 meters (71 inches).

Construction was started in 1499 by the Danish knight Jens Holgersen Ulfstand and stone-cutter-mason and architect Adam van Düren, a North German master who also worked on Lund Cathedral. Construction was completed in 1506.

Ulfstand was a councillor, nobleman and admiral serving under John I of Denmark and many objects have been uncovered during archeological excavations that demonstrate the extravagant lifestyle of the knight's family at Glimmingehus up until Ulfstand's death in 1523. Some of the most expensive objects for sale in Europe during this period, such as Venetian glass, painted glass from the Rhine district and Spanish ceramics have been found here. Evidence of the family's wealth can also be seen inside the stone fortress, where everyday comforts for the knight's family included hot air channels in the walls and bench seats in the window recesses. Although considered comfortable for its period, it has also been argued that Glimmingehus was an expression of "Knighthood nostalgia" and not considered opulent or progressive enough even to the knight's contemporaries and especially not to later generations of the Scanian nobility. Glimmingehus is thought to have served as a residential castle for only a few generations before being transformed into a storage facility for grain.

An order from Charles XI to the administrators of the Swedish dominion of Scania in 1676 to demolish the castle, in order to ensure that it would not fall into the hands of the Danish king during the Scanian War, could not be executed. A first attempt, in which 20 Scanian farmers were ordered to assist, proved unsuccessful. An additional force of 130 men were sent to Glimmingehus to execute the order in a second attempt. However, before they could carry out the order, a Danish-Dutch naval division arrived in Ystad, and the Swedes had to abandon the demolition attempts. Throughout the 18th century the castle was used as deposit for agricultural produce and in 1924 it was donated to the Swedish state. Today it is administered by the Swedish National Heritage Board.

On site there is a museum, medieval kitchen, shop and restaurant and coffee house. During summer time there are several guided tours daily. In local folklore, the castle is described as haunted by multiple ghosts and the tradition of storytelling inspired by the castle is continued in the summer events at the castle called "Strange stories and terrifying tales".