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 (15 days 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 (22 days 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 (32 days 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 (37 days 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 (40 days 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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Eketorp Fort

Eketorp is an Iron Age fort in southeastern Öland, which was extensively reconstructed and enlarged in the Middle Ages. Throughout the ages the fortification has served a variety of somewhat differing uses: from defensive ringfort, to medieval safe haven and thence a cavalry garrison. In the 20th century it was further reconstructed to become a heavily visited tourist site and a location for re-enactment of medieval battles. Eketorp is the only one of the 19 known prehistoric fortifications on Öland that has been completely excavated, yielding a total of over 24,000 individual artifacts. The entirety of southern Öland has been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Eketorp fortification is often referred to as Eketorp Castle.

The indigenous peoples of the Iron Age constructed the original fortification about 400 AD, a period known to have engendered contact between Öland natives with Romans and other Europeans. The ringfort in that era is thought to have been a gathering place for religious ceremonies and also a place of refuge for the local agricultural community when an outside enemy appeared. The circular design was believed to be chosen because the terrain is so level that attack from any side was equally likely. The original diameter of this circular stone fortification was about 57 metres. In the next century the stone was moved outward to construct a new circular structure of about 80 metres in diameter. At this juncture there were known to be about fifty individual cells or small structures within the fort as a whole. Some of these cells were in the center of the fortified ring, and some were actually built into the wall itself.

In the late 600s AD the ringfort was mysteriously abandoned, and it remained unused until the early 11th century. This 11th century work generally built upon the earlier fort, except that stone interior cells were replaced with timber structures, and a second outer defensive wall was erected.

Presently the fort is used as a tourist site for visitors to Öland to experience a medieval fortification for this region. A museum within the castle walls displays a few of the large number of artefacts retrieved by the National Heritage Board during the major decade long excavation ending in 1974. Inside the fort visitors are greeted by actors in medieval costumes who assume the roles of period artisans and merchants who might have lived there nine centuries earlier. There are also re-enactment scenes of skirmishes and other dramatic events of daily life from the Middle Ages.

Eketorp lies a few kilometers west of Route 136. There is an ample unpaved parking area situated approximately two kilometers west of the paved Öland perimeter highway. There is also a gift shop on site. During peak summer visitation, there are guided tours available. Visitors are assessed an admission charge.