As Jen just mentioned, we do our fair share of museuming. Considering we bonded in kindergarten over a shared love of all things art, this is not a surprise. We always leave time to visit the world’s best art museums wherever we go. Sometimes all in one day! At the expense of our feet!
But on our most recent trip to Scandinavia, we branched out from our usual artsy spots to check out some of the other museums Stockholm has to offer, which is a LOT…53 in fact. (Alas, we did not visit the ABBA Museum, though if you followed along on Instastories, you most definitely caught me dancing to some of their bops in our hotel room.)
Although we did the most museuming in Stockholm, I am going to throw in a couple museums we saw in Copenhagen and Malmö because we didn’t see enough museums in those places to do a whole separate post on those. So to start…
Copenhagen loves design. Copenhagen loves chairs. I love design. I love sitting. I’m not an actual designer like Jen but who doesn’t love something that is both beautiful and functional? Like…chairs. Really, this is a thing. Apparently some Danes bestowed the world with some really fabulous chairs and the Designmuseum of Denmark is HERE FOR IT.
Jen and I visited this small museum on our first day (i.e., jetlagged AF), and although some areas were closed for construction, it was still a great start to our trip. Unfortunately we missed the Statens Museum for Kunst, the National Gallery of Denmark, due to the fact that we took two day trips out of Copenhagen during our time there and also due to the fact that either Lonely Planet had SMK’s hours incorrectly listed or our reading comprehension skills are declining, and we did not arrive until after hours. I’ll let you decide which is more probable.
Moderna Museet i Malmö (Malmö, Sweden)
During the Copenhagen half of our trip, we took a day trip to Malmö and visited the little sister branch of Stockholm’s larger Modern Museum of Art. I can’t really find a better word to describe this little gem other than “whimsical.” I mean look at that very orange cafe!
It’s another small museum and probably only took an hour to get through, but it was well worth the visit to see some really cool modern art.
Tre Kronor and Antikmuseum (Stockholm)
In addition to palace-y things (royal apartments, etc.), Stockholm’s Royal Palace, or Kungliga Slotten, also houses a couple of unique museums. Tre Kronor (or “three crowns,” also the emblem of Sweden), is the name of a 13th century castle built where the Royal Palace now stands. You can go underneath the current palace to see the ruins of Tre Kronor, which burned down in 1697.
Upstairs, the palace is home to the Antikmuseum, which is reminiscent of the Met’s Greek and Roman art collection (though much smaller). One ticket to the Palace gets you into both of these museums as well as the royal apartments. Sweet deal.
Vasa Museet (Stockholm)
Look I’ll be really honest here. I am not totally sure I understand the draw of Stockholm’s Vasa Museum. This museum earned “must-see” raves from a WIDE-RANGING group of people. Everyone from my favorite bloggers to our lunatic dinner companion at the Flying Elk.
Don’t get me wrong. This is a cool museum (with a great cafe for fika) done really well considering it is basically a museum built around a ship. Like…it is a very big ship. It is a very old ship. It is a very intricately decorated ship. But I did not have the same moment of awe and amazement that everyone else seemed to have. (I don’t think Jen did either.) Vikings are cool, big ships are cool, museums are cool…I guess I just feel like maybe I missed something?
OK, I’ll give it this. The Vasa’s story is pretty dope. It was a warship and basically left its port and capsized and sank five minutes later in 1628. That is not the dope part. (Clearly incompetence existed in the 1600s as well.) It chilled down there for 333 (!) years before it was excavated, and I guess the fresh, clean Scandinavian waters kept it pretty well preserved. Now the Vasa Museum is Stockholm’s most visited museum. (Again, that is out of 53 museums in this tiny city.)
So I’m not saying don’t visit it. It is…cool. I’m just saying I didn’t have some spiritual experience or something.
Fotografiska, the photography museum, is probably my favorite of the museums we visited on this trip. My photos don’t do it justice because (lol) I suck at photography. Located in Södermalm, it was somewhat of a pain in the ass to get to from where we were, but totally worth it. All of the exhibits were engaging, stunning, and impressive.
When we were there, my favorite exhibit was a fashion photography one, and one of the coolest exhibits I’ve seen anywhere in the world was there, featuring a set of photos from each of Sweden’s political parties leading up to last year’s general election. Each party was invited to contribute photos that they felt best represented their vision for the future of Sweden.
Moderna Museet (Stockholm)
Not surprising, given the taste we got at the Modern Museum in Malmö, Stockholm’s own Moderna Museet was full of modern classics as well as some surprising and entertaining pieces from. Click on the lower right-hand corner image above to enlarge it, and name that Vice President!
Next door/attached to the Moderna Museet was ArkDes, Sweden’s National Centre for Architecture and Design. This is another small one, but totally worth it. ArkDes’s permanent exhibit is all about Swedish architecture and how it has formed cities like Stockholm. It’s a cool lesson in environmental architecture and design (something I knew nothing about), and I loved it.
Thank you Scandinavia for a refreshing set of museums!