Swedish Museum of History (Historiska)

by on 03/08/18 at 1:41 pm

Historiska Museet (The Swedish Museum of History) is a good and interesting museum but, unfortunately, is often overlooked in favor of more famous Stockholm museums like the Vasa Museum and Skansen. A little strange when you consider that Vikings (featured prominently in the museum) are one of the things, historically, that Sweden is most famous for. And an extra plus: the museum has free admission! My parents were visiting last month, and I took my dad to revisit Historiska last week.

The museum is probably best known for “The Gold Room”, an amazing collection of silver and gold artifacts and jewellery from the Middle Ages, Viking period and even earlier. Many of the objects have been found by farmers, buried in their fields. Hoards hidden for one reason or another. The amount is impressive… the Gold Room contains a total of 52 kilograms of gold and 200 kilograms of silver. Of special note are all of the Roman and Arabic coins, which shows how interconnected Europe was during the Dark Ages and how far reaching the Vikings were.

The Vikings’ presence in the museum is not limited to the gold they left behind… there is also an impressive, permanent exhibition at the museum dedicated to our famous ancestors. Here you can learn about Viking culture, history and everyday life. Hopefully you will come away with a better understanding of the Vikings. To start off with, “viking” was actually a profession not a people and while they are most famous for terrorizing Europe, they were more successful as traders and colonizers. Many of the artifacts here come from Birka, the old Viking trading town located just outside Stockholm (and a great place to visit during the summer).

When you consider that the Viking period only stretched for a little more than 250 years, then you understand that Swedish history is more than just the Vikings! The museum has one exhibition which gives a great overview of the history of Sweden from the 11th century until today. Another exhibition that I particularly like looks at medieval art with the majority of objects coming from churches (from Sweden’s Catholic past- relics, crucifixes, madonnas and altar pieces).  Click here for a full list of current exhibitions.

Historiska is located in the Östermalm neighborhood. To get there from the Rival Hotel, take the subway to Karlaplan (red line, in the direction of Ropsten). But if you are on the island of Djurgården, visiting the Vasa Museum or Skansen… it is just a short walk to Historiska from there across the Djurgårds Bridge. In fact, after we visited Historiska, my father and I walked to the Museum of Spirits and had a well deserved beer on the pier. And if you are interested in history, don’t miss these other museums that concentrate on history. And if you are especially interested in our Viking history, click here.

During the summer the Vikings move into the inner courtyard
and you can try different Viking activities (great for children!)