January 16, 2014

Army Museum - Armémuseum

Museum entrance.
Continuing with my New Year's resolution to visit museums in Stockholm that I have never been to... I took my visiting father to the Army Museum (Armémuseum) last week. Stockholm has many great history themed museums, including Vasa, Historiska, Skansen, Medieval Stockholm as well as the museums in the Royal Palace. The Army Museum concentrates on the history of Sweden, mainly from the 1500's onwards, from a military perspective. I must say that I was quite impressed with the museum and definitely recommend it for anyone interested in history and/or military.
Life-size diorama showing infantry.
Military, warfare and conflict are probably not the first things that come to mind for the majority of visitors when they think of Sweden. These days Sweden has a international reputation of neutrality, mainly due to the fact the Sweden managed to stay out of both World Wars and was neither a part of the Warsaw Pact or NATO during the Cold War. In fact, Swedish armies have not taken part in any wars, excluding peace keeping missions, since the Napoleonic wars of the early 1800's. However, between 1500 and 1800, Sweden was one of the most militaristic nations in the world and was almost constantly at war with her neighbours... Denmark, Russia, Poland and various Germanic states. Many Swedish rulers were famed warrior kings. In fact, Charles XII spent 14 years (basically his entire adult life) on military campaigns on foreign soil.
Minitures showing Swedish army formation during the Thirty Year's War
But the Army Museum does also look at the past 200 years of peace and the Swedish Army's participation in UN led peacekeeping missions in places like Cyprus, The Congo, Afghanistan and Iraq. And, if you are wondering what Swedish Marines are up to these days... check this video! The museum does a great job of giving visitors a feel for how these wars (and peace) have shaped Swedish culture and life in those times through the use of life size dioramas, charts, maps, collections of war booty/trophies... almost all with excellent explanations in English.
Swedish UN vehicle
There is also a special exhibit on Raoul Wallenberg, who was a Swedish diplomat during World War II and responsible for saving almost 100,000 Jews in Nazi held Hungary before being captured himself by the invading Soviert Army. He has been missing since then. The exhibit looks at how he saved so many people and the different theories on what happened to him after his capture. Sweden recently celebrated the 100th anniversary of Wallenberg's birth. More info on Wallenberg monuments in Stockholm.
Diorama in Wallenberg exhibition
The museum is quite large (3 floors) and housed in a beautiful building which used to be Stockholm's armoury. It is located in the Östermalm district and very easy to get to from the Rival Hotel... just four stations on the subway (red line) to Östermalmstorg station. Entrance is 80 SEK for adults, 50 for seniors and free for children under 19 and holders of the Stockholm Card. Closed on Mondays!

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