The Museum of Medieval Stockholm

We had a much needed day of rain yesterday (after the recent hot weather), making it a perfect day to visit a museum! I haven't been to a museum since last October, just before they closed most museums due to the pandemic, so visiting one now gave a real hopeful feeling that things are getting back to normal. You can see the full list of open, or soon to open, museums in Stockholm by clicking here
Medieval ambiance

The Museum of Medieval Stockholm (Medeltidsmuseet) is, just as its name suggests, dedicated to the history of Stockholm during the medieval era (approximately 1250-1520 A.D.). If you are interested in the history of Stockholm after 1500, the museum has a sister museum called Stockholm City Museum (Stockholm Stadsmuseet) that concentrates on the post-medieval time period. Click here for an article from a recent visit. 

Ruins of original city wall

The museum is located on the small island of Helgeandsholmen, sandwiched in between the old town and the downtown area. Almost the entire island is occupied by the Swedish Parliament Building. It was during a renovation of the Parliament building in the late 1970's that they unearthed a trove of archeological finds, including parts of the city wall, canals and thousands of medieval artifacts (including human remains). Instead of building the planned car garage, they turned the pit, made by the dig, into the museum. This means that you have many of the archeological finds (including city wall) in the museum itself.

One of the best parts of the museum, in my opinion, is how well put together it is and how the history is very well explained (in both Swedish and English). It is one of those museums that can be enjoyed equally by a 7 year old or a history professor. The museum is separated in sections where different aspects of medieval Stockholm are focused on... like "daily life", "war", "religion" as well as the history of the growing city. I did notice a new exhibition this time which looks at an infamous, violent event in Stockholm history: the Stockholm Bloodbath

Diorama showing church herb garden

Besides ruins from the medieval city, images, models and actual artifacts, the museum has several life-sized dioramas portraying life in Stockholm during that time (especially fun for children). You can visit a town square, pub, typical home, church and more.  Artifacts on display range from pottery shards to weapons to an impressively large ship from the 1500's which was found at nearby Riddarholmen. 

Riddarholmen ship

Another positive aspect of the museum is that admission is free which makes it a great addition to your walk around nearby Gamla Stan (old town) and the Royal Palace. There are actually quite a few museums in Stockholm which have free admission. Free history and culture for the people! The Medieval Museum is just a 20-25 minute walk from the Hotel Rival (through the old town). Otherwise, you can take the subway two stations to Gamla Stan station or 5-7 minute taxi ride. 

Rainy day = museum day!



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