It's Better to Travel than Arrive?

"To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive"

Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisque, 1881.

"Robert Louis Stevenson speaks utter tosh and has

obviously never flown long haul economy class"

Kristy, first ever blog post, 2011.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Stockholm : Vasa Museum

We had a fantastic time visiting the Vasa Museum in Stockholm.

The Vasa is a warship that was built in 1628 and sunk on its maiden voyage in Stockholm harbour.  The Vasa lay underwater for around 300 years until it was raised and restored.  The quality of the water meant that 95% of the ship is original.

Here's some details:-

When Vasa was being built, the tactics of sea battles were changing. Cannon had not yet been used in a coordinated or decisive way, and the goal was to capture the enemy ship by boarding, rather than to sink it. Later in the 17th century, ships and cannon were coordinated in the line of battle: opposing fleets fired at each other in two lines. Vasa stands somewhere between these two approaches to fighting at sea. She has a large number of heavy cannon, at the same time that she was manned and equipped for hand-to-hand combat. The high stern allowed men with muskets to shoot down into the decks of a lower ship, and on the upper deck were guns called stormstycken (literally, “assault guns”), which fired canisters of small shot and scrap metal, much like a giant shotgun.

On Sunday, the 10th of August, 1628, Vasa lay rigged and ready for sea just below the royal palace Tre Kronor. Ballast, guns and ammunition were all on board.

On the quays and shores along Strömmen, an excited public waited to watch the ship leave Stockholm and celebrate her departure.

Over a hundred crewmen were on board, as well as women and children. The crew had permission to take family and guests along for the first part of the passage through the Archipelago.
For the first few hundred meters, Vasa was warped along the waterfront with cables from the shore. The ship did not begin to sail until she reached what is now Slussen. Sailors climbed the rigging to set four of Vasa’s ten sails. A salute was fired, and Vasa slowly began her maiden voyage.

Once Vasa came out from under the lee of the Södermalm cliffs, the sails could catch the wind, but the ship was tender and heeled over to port, then heeled again, even farther. Water rushed in through the open gunports and the ship’s fate was decided. Vasa sank, after sailing barely 1300 meters.

The crew threw themselves into the water or clung to the rigging until rescued, but not all managed to save themselves. Eyewitnesses differ on the exact numbers, but perhaps 30 of approximately 150 people on board died in the loss. After the ship was raised in 1961, the remains of at least 16 people were found.

Ticket prices are 110SEK for adults (about £11) and it's well worth a visit.


  1. It sunk on its maiden voyage, IN THE HARBOUR?

  2. Yeah, they made some serious miscalculations regarding ballast and boat width. Bit of a bugger after it took 400 people 2.5 years to build it!

  3. What a great bit of history, well, tragic but fascinating!
    Dressology HQ


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