Skansen

The Skansen is the 1st open-air museum in the world. It is found in Djugarden, one of the 14 islands which comprise the city of Stockholm, and has a 30-hectare area. It started as a royal reserve, where reindeer deer and elk were kept. It is now a colossal natural park, being the world’s 1st city park.

This museum was actually the 1st attraction that I visited in Stockholm. Of all the things that I had already planned to visit, this is where I wanted to start. It seems a great place to be acquainted with the Swedish customs and traditions, and its traditional wooden houses. Visiting the Skansen is walking through 5 centuries of Swedish history. It was a great starting point!

The founder of the museum

The Swedish professor and linguist Artur Hazelius was the one who had the idea to establish the world’s 1st open-air museum. While travelling through Sweden, Artur noticed that the country’s ancient traditions were starting to fade way, due to the influence of the industrialization’s modern era. Therefore, his ambition was to recreate the country’s culture, so it would never fall into oblivion and people would have the chance to be familiar with how Swedes used to live. He wanted the show the environment of that time, the traditions of the inhabitants, as well as the country’s fauna and flora.

With that in mind, he created in 1873 the Nordic Museum (now called Nordiska museet) and, a couple of years later, the Skansen.

Artur spent his last years at Gula Huset, also located in the Skansen.

What should be visited

The Skansen gathers about 150 traditional houses, shops, warehouses, farms and churches, whose origins are scattered all over Sweden. There is also a zoo with bears, reindeer and moose.

But, for the most part, the existing structures are occupied by people who are traditionally dressed to carry out several tasks in an old-fashioned way. We can see bakers, potters, glass blowers and other craftsmen who are depicting traditional arts.

It is interesting to know that many of the artefacts in exhibition were personally gathered by the museum’s founder.

The houses are grouped from a geographic point of view. In the park’s northern part we see the Lapland houses, in the centre the ones from the country’s centre, and the southern has the houses of Skane and Smaland, 2 regions which are part of Sweden’s south.

My recommendation is to save a whole day to stroll through the whole park and walk side by side with Sweden’s history. If you cannot spare that much time, don’t miss the following attractions, which I’m about to speak on.

Vasteit Warehouse

This is the museum’s oldest building and, currently, the only that is not Swedish. It is a warehouse made of Norwegian wood from the 14th century. When the Skansen was edified, Sweden and Norway were still united.

Alvros Farmstead

In this place we can witness how people used to live in northern Sweden. We can visit the main building and also some others focused on livestock and agriculture.

You will notice how the old appliances were used to carry out mundane tasks.

Bear Pit

The Skansen is the house of several typical animals of Scandinavia. The brown bear, with its brown fur, stands out among them. This is Sweden’s largest predator and can still be found nowadays in the north.

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