Wish to visit the first open-air museum in the world? Then book flights to Stockholm today and visit the most frequented attraction in Sweden. A visit to Skansen will keep you mesmerized for a long time.
The Skansen was founded in 1891 by Artur Hazelius. This oldest open-air museum is the first of its kind in the world. It is located on the island of Djurgården within the confines of Stockholm city. Get ready to traverse the 500-year-old Swedish history that this museum appropriately portrays. As you stroll past around the dwellings and historical buildings with life-size mannequins in period dress, will give an instant feeling of all that used to take place in the bygone era.
The purpose of founding this museum was to bring to life the traditional rural culture by exhibiting gardens, cultivated plots, farmsteads, furnished houses, and both wild as well as domestic animals. As the Skansen came into being, its prime focus was initially on Sami culture and farming.
Brief tour of Skansen
As you enter the precincts of Skansen, the spirit of historical Sweden instantly comes alive. You will be happy to see a miniature historical Sweden aptly reflected through its buildings and surroundings – right from the Sami camp in the north to the Skåne farmstead in the south. The different venues in the Skansen portray the myriad social conditions of the people living in Sweden during the 16th century and first half of the 20th century. The sight of most of the farmsteads and house belonging to the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries will take you down the memory lane and keep spellbound for quite a long time.
It’s quite an adventurous and delightful experience to visit the Skansen museum. The sight of Nordic animals such as lynx, wolves and bears seems as though you are visiting a zoo.
Farmsteads and Houses
Over the years, nearly 150 farmsteads and historical houses have now become a part of the Skansen. The oldest building present here is the Vastveit Storehouse, dating from 14th century Norway. This is the only building in the museum that is non-Swedish. Among the various farmsteads and houses at Skansen include a cottage for indentured farm laborers, a manor house, a village hall, and an 18th century wooden church. The latest addition here includes Stockholm’s two allotment huts – one belonging to the 1920s and the other representing the 1940s. These huts became a part of the Skansen museum in the year 1997.
The town quarter at Skansen comprises of buildings from Stockholm that became part of the museum during the 1920s and 1930s. The town quarter include both workshops and dwellings illustrating the urban life in the country during the 18th and 19th centuries. Some of the prominent structures here include a bakery, a shoemaker’s shop, an engraver’s workshop, and a pottery. A small industrial area along with factories was included during the beginning of the 1990s.
The visitors at the farmsteads and houses are taken well care of with the historical interpreters donning period dress providing relevant details such as how the people lived in earlier times and how they engaged in various traditional activities like knitting, weaving, spinning and other crafts by providing live demonstrations.
The surroundings of farms and buildings have gardens and cultivated beds, appropriately portraying the particular period and dweller’s social status. A field of crops, grazing meadows, hayfields and other agriculture-related activities depict the way in which the households sustained and made the best use of the farm land. The town quarter also showcases vegetable plots and gardens. Apart from these, a wonderful rose garden and a traditional herb garden are also found at the Skansen museum.
The Zoo at Skansen
The Skjansen museum also houses a zoo. The founder of Skjansen conceived the zoo and decided to make it a part of this unique open-air museum from the initial stages itself. His prime focus was to prominently showcase the Scandinavian fauna. During the later stages many exotic animals were exported from other places and included in the zoo. Till date, the zoo at the Skansen museum has become a prime attraction for the tourists to see Scandinavian animals of various kinds.
Presently, the zoo is home to about 75 different breeds and species of animals found in the Scandinavian region. The animals here are both domestic and wild. These include elks, wolverines, lyrnx, seals, wolves, brown bears, ducks, hens, geese, goats, sheep, horses, pigs and cows. The World of Monkeys, along with the Skansen Aquarium, are presently home to nearly 200 exotic species such as parrots, bats, insects, spiders, lemurs, Baboons, golden lion tamarins, pygmy marmosets, naked mole-rats, snakes, lizards, turtles, crocodiles, corals, and fish.
A visit to this unique open-air museum, Skansen, is indeed a great learning experience and quite thrilling as well.