At the Skansen museum you can learn about five centuries of rural traditions and social life in Sweden, spot wildlife native to Scandinavia and take part in Christmas and Midsummer celebrations. Between 1833 and 1901, Artur Hazelius purchased 150 historical Swedish buildings and relocated them to Stockholm’s Djurgården Island. Opened in 1891, this is one of the world’s oldest outdoor museums.
The museum’s 150 buildings portray the varying social conditions in Sweden from the 16th to 20th centuries. Visit an 18th-century wooden church, a glass-blowing workshop and pottery factory, a bakery and traditional farm dwellings. Meet historical narrators dressed in period clothing, listen to them tell stories of rural life and watch demonstrations of workday tasks from centuries ago.
Go to the museum’s zoo to find around 75 Nordic animal species. Among these are brown bears, wolves, elk and native breeds of horses and sheep. Get close to 200 exotic animals, such as snakes, crocodiles, baboons and parrots, in the Skansen Aquarium.
Come to Skansen for one of its cultural events. Enjoy the live music, storytelling and Maypole dancing of the Midsummer festival. During the year-end holidays the museum hosts a Christmas market. Shop for handicrafts and decorations and sample seasonal food and drink. Younger visitors can enjoy dancing around the Christmas tree and taking part in decoration-making workshops.
While here enjoy traditional Swedish food at the museum’s cafés and restaurants. These include coffeehouses and the re-creation of an 18th-century tavern. Don’t miss the chance to try a smörgåsbord, a Swedish buffet of hot and cold meats, pickled and smoked fish, cheeses and salads.
Located on Djurgården, Skansen is a 30-minute walk from the city center. Public transportation, such as the bus and tram, will take you from the city center to the museum’s entrance. Alternatively, take the ferry from Gamla Stan to Djurgården. Pay-and-display parking is available but limited.
Skansen is open daily. Check the museum’s official website for the opening times and fees for the individual houses and restaurants.