‘Skansen’, © 2010 Sarah Ackerman
The area first got its name (djurgården translates to game park) because it was used by King Johan the third to keep deer, reindeer and elk for hunting. When walking in Sweden, it is important to leave rest days to recuperate, and a trip to the riverside parks of Djurgården would be the perfect location for a relaxing day out.
The island boasts an impressive range of museums including the Nordic museum, the biological museum and Beckholmen, a maritime museum. There is something for everyone in this beautiful area of Stockholm. Djurgården is also home to Scandinavia’s most visited museum, the Vasa Museum.
The Vasa museum contains the world’s only fully intact 17th century ship. The ship was to be used in the thirty years war and was the fleets flagship, beautifully decorated and packed full of cannons. The Vasa sank in the harbour in 1628, less than a nautical mile into its maiden voyage and resided at the bottom of the sea until it was discovered in 1956. The ship and its materials were preserved in the clay at the bottom of the harbour allowing it to be salvaged fully intact in 1961. The Vasa museum takes visitors on an exciting journey through the history of the ship and allows people to see the impressive warship from all angles over three floors.
Another of Djurgården’s gems is the open air Skansen museum and zoo. The museum was founded in 1891 to show the Swedish way of life before the industrial revolution. Visiting Skansen allows you to see what walking in Sweden was like before the development of the major towns of the country. The wooden huts of the Sami people are a major attraction with their turf walls and stacked building style. The open air museum contains 150 traditional wooden houses from different areas of Sweden that were shipped and rebuilt on the site piece by piece. A great place to learn about Sweden’s rural history, Skansen includes craftsmen in traditional dress such as tanners, shoe makers, silversmiths, bakers and butchers. The Skansen zoo showcases a variety of native Scandinavian wildlife and is home to bison, brown bear, moose, and grey seal amongst others. Walking through the large grounds of the popular museum provides great views of the city from its high point as well as interesting cultural relics from days gone by.
The Djurgården island is a great place to relax and unwind when walking in Sweden and contains a range of Stockholm’s best known and museums and places of culture.