Stockholm museum to give guests a taste of 17th century winter

STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- The Vasa Museum, a dedicated exhibit of the ornate 17th century warship of the same name, rigged up a special program to coincide with the winter festival here. Daily from Dec. 27 through Jan. 6, the Vasa will treat guests to a vision of winters past.

For starters, a 17th century-style soup will be brewed outside over an open fire. Guests will be served at about 11 a.m., straight from a replica of the cauldron from the ship's galley.

At noon, replicas of the ship's cannons will fire a double Swedish salute. Following the salute will be a screening of the movie "Three Ships in Winter," which depicts the various ways the Vasa warship and her neighbors -- the Finngrundet fireship and the Sankt Erik icebreaker -- spent the cold season. Guided tours of all three ships and then a soup or hot dog lunch round out the afternoon.

At intervals throughout the season, "King Gustavus II Adolphus" will make appearances "to inspect his ship and his subjects."

The Vasa was built for the king in 1628 and was the most expensive and richly ornamented naval vessel in Sweden. But it was sunk on its maiden voyage by a gust of wind while still inside Stockholm Harbor. The disaster was deemed the fault of unstable design.

In 1956, the Vasa was rediscovered, and, in 1961, it was brought out of the sea, at which time an extensive preservation project began on the ship and its 14,000 artifacts. The 154-foot ship is 95% restored, including six of its 10 sails.

The museum in which it is housed opened in 1990 and also encompasses a multimedia adventure station as well as exhibits on the history of the ship, its salvaging, its art and the lifestyle of its crew as well as naval warfare in the 1600s.

Other elements of the museum include a children's corner and exhibits of the Finngrundet, which carried explosives and weapons into close range of enemy ships for attacking, and the Sankt Erik.

Admission costs about $8 for adults; $1.50 for children. Standard guided tours cost $30. For $60, a tour can be arranged with a museum curator.

The Vasa Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (8 p.m. on Wednesdays.) It is closed Dec. 23 to 25, 31 and Jan. 1. In the summer, it is open from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Web: www.vasamuseet.se

What's on tap at the Vasa

STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- Events at the Vasa Museum through the winter include the following:

  • On Oct. 12, "Scenes from the Bard," a selection of scenes from William Shakespeare's masterpieces, will be performed in English.
  • From Oct. 29 through April, there will be a special exhibit exploring the way the ship's sculptures were created and colored.
  • As extra inspiration for artists, the Vasa will hold painting courses in November, teaching 17th century-style paints and techniques.
  • On Dec. 4 and 5, the Swedish backgammon championships will be held at the Vasa. Spectator games are held Wednesday afternoons through April.
  • Swedish Tourist Board
    Phone: (212) 885-9700
    Fax: (212) 885-9764

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