Travel

Stockholm Museums and Galleries

Museum/Gallery neighborhood
Artipelag
Artipelagstigen 1, Archipelago
BabyBjörn founder Björn Jakobson and his wife Lillemor—both lifelong art lovers—felt a deep connection to the wooded islands that dot Stockholm's archipelago and decided to merge their two loves with Artipelag: an international art venue in the woods on Värmdö Island. A mere twenty minutes from Stockholm city center, it's hard to tell where the ultra-modern wood-and-glass building ends and the pine-tree laden landscape begins. The exhibitions often have a nature-based theme (currently duo Bigert and Bergström's Eye of the Storm exhibit which examines our impact on climate change), there are activity hubs for kids (like nature-themed treasure hunts all over the island), and two restaurants that overlook the water (the fine dining restaurant serves vegetables grown on the museum's rooftop and the more casual Båden cafe is perfect for a coffee and pastry). Skip the car rental and take the ferry, it's too beautiful not to.
Fotografiska
Stadsgårdshamnen 22, Södermalm
Fotografiska is one of those rare museums that offers a permanent collection, while also doing an amazing job of nurturing local creatives with a full calendar of exhibits, lectures, photography courses, and workshops. Housed in a 1906 Art Nouveau building that was once the city's customs house, the original brick exterior of the structure was kept intact while the interior has undergone major renovations. The museum hosts four major photography-focused exhibits a year (previous ones have included talents like Annie Leibovitz, David LaChapelle, and an Irving Penn retrospective), and around 20 smaller ones celebrating new talent. The rooftop café and bar fills up in the summer months, which isn't surprising given the sweeping views of the lake and the city.
Moderna Museet
Exercisplan 4, Skeppsholmen
Sprawled out on tranquil Skeppsholmen Island, this lantern-lit gallery (and the scene of a major '90s art heist that saw the armed robbery of Rembrandt and Renoir masterpieces with the criminals escaping by boat), is Sweden’s preeminent modern art museum. The permanent collection houses notable works from Sweden’s own surrealist movement, alongside masterpieces by Dali, Matisse, and Picasso. The Rafael Moneo-designed building is flooded with natural light, and the museum's fourth-floor restaurant serves up a full Scandinavian lunch buffet (pickled fish, cured ham, and seasonal vegetables), with stellar views of the water. Pop into Restaurant Hjerta for a seafood lunch on the docks after a few hours spent exploring the museum. Note that the architecture museum lives within this museum.
Vasa Museum
Galärvarvsvägen 14, Djurgården
The Vasa Museum is without exception the most unique in Stockholm, and maybe the world, making it the perfect cultural activity (kids love it too). The entire museum is dedicated to a warship that sank in the harbor on her maiden voyage in 1628. The wreck lay on the ocean floor for over three hundred years before an intrepid scientist—who had heard the tale of its sinking—finally located its position in 1961. Because the water is brackish, the boat was miraculously preserved, making it the only ship of its kind in the world today. The museum—which was constructed around the boat, which is 95% original—takes you through the entire narrative of the doomed vessel, from the initial design and construction to the sinking and subsequent excavation (make sure to catch the short and fascinating film).
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