Stockholm Vasa Museum 2001


A link to the Vasa museum in Stockholm



A brief history of the pride of the Swedish navy, the Vasa. The beautiful and powerful vessel of war, equipped with 64 guns and carrying 300 soldiers in addition to the crew would be a huge state of the art asset for Sweden. Comissioned by King Gustav II Adolf (1594-1632), after nearly two years of construction and outfitting the ship, she was ready to set sail on Sunday, 10 Aug 1628. Over 100 crew and women and chidlren were aboard for the first part of the maiden voyage. The ship was warped (pulled with cables) until clear of the shoreline, and then set sails (see map above). Once it caught the breeze, the ship began to heel repeatedly until water entered the gun ports and that spelled the end of the voyage and of a gorgeous and costly warship. She sailed and struggled for 1300 meters and sank. Since the ship was close to the shore and surrounded, as is customary, by many small vessels, of the about 150 people on board 120 were resecued. At least 30 were lost. When the ship was raised in 1961, the remains of at least 16 people were discovered. The reason for the disaster were several, although, it was boiled down to one major flaw, all the guns on each tier were of the same size, which made the ship top-heavy and inherently unstable. Conversely, had the hull been larger to handle more ballast to offset the weight of the guns, they may have ended up with a larger and slower ship, but it would not have sank. As it is, the Vasa is the only 17th Century sailing vessel in existence Their loss was a gift to the future.


The dream of a king who inherited three wars


As she surely looked when embarking on her short and disastrous voyage. The colors were reconstructed from microscopic paint fragments that were still attached to the wood


This is the amazing sight that greets you when you walk into the hall. You're never quite ready for this, pictures, movies, and paintings of old ships notwithstanding.



There is this large scale model next to her, which shows us what she used to look like when new


Stunning views of the ship from a balcony high above. Naturally, the rigging is not original


The so-called poop deck


Vasa's stern displaying a vast array of carvings and the kings heraldic symbol


A properly painted replica of the King's family heraldic symbol



The stern imaged 7 years after my visit there. Unchanged, but sharper than mine. At the museum link you can read up on the particulars of these magnificent carving, which were more than just ornamental, but war propaganda for King Gustav.




However, not everyone was equally impressed