The Medieval Museum in StockholmEntrance under Norrbro, Stockholm’s oldest stone bridge
Medieval Museum in Stockholm
If you dream of knights in armor and everything that goes on behind castle walls, this free museum is a must-see on your list of things to do in Stockholm.
We wandered into the Medieval Museum by accident while we were exploring the Royal Palace and Old Town — and were very glad we did! With over 1000 artifacts from medieval Sweden, there’s lots to see. We spent a couple of hours going through the exhibits.
The most intriguing exhibit, however, is actually a 55 metre long section of the original brick part of the Outer City wall from the 1500s. It was uncovered in an excavation during renovations to the parliament buildings in the late 1970s. Rather than rip up the artifact, the city built a museum around it.
Take a look around the museum yourself in this short (less than a minute) YouTube video.
History at the Medieval Museum
The museum provides a timeline of Stockholm’s development from the medieval period. With the first evidence of Stockholm as a settlement from 1250, that’s some 300 years before the wall that was uncovered. This is the era the museum uses in its displays and recreations of activities. Indeed, the museum focus is on people, so you can hear stories about day-to-day life.
As well as a chunk of the city wall, the 1960s excavation turned up a graveyard, which is also part of the museum. It, along with a warship, are unique to the collection.
Smaller Exhibit Items
The smaller pieces of the museum’s collection range through items of daily life to relics of the medieval town. As you walk through the museum, it seems the town comes to life as you can see a woman hawking fresh made bread through the open window of her log home, then shudder as you think of criminals hanging from the gallows. I found the monastery’s herb and vegetable garden interesting, as it was laid out in tiny squares that resembled a quilt pattern. Informational signs indicated that it was the monks who had learned which herbs were effective with healing, made medicines and ministered the sick.
Since I’ve been a teacher for many years, it’s always interesting to discover how education developed through the centuries in different places. Guilds had this responsibility in this medieval town, organizing the craftsmen and ensuring wages were equalized.
Not surprisingly, the guilds here even had their own form of social programs. They collected fees from members, and provided money to those who were ill or in need of death benefits.
David and I both enjoyed going through the collection — and I knew a lot more about this period in history than I had at the beginning! It’s a great addition to a day’s itinerary in Stockholm.
Getting to the Medieval Museum
The Medieval Museum was just a 10-minute walk from our hotel, the very comfortable Radisson Blu Waterfront.
You can also get to the museum easily by getting off of the Hop On Hop Off boat or bus tours at the Royal Palace stop.
For open hours and information about tours, see: http://medeltidsmuseet.stockholm.se/in-english/