resurrected ship made for one of Stockholm’s finest museums | Community
“Pride precedes the fall. In the case of the great warship Vasa, this preceded a shipwreck.
The ship and its history are the subject of one of Stockholm’s finest museums.
Construction of the Vasa began in 1626. It was to be the pride of the Swedish Navy. The purpose of the king, Gustav II Adolf, was to establish Swedish rule in the Baltic region.
The king and his admirals had different opinions about war tactics. Naval experts depended on the proximity of enemy ships, their boarding and their melee conquest. King Gustav advocated artillery warfare.
And so, the Vasa was to be equipped with 48 bronze cannons firing 24 pounder cannonballs. This was supplemented by 16 lighter guns on the upper deck. Gustav’s ship was the most heavily armed ship in the region.
More than just a utility, the ship itself made a statement of power and importance.
It was lavishly decorated with intricate carvings – 500 statues – and painted in many bright colors.
A 10ft leaping lion served as the ship’s figurehead, the lion representing courage and power as a traditional symbol of Swedish kings since the Middle Ages.
Rigged with 10 sails on four masts, she would have been quite a spectacle at full sail, although the use of all sails at once would have been unusual in the Baltic. The anchors weighed up to three tonnes each.
The ships of this era were not built from drawings or blueprints. The construction was supervised by Dutch shipbuilders, as well as craftsmen from other countries.
The effectiveness of the design was based on the performance of similar vessels. The king’s insistence on adding a top layer of cannons to the Vasa made the ship considerably larger than average. Add the rigging and the sails and it was definitely very heavy.
A first test of her seaworthiness in the summer of 1628 involved 30 sailors making round trips on the upper deck while the ship was moored. The Vasa rolled so hard that the test was canceled. Although the admiral, who watched the demonstration and stopped it, observed the disturbing action of the ship, he did nothing to stop its intended use.
On August 10 of that year, the ship was prepared for a short voyage in order to take more crew members. On board was a small crew, a few members with their families.
The ship was moored in the waters below the royal palace and was towed to freer waters.
Only four of her 10 sails have been raised, waving slightly in a pleasant breeze. Suddenly a gust of wind filled the sails and the ship rolled abruptly, finally straightening up.
The gun ports were open and Vice Admiral Erik Jonsson quickly checked to make sure the guns were secure. Less than a mile from where he set sail, a stronger gust rolled the ship again, this time so hard that the water rushed into the open ports and the sea submerged. vessel. She capsized about 100 meters from shore.
The water was shallow enough that the tops of the masts were above the waterline, giving some people on board something to hold onto until help arrived. Others swam to shore. Of the 150 people on board the ship, most were rescued. Thirty drowned.
Its location was eventually lost, and the Vasa was ordered to remain on the seabed for over 300 years. Her resurrection began with her discovery in 1956. Five years later, she shattered the surface of her aquatic grave.
The Vasa Museum is a wealth of information about the ship, the construction of the ship, the artefacts recovered, information about life aboard the Vasa and the recovery and restoration.
Architects Goran Mansson and Marinne Dahlback won a competition to design the structure. The height of the building is the equivalent of a 36-story building.
On part of the roof, three large steel masts represent the height of the masts of the Vasa above the waterline.
Built on a former dry dock, the building was constructed with an open end so that the recovered Vasa could be towed. The water was then released and the building completed. The Vasa had arrived in his new home.
Among the artifacts recovered from the ship were pottery, utensils, wooden shoe shapes, waxed thread, thimbles, leather, board game boards, fishing reels, nets and more. again. Clothing found included undyed wool, woolen caps and leather mittens.
The remains of a dozen and a half victims, including two women, have given clues to life in the 17th century. A skeleton carried the remains of a long jacket in expensive imported black cloth. One of the women wore a nice jacket and embroidered shoes. One of his front teeth was indented. She had probably done a lot of sewing and pulled out threads with her teeth.
One of my favorite exhibits was a 1:10 scale model of the Vasa under full sail. The original ship was 226 feet long, including the bowsprit – the long mast that extends past the bow and beak head (with figurehead) to which two of the sails are attached.
We went to the museum late in the afternoon and had to rush through the many interesting exhibits. In fact, I found myself locked in the gift shop while queuing to buy a book on the Vasa. My family was on the other side of the lowered gate. It was high enough that I could hide.
I would recommend going when the museum opens and planning to spend several hours watching an introductory movie and doing one of the guided tours. During COVID, these are self-guided with the use of audio guides.
The museum’s website, vasa.museet.se/en, is one of the most comprehensive and informative sites you will find.
Stockholm is one of the most interesting and beautiful cities we visited on a trip to Europe in 2019. We selected it because my daughter (okay, me too) was a big fan of it. ‘ABBA.
Their museum was a lot of fun. The Vasa was not on our radar, but Rick Steves gave it an excellent rating.
His guides never let me down, and they sure didn’t when it came to the Vasa.