Her Name is Vasa

Located on the island of Djurgården, Stockholm, there is a museum which displays the only almost fully intact 17th century warship that has ever been salvaged.  The 64-gun warship was named after one of the King in Sweden, Gustav Vasa.



The Vasa ship capsized and sank in Stockholm 1628 only after traveling for a distance of less than 1 mile.   This short life of the ship was caused by its poor design  with heavy top and light bottom.  It was told that even though the ship manufacturers already noticed the severe defects with the design, they were too afraid to tell the King.  Soon after the ship started her maiden voyage, the instability showed up immediately.  Wind first blew the ship and made her lean toward one direction, the ship couldn’t regain her balance afterwards.  The second blow of wind pushed the ship lean further down toward the water.  Water started pouring into the ship through those gun decks, and the ship vanished into the ocean in a very short time.  The time before sinking was around 20 minutes during which the ship traveled only 1,500 meters (slightly less than 1 mile).  All crews on the ship were trapped and killed.

The unlucky and Transient fate of Vasa actually created an opportunity for her remains to be restored from a fairly shallow water (around 30 meters or 100 feet deep).  After 333 years on the sea bed the mighty warship was salvaged in 1960s and treated with modern technologies including polyethylene glycol to make it Shine again. But around 98 percent of the parts on the ship remain original.  Even some crew members’ faces were restored using the skeletons left inside the ship.



Even though she was mechanically unfavorable, she is a true treasure from artistic standpoint – she is covered by well carved mysterious creatures and human beings all around her body.  The details out of those craftsmanship are extraordinary, representing the ambition and enthusiasm of her builders back in time.


23 thoughts on “Her Name is Vasa

  1. Thanks for bringing a memory back. In 1964, when I was still a 17 year old teenager, our school group went on a Baltic sea cruise. One of the places we stopped at was Stockholm and we paid a visit to the Vasa. None of us had any idea about this ship, but I can still remember the impact it had on us today. I don’t know if it was in the special place where it now is, but it had its own house and I remember it was in a continuous steam bath because it would not be so good for it to dry out quickly after being submerged for so many years. Loved your photos.


  2. Oh, I too remember visiting this ship when I was a little girl. The smell was something extraordinary, a scent that has stayed with me ever since. The air as we wandered was so moist and thick. Thank you for bringing back such a lovely memory. And this ship truly is a wonder to behold.

    Liked by 1 person

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