Swedish History Museum

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If you are interested in Viking history then this museum is a must. It holds one of the largest collections of Viking-related objects in the world. On display is only a fraction of this collection which is pretty hard to believe considering the exhibition was massive. I am going to review the Viking exhibition and then more generally discuss the rest of the museum. Continue reading “Swedish History Museum”

The Royal Palace

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The Royal Palace in Stockholm was built in 1754 and is one of the largest palaces in Europe. Originally, a fortress was established on the site in the 11th century protecting the waters surrounding Stockholm. In the 16th century, the fortress was transformed into a Renaissance-style castle that served as the residence of the Swedish Royal Family. Its first inhabitant was King Gustav Vasa. A huge fire destroyed the Palace in 1697 reducing the entire building to rubble. The new Roman baroque Palace, completed in 1754, is what can be seen today. It is a very geometric building with four entrances each with its own character. These are masculine, feminine, civilian, and royal. The Swedish Royal Family no longer reside in the Palace, however, it still functions as offices for the King and Queen and the Royal Court. From time to time, there are also dinners and special events. That was a very brief overview of the history of the Palace! Continue reading “The Royal Palace”

Vasa Museum

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Greetings from Stockholm! We arrived yesterday after a long train ride from Copenhagen. This is my first time in the city and, so far, I am very impressed. There are quite a few museums here that we will explore over the next few days. On the agenda for today was a walking tour of the old city – Gamla Stan – and the Vasa Museum – Sweden’s most popular tourist attraction. Continue reading “Vasa Museum”

Domkirke

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Roskilde is a small city approximately twenty minutes by train from Copenhagen. It was founded in 980 by Harold Bluetooth and served as a very important site during the Viking era. Today it is home to many historic sites and museums including the Unesco World Heritage Listed Domkirke (Cathedral) and the Viking Ship Museum. It is quite a lovely day trip from Copenhagen and a great place to visit if you are interested in anything Viking-related.

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In 2012, the Domkirke was inscribed on the World Heritage List as a cultural site. According to Unesco, its significance is due to the following:

“Roskilde Cathedral is an outstanding example of the early use of brick in the construction of large religious buildings in Northern Europe. Because of the successive addition of chapels and porches to commemorate Danish royalty since the 16th century, it is also an exceptional example of the evolution of European architectural styles in a single structure.” (Unesco, Roskilde Cathedral, 2012)

The site meets two of the ten criterion for world heritage listing. For those of you unaware of these criteria follow this link for more information: http://whc.unesco.org/en/criteria/.

1. Criterion ii – to exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design.

A limestone version of the Cathedral was completed in 1080. Almost a century later, the lime was replaced by red bricks that still exist today. It is considered to have had a great influence on the spread of brick in Northern Europe during this time period.

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2. Criterion iv -to be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history.

From 1080 onwards the Cathedral was adapted to suit various architectural styles. In particular, porches have been added to the Cathedral that served as mausoleums for the Danish royal family. Speaking of which, there are 39 kings and queens of Denmark buried within the Cathedral’s walls. Eerily enough, preparations have recently been completed for the death of the current queen, Margrethe II.

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On entering the Cathedral we found the front-of-house staff to be very welcoming and helpful. We were guided briefly around the Cathedral stopping to see a 16th century clock strike the hour. The clock depicts St Michael slaying the dragon and still works on its original mechanism! After wandering around and exploring the crypts we went upstairs to the small museum. We didn’t spend long inside, it wasn’t very enticing. There were some very nice models of the Cathedral including one showing the various additions to the Cathedral over time.

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You can definitely appreciate why it has been inscribed on the World Heritage List. I usually don’t go into cathedrals anymore because I reached my limit a few years ago. I made an exception considering it is World Heritage Listed and such an important site when considering the royal history of Denmark.

Design Museum Denmark

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The following is part 2 of yesterday’s museum adventures. I’ll start by saying we didn’t really plan on visiting the Design Museum. I stumbled across it whilst googling what to see around the Medical Museion. What’s pretty cool is that the Design Museum is housed in part of the former Frederiks Hospital. Its collection includes furniture, textiles, and art. The mention of textiles caught my eye so I added it to our itinerary. Not only does it contain one of Denmark’s largest textile collection, but, they have made a great effort to place the majority of pieces on display. Continue reading “Design Museum Denmark”

Medical Museion

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We have had such an amazing day seeing some of the wonderful sites in the city and, most importantly, museum-hopping. Although we visited the Design Museum first, I am too excited to write about the Medical Museion. Since they are such different places, both deserve their own blog entry. The Medical Museion, founded in 1907, is a museum and research centre for the University of Copenhagen. It was opened to the public in 1918 and houses one of the largest medical collections in the world. Continue reading “Medical Museion”