Stockholm’s Vasa Museum, showcasing a well-preserved centuries-old shipwreck, is now the country’s most visited museum.
Almost 1.5 million people visited the famous ship in 2017, pushing Stockholm’s living museum Skansen from the most-visited spot it had held for several years.
Compared to the previous year — which also welcomed a record-breaking number of guests — visitor numbers to the Vasa Museum increased by 154,084 in 2017, an 11 percent rise. That included a landmark day on July 25th, when the previous record for number of visits on a single day was smashed.
“It’s amazing. I am particularly pleased that the proportion of children visiting us has increased. We have invested a lot in our younger visitors, for example by offering more family tours,” said the museum’s director, Lisa Månsson.
On the other hand, 24,826 fewer people headed to Skansen, located just a stone’s throw away on the green island of Djurgarden.
Skansen wasn’t the only site to see a fall in visitor numbers: the Swedish Museum of Natural History, the third most visited in the country, saw a drop of 70,000 visitors while the Historical Museum welcomed 100,000 fewer people through its doors last year. That’s despite the fact that both sites became free to visit from January 2016, while there’s a fee for both the Vasa and Skansen.
In total, around 8.6 million people visited the central sites belonging to the Association of Swedish Museums, which includes the country’s largest museums across the country, according to the association’s figures. Regional museums welcomed 3.6 visitors, while 4.5 million people visited local museums and 1.8 million went to other museums, including both public and private collections.
Compared to recent figures from the Eurobarometer, 80 percent of Swedes visited a museum or gallery at least once in the past year, making them Europe’s most prolific museum-goers. The average across the EU was just 30 percent.