Armémuseum - Stockholm - Sweden

Address: Riddargatan 13, Stockholm (See map)
Telephone: +46 (0)8-51956300

Shop: shop present
Restaurant/refreshments: refreshments
Size of the museum/site: large
Year of visit: 2004
Overall rating:

Description: A war museum in Sweden? What the hell do Swedes have to show about war, do you ask?! Although Sweden could be seen as some sort of "Switzerland of the north" during the blood-stained 20th century, it has a rich martial history. Think back to the age of the Vikings for example. Whilst Danish and Norwegian Vikings mainly focussed on plundering the western shores of Europe (thanks a lot bastards!), the Swedes set out to conquer vast areas of eastern Europe. Some centuries later Sweden again arose as a major player on the European continent. During the 17th century the Swedes managed to gain control of parts of Norway, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Poland and Germany (with present-day Finland already in their pocket) by conquest and sheer power. After this "golden era" Sweden was subsequently kicked out of all its overseas territories and neighbouring Finland and Norway. So, enough historical material available to base a museum on!

At the Armémuseum in central Stockholm (in the swanky Östermalm district), they've done an excellent job showing all of Sweden's crucial military performances and their impact on civil life. The museum starts with a thrilling scene of chimpanzees tearing each other to pieces in furious battle (like us, man's closest relative is known to wage war). The sound effects in this first exhibition room are simply perfect. The scene is set for a great afternoon of war-museum-visiting, and the Armémuseum doesn't fail to live up to this expectation. It's just one great diorama after another, with interesting background information offered on panels (in Swedish) or in a free brochure (in English and other languages). Another nice feature is the hands-on exhibition of the standard firing-weapons of the Swedish Army throughout the years. Interesting to compare them and feel their weight.

If you visit Sweden's capital, be sure not to miss out on the Armémuseum, which is open almost all year round (check the museum's website for opening hours). You could combine a visit to this museum with the famous Vasamuseet, which is at walking distance.

The imposing building that houses the Armémuseum.

Brothers in arms! Chimps at war with opposing factions...

Detail of the famous painting of Breughel dealing with war and damnation.

At the start of the tour you'll be confronted with this lively fella, printed on a huge canvas with the simple caption "Krig" (war).

Thor! The famous pagan god of thunder & war.

Diorama showing an old women (and dog) trying to get some food of a horse's carcass. War always brings famine one way or the other.

In the end Sweden had to surrender its overseas territories, but not without a fight. Charles XII's cavalry charge for a final frontal assault!

An all too well known sight... Some unlucky sod gave part of his body for "king and country", and has since been reduced to beg for his daily needs. Loyalty answered with indifference, a bloody shame! Makes you wonder what medical care wounded African child-soldiers get these days eh?

The Great Northern War, in which Sweden tried to gain control of Norway, ended in bitter defeat. The harsh Norwegian mountains brought frostbite to those who were lucky, and death to the rest.

A very realistic diorama of a group of gunners giving their utmost trying to aim their cannon, whilst being fired upon themselves.