When Skansen was opened on October 11, 1891, the open-air museum initially consisted of a handful of historical houses covering an area of almost 30,000 square meters. Skansen now has around 150 historical buildings, has increased its area tenfold to 30 hectares and, with more than one million visitors a year, it is one of Stockholm's most visited tourist attractions.
Keeoing in mind that its founder Artur Hazelius (1833 – 1901) wanted to preserve a picture of Sweden's old peasant society for posterity as authentic as possible, the open-air museum is a living museum that shows a Sweden before the 20th century.
The historical buildings in Skansen
The historical buildings in Skansen come from almost all Swedish landscapes and are arranged in the museum from south to north according to their geographical origin. The immediate surroundings of the buildings, including the typical landscape vegetation, are designed according to their local origin.
All historical buildings, no matter if houses, farms, workshops or stores, are completely furnished typical for the time and the museum staff present on site wear the typical historical clothing of the respective region. On the farms there are historical livestock breeds and in the workshops various old handicraft techniques are demonstrated.
In addition to the rural buildings, there is also a cozy historical district that represents a small 19th century town. In addition to historical residential and commercial buildings, there is also a pharmacy, a post office and a bakery, as well as all kinds of workshops such as a glass-blowing workshop, pottery workshop or bookbinding shop.
The animal park of Skansen
Since 1924 Skansen has had a zoological department. Until the 1990s, Skansen Zoo still had mainly exotic animals, whose keeping was abandoned except for a few mantled guereza and some exotic bird species. Today Nordic wildlife such as moose, brown bears, lynxes, wolves, wolverines and others live in the animal park.
The aquarium Skansen-Akvariet, which is also located on the site, shows various tropical snakes, spiders, turtles and primates as well as tropical fish species in its tropical house. Since the Akvariet is privately managed and not part of the open-air museum, a separate entrance fee must be paid for the visit.
Skansen is open 365 days a year and offers a wide range of events throughout the year. These include well-known regular events such as the summer Singalong evenings Allsång på Skansen or the traditional national holiday celebrations, the big midsummer party, the Christmas market and the annual New Year's Eve party.
For your physical well-being, Skansen has a number of restaurants and cafés with different offers; but you can also bring your picnic basket and settle at several designated places. A number of shops and market stalls also offer a wide range of traditional artisan products, handicrafts and modern Swedish design.
The museum does not have its own parking lots, one of the nearest larger parking lot is located at the Vasa-Museum. For people with disabilities, limited parking is available at the museum restaurant Solliden. Most of the buildings within the museum are accessible by ramps and wheelchairs, the paths are well developed, but the considerable differences in height within the grounds can make it difficult to move around with a wheelchair.
With the exception of trained assistance dogs, no dogs are allowed within the open-air museum.
According to guidebook-sweden.