Nestled between the happy compass points of a Baltic waterfront promenade and Stockholm’s famous Old Quarter, the city’s art and design museum, Nationalmuseum, is set to reopen after a 5-year renovation, 13thOctober 2018. Grab some fika and get in line.
Founded in 1792 by a very generous King Gustav III, Stockholm’s Nationalmuseum is one of the oldest public museums in the world, and with collectionsthat were first begun in the 16thcentury, the museum’s booty now spans hundreds of years of European art.
Also Sweden’s largest museum, Stockholm’s Nationalmuseum is officially a big-dog bastion of cultural cool, not so dissimilar to its geographical homeland. Around 5000 of these pieces now sit together waiting for the pitter-patter of visitors’ feet, in their lighter, brighter (and technologically tighter) new building.
With the introduction of superior preservation tech that has allowed for the opening of bricked up windows and the retrieval of climate-sensitive pieces from the museum’s delicately-controlled recesses, drawings, graphic art and a whole lot of space has now been released to the public, making narratives fuller, courtyards freer and experiences better.
Stockholm’s Nationalmuseum lets you wander through a chronological timeline of arts, crafts and design, as creative eras of European history are encapsulated in individually designed exhibition halls. True to their treasures, no two of these halls are the same, but differ in size, décor, colour and lighting. Within each, the carefully gathered objects are curated to explore the era’s cultural and social influences, while wider issues dart you off into smaller side rooms.
Boasting important architectural relevance on the outside as well as the in, Nationalmuseum’s building is an iconic part of Stockholm’s cityscape. Built 150 years ago by Friedrich August Stüler (he of the fantastically disparate exhibition halls), the building’s evocative design is modelled upon Florentine and Venetian Renaissance buildings as an ode to Italy – the then indisputable home of the arts. A similar celebration of contemporary design spreads throughout the museum today, with Sweden’s foremost designers involved in the new restaurant – from interiors to cutlery. Meanwhile Fredrik Eriksson of Långbro Värdshus and Restaurang Asplund heads up the kitchen, fulfilling your experience with his signature craftsmanship and an innovative palette.
Situated by the harbour, a 7-minute wander across Skeppsholmsbron bridge brings you face-to-face with Stockholm’s Moderna Museet, a leading staple of modern European art and perfect, era-wise, for a comparative perusal.