The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







Skansen is an open-air museum and zoo located on the island Djurgården in Stockholm, Sweden. It was founded 1891 by Artur Hazelius (1833-1901) to show the way of life in the different parts of Sweden throughout history.

The 19th century was a period of great change throughout Europe and Sweden was no exception. Its rural way of life was rapidly giving way to an industrialized society and many feared that the country's many traditional customs and occupations may be lost to history. Artur Hazelius, who had previously founded the Nordic Museum on the island of Djurgården near the centre of Stockholm, created the world's first open-air museum on the hill that dominates the island. Skansen was originally a part of the Nordic Museum, but became an independent organization in 1963. The objects in the Skansen buildings are still the property of the Nordic Museum.

After extensive travelling, Hazelius bought around 150 houses from all over the country and had them shipped piece by piece to the museum, where they were rebuilt to provide a unique picture of traditional Sweden. Only three of the buildings in the museum are not original, and were painstakingly copied from examples he had found. All of the buildings are open to visitors and show the full range of Swedish life from the Skogaholm manor house built in 1680, to the 16th century Älvros farmhouses.

The many exhibits over the 75 acre site include a full replica of an average 19th-century town, in which craftsmen in traditional dress such as tanners, shoemakers, silversmiths, bakers and glass-blowers demonstrate their skills in period surroundings. There is also an open-air zoo containing a wide range of Scandinavian animals.

In early December the site's central Tingsvallen square is host to a popular Christmas market that has been held since 1903, attracting around 25,000 visitors each day.

Keepers of the Skansen open-air museum since 1891

Years Keeper of the Skansen museum
1891-1901 Artur Hazelius
1901-1905 Gunnar Hazelius
1905-1912 Bernhard Salin
1913-1928 Gustaf Upmark
1929-1955 Andreas Lindblom
1956-1968 Gösta Berg
1969-1982 Nils Erik Baehrendtz
1982-1991 Eva Nordenson
1992-1994 Hans Alfredson
1995- Anna-Greta Leijon

External link

  • Skansen - Official site
  • Andy Carvin's Skansen Gallery

Last updated: 05-03-2005 17:50:55