For a country with such a formidable naval history it is ironic that Sweden’s most famous ship was, quite literally, a complete flop.
Ignoring the advice of ship-builders, in the 1620s King Gustav II Adolph ordered the construction of a mighty ship that would help Sweden defeat the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth as a part of their military expansion.
Finished in 1628 it was one of the most heavily armed ships in the world. But with too much weight on its upper levels, inappropriate ballast and gun flaps open as a salute to the King, the Vasa sank minutes into its maiden voyage after encountering a slight breeze.
Memories of the Vasa disappeared into obscurity until it was discovered in 1961 almost perfectly preserved by the brackish water and fine silty mud of the Baltic.
The Vasa is the world’s best preserved 17th century ship and the most visited museum in Scandinavia. The archaeologists also discovered enormous quantities of flotsam and jetsam among the wreck, including clothing, food, drink, weapons, tools and coins, all on display at this remarkable museum.