The Swedish History Museum

From Stone Age to Middle Ages

The year was 1930 and Functionalism had just arrived in Sweden. Architects Bengt Romare and Georg Scherman were fascinated by the new style, as was clear in their design for the Swedish History Museum. Rather too bold, thought the National Board of Public Buildings, which demanded more Neoclassical designs from the architects before work could begin in 1934.

Don't forget to have a look at the bronze doors as you approach the museum. The design features a whole host of figures, events and symbols covering the same periods as the museum's artefacts. The doors are 4.5 metres tall and each weigh in at around one tonne. The left-hand door, with Odin as its central figure, represents heathen prehistory, while the right-hand door, with Saint Ansgar stretching out his arms, invokes medieval Christian Sweden. It took the artist Bror Marklund 13 years to complete his "Doors of History".

There is also a fun little detail hiding in the crowd of figures – a beer bottle. Whether Bror Marklund downed a cold beer with the team of bronze casters on that day in the early 1950s and thought that the memory was worth preserving for posterity, we will never know. But we see it as a greeting from another time.

The Swedish History Museum's collection of 10 million artefacts spans over 10,000 years – from the Stone Age to the Middle Ages.

The building is part of our shared cultural heritage. The National Property Board looks after it, but it is the museum that keeps the building alive. Information on exhibitions and activities can be found on the museum's website.


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