Swedish museums start opening up for free

Many of Sweden's most popular state-owned museums are now free to visit after a change in the law.

Swedish museums start opening up for free
The Museum of World Culture in Gothenburg. Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT
The museums letting tourists and locals in without charge include the modern art Moderna museet venues in Stockholm and Malmö, the Naturhistoriska riksmuseet (Swedish Museum of Natural History) and the Världskulturmuseet i Göteborg (Museum of World Culture in Gothenburg).
The move will be funded by Swedish taxpayers and was first mooted as part of the government's autumn budget, as The Local reported in September. It came into action on February 1st.
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven's Social Democrat party also introduced a similar scheme when it last was in power 10 years ago, but fees were reintroduced by the centre-right Alliance government in 2006.
Culture Minister Alice Bah Kuhnke told Swedish broadcaster SVT last year that she hoped the move would encourage people from a more diverse range of backgrounds to attend exhibitions.
“We need to open up and show our shared treasures to reach groups other than those who usually go to museums,” she said.
However Sweden's most popular tourist attraction, the Vasa museum, which contains an iconic warship, is set to keep its fee of 130 kronor for adults (just under $16).
The museum's director Magnus Olafsson has said that he is not concerned that visitors might be drawn away from the Stockholm landmark due to the now costless attractions nearby.
“We know from the last time [state-run museums were free] that we will not lose any visitors. Actually, the number of visitors rose during that period, so I am not at all concerned,” he said in September.
The Abba Museum will also retain its price of 196 kronor for adults, plus a 20 kronor service fee for tickets booked at the venue rather than online.
Sweden's largest open-air museum, Skansen, will continue to charge too, with varied costs throughout the year.
The full list of museums that are now free 

Armémuseum (Army museum)

Etnografiska museet (Museum of Ethnography)

Flygvapenmuseum (Swedish Air Force Museum)

Historiska museet (History Museum)

Kungl. myntkabinettet (Royal Coin Cabinet)

Livrustkammaren (Royal Armoury)

Marinmuseum (Naval Museum)

Medelhavsmuseet (Mediterranean Museum)

Moderna museet (Modern Museum)

Nationalmuseum (National Museum)

Naturhistoriska riksmuseet (Swedish Museum of Natural History)

Sjöhistoriska museet (Maritime Museum)

Skoklosters slott (Skokloster Castle)

Statens centrum för arkitektur och design (Architecture and Design Museum)

Världskulturmuseet (Museum of World Culture)

Östasiatiska museet (Museum of East Asia)


Is the world’s best museum restaurant in Stockholm?

A Stockholm photography museum has been nominated for a travel award thanks to its trendy and eco-friendly restaurant, known for boasting one of the best views of the Swedish capital.

Is the world's best museum restaurant in Stockholm?
Fotografiska's restaurant and bar. Photo: Johan Ståhlberg/Fotografiska

Fotografiska, Stockholm's largest space for contemporary photography, opened in 2010 but has already become one of the city's hottest attractions, riding high on Sweden's creative reputation.

It is now in the running to add another accolade to its belt, as one of three nominees in the 'museum restaurant of the year' category in the international 2016 Leading Culture Destination Awards.

Arguably one of the trendiest galleries in Stockholm, Fotografiska usually showcases four exclusive exhibitions, which are updated every few months. It is housed in a former industrial Art Nouveau style building dating back to 1906 on hipster island Södermalm, with stunning views over central Stockholm.

If you thought that Swedish museum restaurants largely focus on a culinary repertoire of dry cinnamon rolls and burned coffee, think again. At Fotografiska, visitors first choose a vegetable-based dish, then optional meat as a complement, prepared by Swedish celebrity chef Paul Svensson. 

“This nomination is an honour and proof of Fotografiska's ability to initiate as well as continue to operate at the highest quality, to the delight of our guests,” said the gallery's co-founder Jan Broman in a statement.

“We are very proud to have succeeded in fulfilling our mission to become a gathering point for many senses,” he added.

READ ALSO: Sweden's Vasa sails into top museums list

The view of Stockholm's Gamla Stan from Fotografiska. Photo: Ulf Berglund

Calling itself “The Oscars for Museums”, the LCD Awards aim to celebrate travel, lifestyle and cultural innovation by showcasing established and emerging museum destinations worldwide.

The other restaurants nominated in Fotografiska's category are Ammo Restaurant at The Hammer in Los Angeles and Loulou Restaurant at Musée des Arts Decoratifs, Paris.

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in London on September 30th.