The Swedish warship Vasa

On 10th August 1628 the Swedish flagship Vasa moved away from the quayside in Stockholm on her maiden voyage. Just over 1,000 metres from her departure point she was caught by a gust of wind which caused her to heel over. To the astonishment of the watching crowds Vasa did not recover, but slipped beneath the waves. Soon only the mast-heads remained visible. It was a catastrophic and humiliating loss for the entire Swedish people.

In 1961 Vasa was brought back to the surface and is now on display in a purpose-built museum just metres from the place where she sank. Incredibly, almost 98% of her timber remained and she has been restored to her sailing condition. Today it is Sweden’s main tourist attraction with a million visitors a year. This is the story of the Vasa from construction to its extraordinary recovery and magnificent display.