We’re gonna need a bigger boat…

Vassa ship Justine

The museum itself is four stories, each a half-floor mezzanine designed in such a way as to give a unique view on one of Sweden’s greatest curiosities.  From above and below, through the dozens of gun ports and windows, you can hear occasional gasp or low-whistle as the crowds pass the great

“How did they fit that thing in here?”

The Vasa ship, standing 55 meters high and displacing over 1200 tonnes, is the most imposing vessal you will ever see out of water.  A marvel from Sweden’s “Great Power” period, the Vasa ship was meant to be one of the greatest fighting vessels of Gustav Adolphus’s military.  Unfortunately, Gustav requested another story put on the ship into order to hold more guns.  Seeing as the ship was already built, the design couldn’t hold another 400 tonnes centered at the top of the ship. The gargantuan vessel could fit over 500 men, though not very comfortably, and

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the ship sank about 20 minutes into its maiden voyage.  Apparently, as it sailed off into the harbor with all of Sweden watching and cheering, it flipped over in the water and was fully sunk in 5 minutes.  A brief hiccup in Sweden’s otherwise impeccable engineering history.  Nevertheless, once the Swedes fished it out of the harbor in the 60s, they decided to enshrine the enormous ship into a monument to the national glory of yesteryear.

I can honestly say, I’ve never seen anything like it.  Sure, we’ve all seen big ships, but they are usually in the water, rather than presented right in front of us like a model.  She was in pristine condition, destroyed by gravity rather than by cannonballs in battle, and close examination even revealed traces of the paint used for the ship.  Bright reds, golds, and oranges would have made the Vasa the most ostentatious vessel in the Baltic.

I was delighted to learn from our client that QLOSS lacquer was the product chosen to be painted on the ship in order to preserve it over the years.  For a Swede, that would be the equivalent of selling the marble wax used at the Lincoln memorial to give Abe’s forehead a shine.  Why that wasn’t on the label of QLOSS’s product is beyond me.

On the balcony of the fourth floor you can look down upon the ship’s deck, but I prefer to look at it from below.  There weren’t any balconies that high in the 17th century, and all the people in the harbor would have to look up at the magnificent ship dominating the skyline.  It’s nice to think I could look at the Vassa the same way they did, and probably expressing my amazement with the same low-whistle.


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