Before Skansen was built, at the beginning of the 19th century, only mountains and pine forests were on the site where Skansen is today. It was the wholesaler and shipowner John Burgman who built a summer pavilion on the mountain. He also planted several different trees that remain today. Skansen was called the summer house. The buildings Röda långan and Gula huset were also on site at this time.
When did Skansen open?
The fort was inaugurated on October 11, 1891. Christian Hammer, the goldsmith and great collector, sold the area to Artur Hazelius..
Who started Skansen?
It was Stockholm-born folklore researcher Artur Hazelius who founded Skansen in 1891. Skansen is thus the world's oldest open-air museum. King Charles XIV Johan had built a fort here before and therefore it became the name Skansen. After various expansions over the years, today Skansen is over 30 ha in size.
At Skansen, they wanted real houses from all corners of Sweden, so cultural-historical buildings were moved from the country into Skansen. Here are houses from the 18th and 19th centuries and also as old as from the 15th century. Skansen's oldest building is Vastveitloftet, which in itself comes from Norway and dates from the 14th century. But when it was moved here in 1901, Sweden and Norway were in union with each other..
People were also important and at first life-size dolls were placed to populate the houses. But today it is "real" people in contemporary clothes who represent the living and working population. It's not so stupid because then you can also talk to them and ask questions about how it was before.
Skansen is Stockholm's only zoo. The focus is on both wild and domestic Nordic animals, but there are also more exotic animals here. Most animals live in their enclosures, but there are also free-living animals such as hares, squirrels and birds.
Among the domestic animals you will find reindeer, lowland cattle (cows), goats, sheep, chickens and the beautiful Ardennes horses. The Ardennes horse was common on Swedish farms before the tractor made its entrance. The horse has a coarser physique than ordinary horses and is incredibly strong and willing to work. Among the wild Nordic animals you will find wolves, bears, wolverines, lynx, moose, foxes and wild boars and more. In 2012, a Lill-Skansen also opened for the children who can get to know the animals there.