Here is the 2nd blogpost on my recent visit to Stockhom, Sweden. You can read part 1 here.
On the island of Djurgården are three of my favourite museums in Stockholm: The Vasa Museum, The Nordiska Museet, and Sweden’s oldest open-air museum, Skansen. As the weather was so amazing, I felt I should make the most of my time outdoors, and I decided to pay a visit to the latter.
Skansen was founded in 1891 by Artur Hazelius, and gives a beautiful glimpse of how daily life was in Sweden in the past. Many structures were brought from all over Sweden, and perfectly rebuild on the grounds of Skansen. Since many of the structures have been there for over a hundred years, you do get a feeling of a genuine town, where the structures have really grown into their surroundings. Today, some of the buildings have been longer in Skansen than they have been on their original location!
It is tempting to romanticise life in olden times when you walk around Skansen, especially when the weather is beautiful like it was on the day of my visit. With a golden autumn sun, pleasant temperatures, the smell of freshly baked pastries in the air, it’s easy to give into escapism and wish for a simpler life.
Of course, the daily lives of the people living in these houses was hard: a point the wonderful folks working in the museum make clear to show its visitors. Modern luxuries were absent, simple tasks involved heavy manual labour, and life expectancy was much lower than today. But in a time where life seems more complex than ever before, it is good to remember some of the simplicity of the past, learn from it, and bring it into our lives now. We have the luxury that we do not have to ‘make do and mend’, but we can choose to. We can step away from the pre-made world of store bought goods, and choose to make our own things. We can see the value in skill and craft, and choose to pay a craftsperson to do a good job for us.
The biggest enemy most of us have is time: we run around with social obligations, have jobs to do, and households to run. But try and make some time, give yourself an hour in the evening where you make something for yourself. Bake something new, take up a craft you haven’t done, or pick up a project you’ve abandoned again. And whilst you do that, think about the folks who went before you, and appreciate the luxuries we now have.