Nya Nationalmuseum – New National Museum of Arts

Stockholm is a good destinations for museum buffs. We have old ships, ABBA and and open air museum where people sing (Skansen). I think someone said we have over 70 museums in our city, and I am pretty proud of that. This weekend one of the most prestigious reopens after a huge makeover. The new Nationalmuseum or National Museum of Arts is here.

Internet and news will most likely be flooded with images from this newly done space, so here is just a quick glimpse.

There are a few features that stand out. One is the light. Day light fill the rooms. Very nice. I do know that a Danish museum like Glypoteket is equally nice. Or perhaps nice. I don’t know… Still the daylight is very nice.

In general the museum has invested a lot in ligths and this give the space more tension and it is pretty exciting.

On the ground floor the museum has Design Depot with fast moving exhibitions. Here some indepth discussions on some of the new design made for the space.

The new tableware for the restaurant.

The walls are filled with cabinets of craft history. Besides this Design Depot there is a whole section with contemporary and historical design references. Expect at least two changing exhibitions here and a fixed historical one.

One of the unique features with this museum is how they have worked with contemporary designers. One group has been working with the restaurang and another group with the library. I don’t know any similar project in the whole world like this. If an arcitect like for instance John Pawson is doing a museum, I assume he choose things he likes or makes things by himself. Here parhaps twenty of the most renowned designers in Sweden are asked to do something new for this space. As said – I have never heard of anything similar. Well done.

The space itself looks more or less like any other Scandi, trendy restaurant. Think of Mattias Dahlgren’s Matbaren etc. I do love the idea. The objects are nice, but more nice than “outstanding”.

The back wall is dressed with cut wooden pieces that they have used to make litography prints.

The next space to undergo the same idea is the library. Emma Olbers asked a handful of renowned designers to make pieces for the library. Again – Emma could have done the whole room on her own, but by asking other designers this gives it a new twist. Very Swedish to try to engage and involve as many as possible

I just love the pine wood desk with green top.

And the green lamps by Front Design.


The museum itself. Swedish media has already been writing about how controversial it is with all these coloured backgrounds. From an international perspective this is pretty common. I like the painted walls.

What is really new however is the number of objects. Someone said that the museum has tripled the number of objects of display. What they have done is basically packed almost every square meter with painting. A lot. There are a a lot of paintings. A lot. And objects.

What’s good is that it gives a context and historical reference.

What’s odd is that when I look at a masterpiece like the woman in black by Zorn, I get difficulties concentrating on just that picture. It’s like the other paintings want attention too.


So. Stockholm has a new museum. I like it a lot. The colours give the exhibitions a new layer of energy, but I am not sure how to handle all the clutter. It gets kind of busy.

I do like the new areas with the restaurant and the library, especially how they involved contemporary designers.

Some sort of conclusion? I guess I will give this new concept four out of five. Maybe three… I look forward to come back and perhaps change my mind to a higher score.


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