The Gothenburg Museum of Natural History (Göteborgs Naturhistoriska Museum) is home to exhibitions and collections which will teach you more about animals and nature throughout the ages, from the dawn of life 3.8 million years ago through until the modern day. The enormous collections boast a whopping 10 million different animals both large and small, so be sure to leave yourself plenty of time as you make your way around them all.

    The museum charts the development of life from simple, single-cell organisms to the dinosaurs and onwards through the latest ice age and into the modern day. The collections are primarily organised by animal type so if you are short on time you can simply pick whichever animal kingdom or species that you find most interesting. Each collection is then in turn divided by family, so you can take a look at how different animal types vary across different parts of the world, like big cats, for example. The museum also offers a free mobile app which guides you through the exhibitions and provides a more complete multimedia experience.

    Gothenburg Museum of Natural History - one of the highlights of 10 Things to Do Off the Beaten Track in Gothenburg (Read all about Gothenburg here)

    photo by Jopparn (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    What are the highlights of the Gothenburg Museum of Natural History?

    The Gothenburg Museum of Natural History is home to a great many impressive sights. Perhaps the most popular of all is the Malm Whale – a stuffed and mounted male blue whale which was beached to the south west of Gothenburg all the way back on 29 October 1865. Despite his young age, the whale measures a whopping 16.41 metres and weighs an impressive 25 tonnes. When the museum was built they had to design a special hall specifically to house this majestic marine mammal.

    If you're fascinated by enormous animals, then you should also be sure to check out the Mammals Gallery. Here you'll have yet another chance to feel super small again, standing next to a 5-tonne stuffed African elephant.

    Adults and kids alike will doubtless be spellbound by the museum's deadly reptiles and enormous sharks. If the sheer thought of that doesn't make your skin crawl, then be sure to leave plenty of time for the Marine & Reptile Hall and keep your eyes peeled for the smiling alligator at the end.

    photo by Gunnar Creutz (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    History of the Gothenburg Museum of Natural History

    The Museum of Natural History is the oldest museum in Gothenburg. It was founded in 1833 when a wave of interest in natural history swept over Sweden, although the current building was first inaugurated in 1923. As the years have gone by, the museum has expanded somewhat, and most recently in 1981 it added new annexes which house exhibition space and workshops.

    An interesting aspect of the museum's history is the well-preserved dioramas from the 1910s and 1920s which provide some insight into the history of both the museum and of education. The dioramas were painted and sculpted by hand in order to bring life to painstakingly taxidermal and articulated animals. To create the illusion of an endless landscape, the designers even considered how the sunlight would fall and what angle visitors would contemplate their scenes from. You'll have ample opportunity to learn about this side of the museum's early history on your visit.

    photo by Gunnar Creutz (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    Good to know about the Gothenburg Museum of Natural History

    The Gothenburg Museum of Natural History is home to some impressive taxidermal animals in a classic museum environment which dates all the way back to the 19th century, but there are modern exhibitions on display as well. You'll even have the option to visit digital exhibitions from the peace and tranquillity of your sofa at home, either before or after your physical visit to the museum. Among other things, you can learn all about elemental beings and folklore relating to animals.

    The Gothenburg Museum of Natural History is located in Slottsskogen Park, next to a leafy walking path and some family-friendly attractions such as the Children's Zoo, a playground and a frisbee golf course. There are also many quaint cafés and affordable restaurants in the area if you need to recharge your batteries after a busy day at the museum before you continue exploring the rest of Gothenburg.

    There is no entrance fee and the museum is relatively central, just under 2 miles from Gothenburg Central Station. The closest tram stop is Linnéplatsen and the Vegagatan Bus Stop is just a few hundred metres away from the museum.

    photo by Vogler (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    Gothenburg Museum of Natural History

    Location: Museivägen 10, 413 11 Gothenburg, Sweden

    Open: Tuesday–Wednesday 11 am to 5 pm, Thursday 11 am to 8 pm, Friday–Sunday 11 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +46 10 4414400

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