The Stadsmuseum is Gothenburg’s biggest museum. It is located in the Ostindiska Huset, which housed the offices, goods store and auction house of the enormously influential Swedish East India Company. Envious of the major maritime nations, two Gothenburg-based industrialists, Colin Campbell and Niklas Sahlgren, set up the firm in the early eighteenth century. Granted the sole Swedish rights to trade with China in 1731, the company monopolized all Swedish trade with the Far East for over eighty years, on condition that the bounty – tea, silk, porcelain, spices and arrack (an East Indian schnapps used to make Swedish punch) – had to be sold and auctioned in Gothenburg. As a result, Chinese influence pervaded Gothenburg society, and wealthy financiers adorned their homes and gardens with Chinese motifs. By 1813, unrest caused by the French Revolution and competition from British and Dutch tea traders meant that profits slid, and the company lost its monopoly. The headquarters, however, remain an imposing reminder of the power and prestige the company – and Gothenburg – once had.

Elsewhere in the museum, other main exhibits focus on Gothenburg’s Viking past and include the impressive remains of the Äskekärr longboat, a trading vessel dating from around 900 which was found 30km up the Göta River from present-day Gothenburg. There’s also a breathtaking collection of medieval triptychs from churches across western Sweden, as well as a thorough account of the founding of Gothenburg in 1621 and its development through the centuries.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Sweden features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Why Gothenburg should be your next European city break

Why Gothenburg should be your next European city break

So gloomy they named it goth? Not in the slightest. This town can certainly do black-eyeliner bleak with the best of them – anywhere with docklands can, and G…

12 Oct 2017 • Neil McQuillian insert_drive_file Article
Scandinavia for first-timers: 7 ideas for short breaks

Scandinavia for first-timers: 7 ideas for short breaks

On the face of it, Scandinavia isn’t a very sensible place for a holiday. For one thing, it’s almost always going to be colder than the place you’re leavi…

31 Mar 2017 • Steve Vickers insert_drive_file Article
24 breaks for bookworms

24 breaks for bookworms

1. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas In 1971, fuelled by a cornucopia of drugs, Hunter S. Thompson set off for Las Vegas on his “savage journey to the heart of …

02 Mar 2017 • Eleanor Aldridge camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook