The Museum Building
The museum is located in a royal palace, which was built in the 1260’s. This is the best preserved palace from the High Middle Ages in Scandinavia, probably in northern Europe as well, and Sweden’s first profane brick building. Big celebrations, tournaments and political meetings used to be held here. In the 14th century the palace was transformed and it became the starting point of Saint Birgittas vision for a new convent and a new monastic order. This is the only monastic order founded north of the Alps. The convent was an important international pilgrims’ destination and had thousands of visitors every year. The last nuns were driven away in 1595 and the area of the convent including buildings and gardens was once again transformed, this time to make a home for disabled soldiers. During Queen Kristina’s reign (17th century) this was the first permanent war veterans’ home in Europe. In the late 18th century the demand decreased and the area was reshaped again – for a brief period of time, into a prison for people with lighter sentences, and later on, in the 1820s, into a hospital for mental diseases. In the 1950s the last patients were moved out of the facility and since the house had to be renovated, it was possible to uncover its fantastic past. Today, you can see the traces the different epochs in the walls.
The museum also includes an annex, the so-called Trossboden, which was built as a military storage unit at the beginning of the 19th century.
The museum always strives to have exhibitions and guided tours based on current research. This is a history museum but also part of the pilgrimage destination Vadstena.
At the museum You can explore:
• The history of the building and how it was discovered
• The history of the convent area
• The life at the palace
• The life at the convent
• Saint Birgitta’s life and work
• The chest in which Saint Bridget’s remnants were transported from Rome to Vadstena.
• A unique collection of medieval textiles from the Abbey church, some of which made by the sisters at the convent.
• Pilgrims and crusaders
• Books and book production
• Handcraft and church art
• Technology and science
At the museum you can watch short films, browse the convent’s diarium (journal), read Saint Birgitta’s revelations and try on clothes in the clothes cupboard. There is also a museum shop, offering souvenirs, books, as well as garden and decoration items.
In the annex, Trossboden, there is a film, an exhibition of gravestones from the Church as well as a café.
Guided Tours and Activities
We offer guided tours of the museum, the Church and the gardens for groups.
During a standard tour you will hear about the history of the building, the palace, the convent, Saint Birgitta, peoples and events.
You can also explore in-depth one of the following areas:
• Saint Birgitta
• The palace
A guided tour at the museum can be combined with other activities, such as a town walking tour, Vadstena Castle, Alvastra, the Rök runestone, lake Tåkern, Omberg, churches etc.
Please contact us and we can set up a whole package for you.
A lot of what you will be experiencing at the museum comes from the building. Everything is happening for real and this is something children like. You can also dress up in the clothes cupboard of the palace.
The Clothes Cupboard
In the clothes cupboard both big and small can try on medieval clothes. You can become a nun, a monk, a princess, a pilgrim or a knight.
Concerts, Calm Evenings
The museum’s halls are full of feeling. In the evening we can offer different evening venues with candlelight. The perfect complement to your trip, if you live in Vadstena.
• A concert with serene music.
• Alternate reading Saint Bridget’s revelations with music
• Music, pictures and poetry in a nice blend.