The Dalecarlian horse, also known as the Dala horse, has become the unofficial symbol of Sweden with deep ties to ancient Swedish folklore and art. These wooden horses have been a fixture in Swedish society dating back to the mid-16th century. The artisan horses may now be more well known than the nation’s flag.
The Wooden Horse Museum in Stockholm’s Old Town is nestled in a backroom of Runstenen, a crystal and craft souvenir shop. While it may seem like just another tourist attraction, this museum is dedicated to exploring the rich history and cultural significance of Dala horses.
On display throughout the museum are several dozen antique horses from a variety of artists, some of which were crafted as early as 1920. Small signs point out their age, region of origin, and if known, their maker. Painters would often leave specific patterns on a finished horse that served as their signature, sometimes making identification difficult.
Larger signs located throughout the museum explain the history of crafting these horses and the method in which they were created. There is even a section dedicated to fake horses and how to distinguish them from the real deal, which is no easy task.
The museum is not very large, but well worth the stop while strolling through the Old Town. It’s also a nice way to learn some quick facts about Sweden’s most famous toy.
Know Before You Go
Entrance is free. Open Tuesday-Saturday 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.