I'm cruising Scandinavia and Northern Europe to update our new, hot-off-the-press Northern European Cruise Ports guidebook. And it's fun to be sure not to miss any new sights that need assessing and writing up. For instance, for years, Sweden has been trying to find a place for its long-awaited ABBA Museum. Now it's finally open, in Stockholm. Here's how I wrote it up after my visit, plus a quick virtual visit by video:
ABBA the Museum -- This Swedish pop group was, for a time, a bigger business than Volvo. They've sold more than 380 million records, and the musical Mamma Mia! (based on their many hits) has been enjoyed by 50 million people. Now the long-awaited ABBA Museum has finally opened, conveniently located just across the street from Skansen open-air folk museum and next to Gröna Lund amusement park on Djurgården. Like everything ABBA, this is aggressively for-profit, with pricey tickets and slick promotion. The museum is high-tech, with plenty of actual ABBA artifacts, recreated rooms where the group did its composing and recording, lots of high-energy video screens, everything explained in English, and plenty of interactive stations. Included in the ticket is a "digital key" that lets you record a music video karaoke-style as a fifth member of the group, then pick up the production from their website. To control the crowds, only 75 people are let in every 15 minutes, and tickets come with an entry time. You can buy your ticket online or at the TI to choose your "slot time," or just drop in. If they're busy, you may need to come back in an hour or two, but you can generally go right in. The ticket is expensive, and you'll need to pay 40 kroner (about $6) extra for the audioguide, in which Agnetha, Benny, Björn, and Frida share their own memories. A small wing features the Swedish Music Hall of Fame, but apart from that, it's all ABBA. If you like ABBA, it's lots of fun (195 kr -- that's about $30, daily 10:00-20:00, on Djurgården at Gröna Lund, bus #44, tram #7, www.abbathemuseum.com).