The maritime museum in Goteborg was founded in 1913 by the city’s Nautical Society, and presents detailed pictures of many aspects of the relationships between the city and the sea from the seventeenth century to the present. The history of shipbuilding is described in some detailed. The museum is located in an area where wooden ships were constructed until 1893 when the last of the yards, Varfret Kusten, was closed. On the opposite of the river the Lindholmen yard, founded in the 1840s, made iron and later steel ships, and was a pioneer in the construction of tankers.
The story of emigration from Sweden to North America is displayed, from voyages in the seventeenth century to the crowded migrant ships of the late nineteenth century, and the role in emigration of the liners of the Swedish-America Line between 1915 and 1975. Other exhibitions show the harsh living conditions of nineteenth century sailors, and the role of the fishing industry on the west coast of Sweden.
The principal architectural feature of the museum, the Maritime Tower, commemorates the 690 Swedish sailors who lost their lives when 98 of the non-combatant nation’s ships were sunk during the First World War.