A visit to the Volvo Museum in Gothenburg, Sweden is a must for lovers of cars and aesthetics.
I’ve had the opportunity to visit several car museums. Although I’m not a car enthusiast I always have a great time. The Gothenburg Volvo Museum was no exception. Volvo’s sleek lines and plethora of cars are sure to please all types of visitors. Although I didn’t have the boys with me on this trip, I scouted the museum for a kid friendly visit. The Volvo Museum paired easily with our Gothenburg itinerary.
Getting to the museum was a bit of an adventure. The Gothenburg public transportation system often requires you to change buses, but they are not well marked. On this particular journey we were quite turned around when we had to cross a few streets to find the next bus station at a transfer. The best advice I can give you is to ask the driver about the transfer before you get off the bus. We also missed our stop a few blocks from the Volvo Museum. (As a major tourist sight I’m not sure why the bus doesn’t stop closer to the museum!) This could have been avoided by asking the driver to point out our stop.
Once we arrived the Volvo Museum staff was happy to store our luggage so we could enjoy the museum. There is a small cafe on site but the choices were slim. I wouldn’t recommend planning to have lunch here.
The Volvo Museum has arranged its stunning collection of cars by decade. This is a great way to get to see the design changes the company was making. The car design, inside and out, is really what is on display here, which is luckily something I find fascinating.
Volvo raised the height of the roof of the cars when top hats came into fashion so that men wouldn’t have to remove their top hats to get into the car. I also loved the luggage racks on the back of their cars allowing passengers to bring their baggage with them.
Informational signs throughout the museum are in English. They focus on different elements of the cars that were changing. We learned about Volvo’s commitment to safety equipment in cars starting with perfecting small details like the headlights.
Detailing and design have always been important to Volvo. We were able to see the materials used to make cars extra functional. Wood paneling on the back of seats that would fold down to make a floor for the storage space is a great example.
Some of the displays are more staged to focus your attention on something. Other rooms are just full of cars that you can walk around and investigate on your own.
There is a whole auxiliary room of helper vehicles designed by Volvo. I always love seeing how car companies have reimagined early fire trucks.
I loved the classic car section of the 1960’s. In some of the rooms Volvo also has seating areas using classic design chairs from the period. This really drives home the design aesthetics Volvo tries to achieve.
My favorite section though was looking at new design options. Here the interior spaces of Volvo cars are reimagined with cup holders, turning seats and TV’s.
Although we didn’t have kids with us for our visit, we did check out the kid friendly areas of the museum. My three boys would have gone crazy for this Volvo built entirely out of Legos.
The children’s activities were all grouped into one room that also houses changing exhibitions. These little drivable cars and road would have been a big hit with my boys. The only hiccup here was the lack of seating for supervising adults.
There was also a car with all the doors removed that kids could crawl in and out of – the boys would have loved this. If that little road map rug had a few cars in a box somewhere that would have also been a big hit.
I think it is safe to say kids would have a good time here.
Factory tours are available by reservation. They were not available during our visit as they were retooling that part of the factory. I visited the Mazda factory in Japan and it was fascinating. I highly recommend taking a factory tour if you are able. There are age restrictions on the tour so please check before booking.
The gift shop is lacking in little toys to pick up for the kids. They have plenty of car models, but they are all marked that they are not toys. I would have liked to bring home a Volvo of Matchbox car size. The restaurant is also small with a very limited selection. We grabbed an ice cream and our bags to walk back to the bus stop and head back into Gothenburg.