If you’re reading this, then like me you’re probably an ABBA fan.
Posted by Jennie
The ABBA Museum is like a pilgrimage for ABBA fans and a must visit at least once in your lifetime. So where is it? Where else but in Stockholm, Sweden, where it all began for the iconic Swedish pop group.
First some fun facts. ABBA is an acronym formed from the first letters of the names of the members of the band. Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny and Anni-Frid.
The A’s were married to the B’s. So Agnetha Faltskog was married to Bjorn Ulveaus while Anni-Frid Lyngstad was married to Benny Andersson. Both marriages didn’t last.
Swedish Director Lasse Halstrom directed almost all music videos of ABBA, he went on to direct popular movies like What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Chocolat, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen and My Life as a Dog.
In 2000, they were offered $1B to go on tour for a reunion concert, they turned it down. To date, it’s the most expensive refusal in music history.
The band took home mementos from every country they visited. In the 70’s they had a concert in Manila and took this home.
Ok so back to the ABBA Museum. It’s located on an island called Djurgarden. Stockholm is an archipelago made up of many islands and Djurgarden is one of them. It’s easily accessible on foot, bike, boat or tram.
The ABBA Museum promises that you will walk in and dance out and it delivers on this promise. A ticket costs about $30 for an adult, quite steep for a museum ticket but think of it as a party, because once you walk past the blinking ABBA light bulbs at the entrance you won’t stop singing and swaying to the best of ABBA.
It begins with a short film that shows ABBA in concert around the world throughout their relatively short decade long career. From 1972 to 1982 they sold more than 500 million records worldwide.
The next room takes you back to their childhood, where they grew up and how they got into music. Then there’s a video of when they won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974, which propelled them to stardom. We see them singing their winning song “Waterloo” first in Swedish then in English.
It gets really fun when you’re given the chance to “audition” for the band. It’s basically karaoke and the machine gives you a score. Standards are high so don’t get too disappointed with your score.
There’s a whole lot of ABBA costumes on display and they’re so kitsch, which makes them all the more endearing.
The “helicopter” used in the Arrival album is there as well and you can sit inside and take a photo.
If you’re familiar with the Polar Studio, there’s a replica in the museum. The Polar Studio was built by ABBA to their specifications modelled after the US-based East Lake Audio. The first song recorded in this studio was “Chiquitita”.
The highlight is the singing on stage with ABBA holograms. So you choose between Dancing Queen and Thank You For The Music. You walk up the stage and it’s elevated and completely dark, and you feel the jitters as if you’re really the star of the show. Then the music starts, there’s lyrics in front of you like there would be in an actual concert and then the holograms appear and they look so real.
For a few minutes you’re lost in the song and the lights and the realistic holograms singing and dancing beside you and you sing like no one’s watching “Dancing Queen feel the beat from the tambourine yeah yeah”.
Then the lights go out and the next people in line to go up on stage give you a round of applause. The adrenalin is real.
The last few exhibits show photos of life after ABBA. Their solo careers and other projects like Mamma Mia The Musical.
I don’t linger too much in these rooms because I choose to remember ABBA as a foursome.
It’s been more than 30 years since they disbanded but their music lives on and they are as popular as they ever were. They may have been active for only a decade but their music spans generations.