In January 1625 King Gustav Adolf signed a contract with the Hybertsson brothers of Holland. The contract was for , the maintenance of the fleet and the construction of four new ships at the Crown’s Shipyard on the island of Skeppsholmen, known today as Blasieholmen. Henrik was a master shipbuilder and was in charge of the ship’s design, while his brother Arendt was responsible for material purchases for the shipyard.

The four new ships that were ordered consisted of two large and two small vessels. The two larger ships were Vasa and Äpplet (“the Apple”). Thousands of oak trees were purchased from privately owned forests in the province of Småland and from the Lake Mälaren district. A master shipbuilder was sent into the woods to select trees of the correct size and then trim them to the approximate dimensions required. Rough sawn planks were purchased from Riga, Latvia and also as far away as Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Native pine from Western Sweden was used for the masts.
Iron for fastenings and hardware was mined in Sweden, formed into ingots and shipped to Stockholm.

At the shipyard, which is shown in the diorama in front of you, there were approximately 300 workers and it was the single largest commercial employer in Sweden. All the material for the ship’s construction was stockpiled here. The timber was recut and shaped before being added to the hull. The iron was forged into anchors and bolts and specialized craftsmen made rigging hardware and built small boats and carriages for the cannon. The sails and rope for the ship’s rigging were manufactured by sub-contractors from other parts of Stockholm and sent to Skeppsholmen. All of these craftsmen worked from sunrise to sunset, six days a week.

Master Henrik Hybertsson was an experienced shipbuilder, but there were no blueprints.
Instead, after the basic dimensions were discussed with and approved by the king, he used a few basic proportional rules to determine the shape of the hull. This method was typical of Dutch shipbuilding and had been in use for nearly two thousand years.

For more information about shipbuilding, please have a look at the exhibition around you.