Special Information about Traditional Ships

The main purpose of the Traditional Ship classification is to ensure that vessels of cultural heritage value with national certificates are also allowed to sail internationally.

This was made possible through a Memorandum of Understanding for Traditional Ships signed by the Swedish Maritime Administration and eight other European maritime administrations. Under the terms of the agreement, vessels classified as Traditional Ships can sail to Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Spain, Norway and Estonia.

Classification of Traditional Ships

The Swedish Transport Agency takes decisions on classification of vessels as Traditional Ships, but the assessment is carried out in cooperation with the Swedish National Maritime Museums (SMM).

There is also a Cultural Heritage Mark, but that is managed entirely by SMM with no involvement by the Swedish Transport Agency. Visit the National Maritime Museums website for more information about the Cultural Heritage Mark.


The following criteria must be met for a vessel to be classified as a Traditional Ship in Sweden:

  • The vessel must have cultural heritage value or be a replica of a vessel of cultural heritage value or be built in such a way that traditional skills and traditional seamanship are encouraged and promoted. The concept shall also constitute a living cultural heritage monument in which navigation of the ship is based on traditional seamanship and traditional techniques.

  • Newly built vessels may be classified as Traditional Ships if they are designed and built after historical models and in mainly traditional materials and using traditional building methods.

  • The enterprise must be open to the public and be aimed at keeping traditional nautical craftsmanship alive and passing it on to future generations. The enterprise must not have a commercial purpose; any profits must be reinvested in vessel-related activities. Persons on the ship’s crew, in addition to minimum safety manning, must be listed on the vessel’s crew list and be involved in operating the vessel.

  • Vessels may be classified as Traditional Ships only if they have valid certificates showing that they are cargo or passenger ships.

  • The period of validity for T classification coincides with the certificate showing that the vessel is a cargo or passenger ship; that is, the period of validity is extended when the certificate is renewed, as long as the vessel does not change owners or home port and there are no other changes which may affect a new T classification. The Maritime Safety Inspectorate may revoke a T classification at any time.

  • The Swedish Transport Agency may issue a preliminary decision regarding T classification for ships under construction or reconstruction if the ship-owner intends to certify the ship as a cargo or passenger ship.

The Memorandum of Understanding

You can read the MoU on the European Maritime Heritage website.

How to apply

Send applications to Svenskt kulturhistoriskt skeppsregister, Statens Maritime Museer (Swedish Traditional Ships Register, National Maritime Museums), P.O. Box 27131, SE-102 52 Stockholm, Sweden.