Gustav Adolfs torg 22, 111 52 Stockholm, Sweden
Starting with Gustav Adolfs Torg Square, named after King Gustav II Adolph, an important monarch during the 17th century, stands as a historical hub in Stockholm. This square holds the statue of Gustav II Adolph on horseback and it really is a striking centerpiece, reminding visitors of Sweden's regal past. Due to its location in the Norrmalm district, the city’s main business and shopping area, today it continues to be a vibrant venue for events and markets. With its open-air cafes and scenic views, the square captures the essence of modern Swedish life.
Gustav Adolfs Torg Square also holds hidden gems beneath its cobblestones. The square conceals remnants of the city's medieval defense walls and a well-preserved cellar from the 16th century. This convergence of the old and new, coupled with its iconic statue, showcases Stockholm's rich layers of history. A stroll here is a journey through time, where exciting market days contrast with the ghosts of long-gone knights guarding the city walls.
Gustav Adolfs Torg is surrounded by many different buildings ranging in age. Therefore, the architecture ranges in style and design as well. If you stand at the center of the square, next to the statue of Gustav II Adolph, as you turn your head in any direction you will see buildings representing many off these elements. Neo-Baroque style, with grand facades and a domed roof, Gothic style showing off pointed arches, ribbed vaults, and spires and pinnacles, Renaissance with symmetry and human forms, and even Modern styles with minimalist design, tons of glasswork, and clean lines.
The square's cultural tapestry captures the essence of Stockholm's evolution, making it a must-visit for those eager to experience the city's heart.
Gustav Adolfs torg 20, 111 52 Stockholm, Sweden
The Royal Swedish Opera House, also known as Kungliga, is a neo-baroque masterpiece that embodies Stockholm's cultural splendor.
It has been Sweden’s national theater for opera and ballet since January 18, 1773, the first performance of the opera house. From then, King Gustav III wanted a fully Swedish ensemble inside a Swedish opera, so he commissioned a new building to be built.This was completed in 1782 but almost after two years to the day, King Gustav III was shot at a masked ball held at his very own opera.
This opera house was in use for about 100 years, but a decision was made to take it down in 1892. Finally, close to 7 years later in 1898, the opera house was completed and opened to the public.
Throughout the years new design additions have been made as well as multiple name changes, 12 to be exact. In 1997 the official name of Kungliga Teatern, The Royal Theater, was given, and became the opera house we know today.
Beyond its fascinating history and captivating performances, the opera house's waterfront location surely adds to its beauty. Its grand auditorium, adorned with amazing craftsmanship, offers impeccable acoustics.
Backstage, the opera house thrives with workshops, rehearsals, and guided tours, immersing visitors in the world of Opera production.
Here’s a fun fact for you! Another piece that makes this opera house so unique is that it stands where a fortress once guarded Stockholm's shores. Its journey from fortification to an artistic and architectural work symbolizes the city's transformation. The waterfront view adds charm, allowing visitors to arrive by boat or admire its reflection on the water.
The opera house transcends its role as a performance venue; it's a living testament to art's power to transcend time.
Strömgatan 16-20, 111 52 Stockholm, Sweden
The Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or Utrikesdepartementet (UD), is a Neoclassical gem, as it commands diplomacy from its historic core.
It was designed by Swedish architect Aron Johansson, with construction taking place between 1906 and 1912. With inspirational roots dating back to the 18th century, it orchestrates Sweden's international relations and shapes its global identity. Its imposing columns and meticulous design mirror the gravitas of its diplomatic endeavors.
The ministry's halls echo with the weight of historic negotiations and international decisions. Inside its walls, Sweden's history is chronicled, giving insight into its role on the world stage.
The Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs is a multifaceted institution that plays a key role in promoting Sweden’s values and then putting them to real use. Such as how Sweden allocates a significant portion of its budget to foreign aid, or how the majority of their policy focuses on topics like human rights, sustainable development, and gender equality.
The ministry's significance is not limited to its administrative role; it's an emblem of Swedish diplomacy and cooperation. The archives house diplomatic documents, bridging the past and present. The ministry's function transcends political borders, embodying Sweden's commitment to a peaceful world order.
Amidst changing global dynamics, it remains a guardian of diplomatic ties, echoing Sweden's values and its pursuit of global harmony.
Strömgatan 18, 111 52 Stockholm, Sweden
This historic building, known as the Sager House, serves as the official residence for the Prime Minister of Sweden.
As it beautifully sits on the waterfront of Lake Norrström, near many other important government buildings. The Sager House is an example of Neo-Renaissance architecture style due to its ornate facade and many decorative elements inside and out. State banquets are usually held at The Sager House, as well as many other meetings and receptions.
The house is decorated with many historical artifacts and diplomatic gifts from an array of these different events.
The Sager House is a hub of political activity; it has been witness to discussions, decisions, and diplomatic endeavors that shape the nation's trajectory. Its grandeur extends beyond its architectural elegance, encompassing the weight of responsibility that comes with guiding a nation.
Drottninggatan 2, 111 51 Stockholm, Sweden
Riksbron Bridge connects Stockholm's past and present. Proposed in 1712 by King Charles XII, but was unable to be fulfilled as Sweden was at war with Russia, with no funding and manpower to be given to such a bridge. It wasn’t until 1898 that the idea to have a permanent bridge with three arches was taken seriously, and in 1907 a truss bridge, a bridge with connected triangular units, was built. The goal for a three arched bridge was constantly being passed around, but was never completed.
What we are walking across today is a single span bridge that was proposed in 1924 and then completed in 1931. Riksbron bridge connects Norrmalm to Gamla Stan. "Riksbron" translates to "National Bridge," underlining its role in joining many historical buildings, like The Royal Palace. Riksbron's waters have seen historic events, from royal coronations to contemporary celebrations. A unique feature is its ample space, inviting both pedestrians and cyclists.
Riksgatan 3, 111 28 Stockholm, Sweden
Riksdagshuset, also known as The Swedish Parliament House, is Sweden's official Parliament seat. This seat at parliament is a beacon of Sweden’s democratic values, and an essential role in preserving Sweden’s identity and fostering civic engagement.
This is where Sweden’s lawmakers convene to discuss and make decisions on legislation and policies. Designed by Aron Johansson and completed in 1905, it showcases Neoclassical grandeur, drawing inspiration from Greek and Roman forms. The Plenary Chamber inside The Swedish Parliament House, is where parliamentary sessions are held.
This is the exact space where members of Riksdag (members of parliament) debate and then of course vote on Sweden’s proposed laws and policies. Its chambers echo debates shaping the nation's course. The building's location on Helgeandsholmen Island grants it a unique presence amidst Stockholm's waters.
Riksdagshuset symbolizes democratic governance, where the nation's voices resonate.The parliamentary complex's construction mirrors Sweden's democratic journey. Its history intertwines with political transformations, embodying the nation's commitment to transparency and participation.
The Riksdagshuset does have glass walls, allowing for visibility and stands as a metaphor for an open government, inviting citizens to observe democracy in action. The island setting fosters a sense of seclusion and significance, turning the building into a sanctuary of civic engagement.
Visitors can witness democracy's heartbeat within these historic walls, thanks to public tours that offer insight into the building’s architecture as well as how Swedish Parliament operates.
Riddarhustorget 8, 111 28 Stockholm, Sweden
On the right will be Bonde Palace and Riddarhuset. Both Bonde Palace and Riddarhuset, reflect Sweden's noble past. First up is the Bonde Palace. Construction for the palace began in the 1640s and was completed in the early years of 1650. There is a mix of architecture styles, combining Dutch Renaissance and baroque influences. The exterior of Bonde is adorned with intricate stonework and many sculptural elements with an ornate facade and Rococo interiors showcase aristocratic extravagance. The Bonde Palace was created for the historically significant noble family, you guessed it, the Bondes Family. This family is intertwined with Sweden’s monarchy, and even traces back to medieval times. But, in 1710 there was a fire that destroyed the magnificent roof that once sat atop The Bonde Palace, and then 20 years later the palace was finally bought by the city of Munich, ending its private estate history.
Riddarhuset is the House of Nobility in Sweden and it stands as a testament to aristocracy. It has housed some of the most influential individuals in all of Sweden’s history. As it’s in its name, built for the nobility to assemble and shape Sweden's destiny, it emphasizes historical continuity. A very clear and gorgeous representation of Dutch Baroque, with its use of realism and attention to detail. These structures remind us of Sweden's varied past, where elegance and influence intertwined.
Since 2003 it has been a private institution where it maintains records and acts on behalf of the Swedish nobility, but its primary focus is old Swedish culture and traditions. There are several rooms within Riddarhuset filled with countless historical artifacts that you can visit for only one hour between 11:00am and 12:00pm Monday through Friday.
Both structures whisper stories of the nation's privileged class, and their presence adds depth to Stockholm's architectural fabric, capturing the essence of a bygone era.
Riddarhustorget 10, 111 28 Stockholm, Sweden
Birger Jarls Torg 2, 111 28 Stockholm, Sweden
Riddarholmen Church, a testament to Sweden's royal history, stands proudly on the islet of Riddarholmen in the heart of Stockholm.
This medieval church, with its distinct spire, is a striking landmark that has witnessed centuries of royal ceremonies and commemorations. Originally founded as a Franciscan monastery in the late 13th century, the church later evolved into the final resting place for many Swedish monarchs and prominent figures.
Its austere yet elegant interior showcases a blend of Gothic and Baroque architectural elements, inviting visitors to reflect on the nation's storied past. There are a number of burial sites throughout the church where the remains of kings, queens and royal family members alike are resting in walls and crypts of Riddarholmen.
The church's Whispering Gallery, known for its unique acoustic properties, captivates visitors with its ability to carry even the softest whispers across the room. This enchanting feature adds an air of mystery and wonder to the visit, encouraging guests to engage in a timeless tradition of sharing secrets across the centuries-old chamber. There are also multiple life sized statues depicting members of the royal family. When studying these effigies you can learn about the different attire, traditions and overall appearance throughout the many eras before us.
Beyond its acoustics, the church's ornate chapels, intricate gravestones, and historical artifacts provide insights into Sweden's royal lineage and the cultural evolution that has shaped the nation.
Riddarholmen Church's serene location, nestled against the backdrop of Stockholm's skyline, offers a serene and contemplative space that pays homage to the nation's regal legacy.
Riddarhustorget, 111 28 Stockholm, Sweden
Such an amazing piece of history right? What a beautiful church. To reach our next stop we will head down the road, make a left in a couple blocks, and one more right and our historical artifact will be just ahead!
28, Stora Nygatan, 111 27 Stockholm, Sweden
The Kabrinken Runestone may take you a second to find. It is wrapped along the corner of a restaurant named Gamla Stan Hof, with a short red pole next to it to help mark its place.
Kakbrinken Runestone stands as an enigmatic monument in the heart of Stockholm. Dating back to the Viking Age, its inscriptions bear witness to a distant era. A runestone is an ancient artifact that is typically a flat stone slab filled with inscriptions. Runes are the letters used by different Germanic languages.
There can be many reasons as to why a runestone was created in the first place. It could have been for memorializing deceased friends and or family, or even to explain one’s achievements or important events from their life. An ancient diary if you will? Its presence amidst the city's contemporary rhythm echoes Sweden's ancient roots. The runestone's inscriptions offer glimpses into Viking society, bridging the gap between past and present.
Kakbrinken Runestone's journey from Viking times to urban modernity is a testament to Stockholm's layered history. Its inscription invites contemplation, unlocking fragments of a society that once roamed these lands. Runestones give us valuable insight into Viking culture and even their stories and personal thoughts and ideas.
Whether it may be referring historical events or poetic verses, the runestone remains a silent storyteller, connecting today's inhabitants with their forebears and a world long past.
Prästgatan 68, 111 29 Stockholm, Sweden
Tyska Stallplan translates to “German Stable Square”, a fitting name for a quaint square that harkens to medieval times when it housed the German merchants' stables.
Its charm lies in its cobblestones, historic ambiance, and proximity to Stockholm's modern heartbeat. But, where we stand now is in Stockholm’s Old Town, Gamla Stan.
Gamla Stan is known for its medieval architecture and its many narrow streets, something you’ll get a chance to experience for yourself in just a little bit!
Tyska Stallplan is surrounded by fun and colorful buildings, creating a warm environment for this cozy square. This is a wonderful place to find a coffee shop just so you can marvel at the absolute beauty that is Stockholm.
The square's comfortable atmosphere and traditional Swedish style reflects the city's evolution, offering a glimpse into its vibrant history and contemporary life.
Tyska Stallplan embodies the city's layers, blending historical significance with modern dynamism. From stables to an inviting center square, it mirrors Stockholm's transformation through the ages. Its cobblestone pathways invite exploration, fostering a connection with a rich past that coexists with the present's hustle and bustle.
The square's essence beckons visitors to uncover its stories, making it a microcosm of Stockholm's diverse character.
Prästgatan 78, 111 29 Stockholm, Sweden
Mårten Trotzigs Gränd stands as a hidden gem in Stockholm's labyrinthine streets.
With a mere 90-centimeter, or 35 inches, in width, it's one of Europe's narrowest alleys. Snap a picture! This is a unique spot to capture Sweden’s character.
As you can see there are a series of stairs that wind between the buildings that surround it. These stairs can be a bit tricky to navigate so please be careful! But, as you take small steps make sure to take looks behind and in front of you to see the different angles from this even smaller alleyway.
Mårten Trotzigs Gränd is named after a merchant by the name of Mårten Trotzig,who lived in Stockholm in the 16th century and it is believed he owned many of these buildings around the narrow street all those years ago. This small but mighty alley carries centuries of history within its confines. The alley's charming allure and its tales of days gone by beckon intrepid explorers.
Mårten Trotzigs Gränd encapsulates the intimacy of medieval Stockholm, where narrow paths held secrets and stories. The alley whispers of a time when the city was smaller, but life's complexities echoed just as fervently. Its narrowness invites a sense of intimacy, allowing visitors to imagine the bustling past that unfolded within these tight confines. A stroll here transports you to a quieter, hidden side of Stockholm's history.
Svartmangatan 27, 111 29 Stockholm, Sweden
A bit of a longer stretch to our next stop, but nothing too major! We will just head straight down this road and hang a left around the block to another historical church.
Skomakargatan 15, 111 29 Stockholm, Sweden
Tyska Kyrkan, or the German Church, serves as a testament to Stockholm's multicultural past. Built by German merchants in the 16th century who were a part of the Hanseatic League, a medieval alliance and confederation for trading and markets alike.
The church's architecture and history offer a glimpse into the city’s cultures and faiths. Blending Hanseatic and Northern European styles, the church exudes simplicity and elegance, with wooden pews and a stunning altar.
Its exterior with a brick steeple and a copper covered spire that together reach 96 meters tall. But, the most interesting and noticeable feature of the German Church are the Neo Gothic gargoyles sitting at the top.
For once they were looked at as an odd choice, but are now an architectural artifact recognized as simply a part of the Stockholm world.
As Tyska Kyrkan used to cater only to German-speaking individuals, today it is a home for worship but also a cultural center. There are many events that take place at the German Church such as musical performances as its acoustics are quite significant. Its presence is a reminder of Stockholm's enduring spirit of acceptance and inclusion.
Tyska Kyrkan bridges cultural boundaries through its architecture and history. Its silhouette tells a story of German merchants seeking spiritual solace in a foreign land. The church's role in fostering community and faith underlines Stockholm's history as a hub of diverse influences. Its interior reflects the timeless beauty of grace, offering tranquility amidst the city's hustle. Tyska Kyrkan resonates with the echoes of prayers from generations past, a testament to Stockholm's open-hearted embrace of different cultures. Psalms are even still sung by an active German congregation.
Stortorget 22, 111 29 Stockholm, Sweden
Stortorget, Stockholm's oldest square, exudes historical charm. Bordered by vibrant facades, it's a vivid canvas of the city's evolution.
The square witnessed pivotal moments, including the Stockholm Bloodbath. In November of 1520 the incoming Danish king, Christian II, had granted amnesty to those who did not support him nor fight for him in the war prior. So, to celebrate his place as king as well as his kind act to spare them, a large party was thrown for three days. But, on the fourth day Christian II was informed that many of these Swedish nobles he pardoned, were kättare, heretics.
The crime of kättare surpasses that of a pardon and is punishable by death during this time period.
On November 8, 1520 between 60 and 120 nobles were executed and were not removed from Stortorget until November 10. Sorry to have to share that where we are standing is a bit of a horror story, but it's important to remember each country’s history. So we don’t repeat it right?
Although this horrible event took place, Stortorget still brims with life, adorned by cafes and the Nobel Museum, a museum that celebrates the Nobel Prize and all of the influential individuals and important information we have gained because of them.
There are many fantastic restaurants nearby, if you need to stop for a traditional Swedish lunch I really recommend Grillska Huset! A small cafe and deli in a gorgeous 17th century building. They have a permanent menu, but everyday they have different specials based upon the local and fresh ingredients they have for that day.
Stortorget's cobblestones carry tales of a city that endured trials and triumphs. The square's colorful buildings mirror the diverse stories etched into Stockholm's fabric. It's a space where history's echoes meet the laughter of modern gatherings. The Stockholm Bloodbath's shadow adds depth to its charm, reminding visitors of the city's resilience. The square's transformation into a cultural hub embodies the city's ability to blend its past with a lively present. We’ll be making our way to the Nobel Museum, but maybe stop for a Croque Monsieur at Grillska Huset? I know I would!
Svartmangatan 4, 111 29 Stockholm, Sweden
The Nobel Museum, nestled in Stortorget, celebrates human ingenuity and endeavor. Dedicated to Alfred Nobel's legacy, it illuminates the lives and achievements of Nobel laureates. Exhibits honor innovations in peace, literature, science, and more.
The museum's interactive displays and thought-provoking exhibits inspire visitors to reflect on the impact of individual contributions on global progress. But it wasn’t always the Nobel Museum. This building was originally designed and housed for the Stockholm Stock Exchange in the 1770s.
It is a lovely example of Swedish Baroque architecture shown through its details and use of classical elements.
The Nobel Museum’s facade shows off exquisite stone carvings and grand features such as the overwhelmingly beautiful staircase or the many pillars throughout the interior.
Many events take place within these walls. Whether you would like to be a part of the re-creation of the Nobel Banquet, stroll the exhibitions during their late night Fridays, or enjoy many of the concerts, performances and literary and science talks offered, there is something for everyone.
The Nobel Museum serves as a beacon of inspiration, shedding light on remarkable individuals who shaped our world. It's a place of introspection, where laureates' journeys are intertwined with their creations. The museum showcases the intersection of passion, curiosity, and transformative ideas that led to breakthroughs in various fields.
Its presence in Stortorget reinforces the square's role as a hub of historical significance and contemporary exploration.
The Nobel Museum invites visitors to ponder the potential of human imagination and the power of purpose.
Trångsund 1, 111 29 Stockholm, Sweden
Storkyrkan, or the Great Church, is Stockholm's oldest place of worship. Its origins trace back to the 13th century. This grand cathedral has witnessed coronations, weddings, and historic events.
Its interior boasts artistic treasures, including the St. George and the Dragon sculpture. A fairy tale as old as time, St. George on horseback, defeating a dragon to save the princess. The story used as inspiration for the sculpture originates from St. George’s hagiography from the Golden Legend, a medieval text. The tale goes that St. George met a princess in a town called Silene. He quickly learns from the princess’s father he has to sacrifice her in order to appease the dragon who lives just outside their city. St.George couldn’t let that happen, so he took his horse and sword and pledges to save the princess as long as the entire town agrees to be baptized, as a good Roman officer does. So not only does he rescue his damsel in distress, but also converts the town of Silene to Christianity. The forgiving princess kneeling towards St. George on a separate base that holds him and the dragon.
With Gothic and Baroque architectural elements like vaulted ceilings and stunning glass windows throughout, it creates the perfect atmosphere for the statue and other historical artifacts.
The church houses an organ dating back to the 18th century. This instrument goes by the name of the Leuchtenberg Organ and it is known for its fantastic sound quality that is only accelerated by the acoustics in Storkyrkan. The Leuchtenberg Organ is still used for certain concerts and recitals to this day.
Storkyrkan's towering presence embodies the continuity of faith in the heart of Stockholm. The church's diverse history, from medieval beginnings to modern significance, reflects the city's journey. Its interior offers a sanctuary of serenity, where artistic masterpieces intertwine with spiritual devotion.
Storkyrkan's bells continue to resonate through time, marking moments of celebration and reflection for generations. The church's walls hold stories of devotion, resilience, and unity, echoing the soul of Stockholm through the ages.
Trångsund 1, 111 29 Stockholm, Sweden
The Royal Palace, “Kungliga Slottel”, is a majestic landmark that embodies the monarchy's enduring presence. With over 600 rooms, it's one of Europe's largest palaces. With a powerful Baroque style with elements of NeoClassical, representing the transition from one to the next. The exterior facade is covered with many decorative pieces as well as rows of windows and pilasters. There are two courtyards, an outer and an inner. The outer courtyard is surrounded by the palace’s four wings. The inner courtyard being where the smaller living rooms within the palace face.
The palace serves as a working symbol of royalty, with the Royal Apartments offering a glimpse into royal life. Its presence exudes regal elegance, echoing centuries of history and tradition. The Royal Apartments stand as an overarching title for the state rooms which are used for the King and Queen’s receptions. These events include but are not limited to gala dinners, cabinet meetings and parliamentary evenings. If you decide to take a tour through these magnificent rooms, you will see each monarch’s lasting touch to the palace, such as King Carl Gustaf’s Jubilee room.
The Treasury. The Treasury is where Sweden’s Monarchy Regalia is held in cellar vaults. There lies the oldest preserved crown that belongs to Erik XIV, and other invaluable objects.
I hope you take the time to tour the Royal Palace, but if you do make sure to keep your eyes peeled for the ghost Queen Lovisa Ulrika. She was married to King Adolf Frederick in the 18th century, but she is said to have passed away in the Hall of State (Rikssalen) within the palace. Legend has it that she roams those very hallways mourning her lost life and love.
If ghosts are not your cup of tea, perhaps you can catch a time when the Changing of the Guard ceremony at the Outer Courtyard takes place. The Changing of the Guards is a historical ceremony dating back to 1523.
The Royal Palace stands as a testament to Sweden's monarchy, mirroring its evolution over time. The palace's grandeur and intricate details capture the essence of regal splendor and its unique blend of historic significance and contemporary function showcases the monarchy's relevance. The Royal Apartments reveal the palace's intimate side, sharing glimpses of royal routines and moments. The Changing of the Guard, a centuries-old tradition, adds to the palace's allure, offering a ceremonial link to history. As visitors explore its halls, they traverse the pages of Sweden's narrative, woven within the walls of this iconic palace.
That is the end of our walking tour through Stockholm, Sweden! Stockholm truly is decorated with history, beauty, folklore and so much influence and inspiration. I hope you feel a bit more knowledgeable about this fantastic city, and are more acclimated with the space which you are in. Thank you so much for sharing your time with me today, maybe we could get a coffee back at Tyska Stallplan if you haven’t already?