Stockholm Palace

The Stockholm Palace (Swedish: Stockholms slott or Kungliga slottet) is the official residence and major royal palace of the Swedish monarch. (The private residence of the royal family is Drottningholm Palace). Stockholm Palace is located on Stadsholmen ("city island"), in Gamla Stan (the old town) in the capital, Stockholm. It neighbours the Riksdag, Sweden's parliament.

The offices of the monarch (King Carl XVI Gustaf) and the other members of the Swedish Royal Family as well as the offices of the Royal Court of Sweden are located there. The palace is used for representative purposes by the King whilst performing his duties as the head of state.

The southern façade is facing the grand-style slope Slottsbacken; the eastern façade is bordering Skeppsbron, an impressive quay passing along the eastern waterfront of the old town; on the northern front is Lejonbacken, a system of ramps named after the Medici lions sculptures on the stone railings; and the western wings border the open space Högvaktsterrassen.


The first building on this site was a fortress with a core tower built in the 13th century by Birger Jarl to defend Lake Mälaren. The fortress grew to a palace, named Tre Kronor ("Three Crowns") after the core towers' spire.

In the late 16th century, much work was done to transform the old fortress into a Renaissance-style palace under King John III. In 1690, it was decided to rebuild the palace in Baroque style after a design by Nicodemus Tessin the Younger. In 1692, work began on the northern row. It was complete in 1697, but much of the palace was destroyed in a fire on May 7, 1697.

Tessin rebuilt the damaged palace, and work continued for another 63 years. Half-round wings around the outer western courtyard were finished in 1734, the palace church was finished in the 1740s, and the exterior was finished in 1754. The royal family moved to the palace with the southwest, southeast, and northeast wings finished. The northwest wing was finished in 1760. In the north, the Lejonbacken ("Lion's Slope") was rebuilt from 1824 to 1830. Its name comes from the Medici lions-inspired sculptures that stand there.

The palace is guarded by the Högvakten, a royal guard of members of the Swedish Armed Forces. The guard dates back to the early 16th century.

The palace today

The palace is built of brick, with midsections of the west, south, and east façades covered by sandstone. The roof slopes slightly inwards. The roof is covered with copper and is surrounded by a stone balustrade which is stretched around the entire main building.

The palace has 1430 rooms, 660 with windows and is one of the largest royal palaces in the world still in use for its original purpose. The palace consists of four rows: western, southern, eastern, and northern. The southern façade represents the nation, the west façade represents the king, the east façade represents the queen, and the northern façade represents the common royal. From west to east the palace façade is 115 m (without wings); from north to south the palace façade is 120 m. These four rows surround the inner courtyard.

From the main buildings' corners, four wings stretch out east and west. All wings are 48 m long and 16 m wide except the southwest wing which is only 11 m. The irregularity is hidden by two free-standing half-round wings that surround the outer courtyard. The Logården ("Lynx Yard") is a small garden between the southeast and northeast wing.

The western row

Walking up Västra Trapphuset (Western Staircase), a visitor will find the entrance to the Bernadotte Apartment to the left on the second floor, and the entrance to Ordenssalarna (Halls of the Orders of Chivalry) to the right. On the third floor lies The Guest Apartment (left side), and the entrance to the state apartment (right).

The eastern row

One stair down, with entrance from the south, lies Livrustkammaren, Sweden's oldest museum, which contains old weapons, uniforms and also the crown jewels.

The northern row

In the northern row lie the King's and Queen's suites (which contains bedchambers, wardrobes and anterooms). In the northern row also lies the State apartment which contains the ball room Vita Havet (the White Sea). In the same row Karl XI:s galleri (Charles XI's gallery) is located, from 1950 used as the main banqueting room in the Palace with room for about 200 seated guests. Between five and ten dinners (official dinners, state dinners and a dinner in honour of the Nobel prize winners) are held in the galley each year. Also in the northern row of the Palace lies the old Square Room in which the King, and sometimes the Crown Princess, meet with the Government for Council in State. On the ground floor lies the Exhibition apartments which is used for special exhibitions and public lectures. The rooms used to be the private apartment of king Gustaf VI Adolf. On the street level, under Lejonbacken, lies Museum Tre Kronor. The museum is located in the rooms that used to be kitchens in the Tre Kronor Castle and are thus the oldest rooms in the Palace.

The southern row

One stair up lies Rikssalen and the Palace Church. Rikssalen is at the west and the Palace Church is at the east. One stair down lies Skattkammaren (the Treasure Chamber) which contains the Swedish crown jewels.

The northeast wing

In the northeast wing lies Gustav III's antikmuseum (museum of antiques). It contains Ancient sculptures found in Italy.

  • Slottskyrkan (Palace's Church) 2011 chapel at the southern row

  • Rikssalen (The Hall of State) 1976 Ceremonial room at The southern row

  • Bernadottegalleriet (Bernadotte Galleries) 2011 The Bernadotte apartments

  • Pelarsalen (The Pearl Room) 2011 The Bernadotte apartments

  • 1940s room Queen Victoria's apartment

  • Meleagersalongen (Meleager Room) 2011 Gästvåningen (Guests' rooms)

  • Vita havet (The White Sea Halls) 2011 Festvåningen (banqueting rooms)

  • Skära salongen (The Crescent Room) 1940-60 Prins Bertil's apartment

  • Karl XI's Gallery 2008 Festvåningen (banqueting rooms)

  • Konseljsalen (Counsils' Room) 2011 statsråd (ministers' cabinet meeting room)


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