The Drottningholm Palace is the private residence of the Swedish royal family. It is located in Drottningholm. Drottningholm Castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is Swedish best-preserved royal castle built in the 17th century in Sweden and is representative of all European royal architecture from that time. The castle was built after French models by architect Nicodemus Tessin the Elder on behalf of Queen Hedvig Eleonora. Several royalty have since left their mark on the castle.
It was originally built in the late 16th century, and it served as a regular summer residence of the Swedish royal court for most of the 18th century. The royal family moved into Drottningholm’s castle in 1981. Today, the castle is the royal couple’s permanent residence. The rooms in the southern part of the castle are reserved for the King and Queen. However, the castle and the park are mostly open to visitors all year round.
The castle got its name as early as 1579, during the time of Johan III. He had a stone house built for his queen Katarina (Jagellonica). On the initiative of Queen Hedvig Eleonora, the current castle was planned and built from 1662 to around 1750 as a pleasure castle according to drawings by the architects Nicodemus Tessin d.ä., Nicodemus Tessin dy and Carl Hårleman.
In 1777, the state bought the Drottningholm property from Queen Lovisa Ulrika and it has since been in its possession. After the purchase, Gustav III was given the right of disposal to Drottningholm, which was the royal familyhad since. The castle and the castle park have changed over time and the regents who lived there have left their mark as changing styles and fashion trends.
Drottningholm’s castle is one of the most important castle buildings of the Swedish great power era and is Sweden’s best-preserved royal castle. In the castle area, in addition to the castle, there are several buildings and areas such as China Castle, Drottningholm’s Castle Theater with the Theater Plan, also Little China, Hemmet, Götiska tornet, Drottningholmsmalmen. The castle consists of baroque garden and an English park. The park and the castle building are largely open to visitors, but some parts are closed to the public as they are managed by the royal family. Drottningholm’s park and buildings are visited annually by an estimated 700,000 people from Sweden and abroad.
The castle area with the main building, the castle theater, China Castle, Kantongatan, the parks and the ore became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991 and was then Sweden’s first object on the World Heritage List. The protected area around the World Heritage Site comprises about 40 buildings. In addition to the castle itself with the park, large areas north and west of Ekerövägen are also included.
The castle and several of the buildings in the castle garden and some of the buildings on the ore are also a state building monument. Drottningholm Castle is owned by the Swedish state and managed by the State Real Estate Agency, while the office of governor administers the king’s right of disposition.
The castle area with the main building, the castle theater, China Castle, Kantongatan, the parks and the ore became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991 and was then Sweden’s first object on the World Heritage List. For the position of the World Heritage Committee, China Castle and the Palace Theater were decisive, but the whole area was covered by the decision.
The statement of reasons was: The Drottningholm facility – the castle, the theater, China Castle and the park – is the best-preserved example of a royal residence built in the 18th century in Sweden, representative of all European royal architecture from this time, with inspiration from the Palace of Versailles as well as the construction of others royal residence in Western, Central and Northern Europe.
The settlement has its origins in the village of Glia, first mentioned in document 1342. During the siege of Stockholm in 1521, Gustav Vasa established a fortified camp at Glia. to a royal manor, Glia manor. The name Drottningholm (literally meaning “Queen’s islet”) came from the original renaissance building designed by Willem Boy, a stone palace built by John III of Sweden in 1580 for his queen, Catherine Jagiellon. This palace was preceded by a royal mansion called Torvesund.
Here, Gustav Vasa’s second son Johan III, beginning in 1579, had a castle built which was named Drottningholm, after his wife the queen. The artist and architect Willem Boy was hired as an architect. Shortly after the start of construction, the plague broke out in Stockholm and construction was delayed. The Queen was a Catholic and Drottningholm came to play a special role as a refuge for the last Catholics, who were persecuted in other parts of the kingdom.
The Queen Dowager Regent Hedwig Eleonora bought the castle in 1661, a year after her role as Queen of Sweden ended, but it burnt to the ground on 30 December that same year. Hedwig Eleonora engaged the architect Nicodemus Tessin the Elder to design and rebuild the castle. In 1662, work began on the reconstruction of the building.
With the castle almost complete, Nicodemus died in 1681. His son Nicodemus Tessin the Younger continued his work and completed the elaborate interior designs. The Flemish sculptor Nicolaes Millich made for the great staircase and hall sculptures of the nine muses in marble, along with a series of busts of Gothic kings.
In addition, he also made bust portraits of King Charles X Gustav, his wife Hedwig Eleonor and both their sons, the young King Charles XI, probably also of Magnus Gabriel De la Gardie and his wife Maria Euphrosyne, a sister of King Charles X Gustav. Millich and his assistant Burchard Precht also made decorative wood carvings in the queen dowager’s bed chamber.
During the period of the reconstruction, Hedwig Eleonora was head of the regency for the still-underage King, Charles XI of Sweden, from 1660 to 1672. Sweden had grown to be a powerful country after the Peace of Westphalia. The position of the queen, essentially the ruler of Sweden, demanded an impressive residence located conveniently close to Stockholm.
During the reign of the kings Charles XI of Sweden and Charles XII of Sweden, the royal court was often present at the palace, which was used for hunting. Hedwig Eleonora used the palace as a summer residence until her death in 1715, also when she had become the undisputed host of the royal court during the absence of Charles XII in Great Northern War (1700–1721).
Drottningholm continued to serve regularly as a summer residence for the royal court during the entire 18th-century. After the death of Hedwig Eleonora in 1715, Queen Ulrika Eleonora of Sweden and King Frederick I of Sweden held court at the palace in the summer.
In 1744, the palace was given as a gift from King Frederick I to the then Crown Princess, later Queen of Sweden, Louisa Ulrika of Prussia when she married Adolf Frederick of Sweden, who became King of Sweden in 1751. During Louisa Ulrika’s ownership of Drottningholm the interior of the palace was transformed into a more sophisticated French rococo style.
Louisa Ulrika was also responsible for having the Drottningholm Palace Theatre rebuilt in a grand style after the more modest original building burnt down in 1762. Louisa Ulrika and Adolf Fredrick continued to reside at the palace during their reign (1751–1771). In 1777, Louisa Ulrika sold Drottningholm to the Swedish state.
While it was owned by the Swedish state, the palace was used by King Gustav III of Sweden, son of Louisa Ulrika, as a summer residence, and a grand ceremonial court life was performed at the palace, which is considered to have been a great age for the palace, during which it was known for the elaborate masquerades and grand theatrical festivities and tournaments performed in the gardens.
During the reign of Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden (reign 1792–1809) and Charles XIII of Sweden (reign 1809–1818) the palace was gradually used more sporadically. In 1797, it was the place of the great festivities when the King’s bride, Frederica of Baden, was received there upon her arrival in Sweden, during which the last so called carousel, or tournament, was staged in the palace garden. After the Coup of 1809, the deposed Gustav IV Adolf was kept here under guard in the Chinese Drawing Room for eleven days.
During the reign of Charles XIV John of Sweden (reign 1818–1844), the palace was abandoned. The King regarded it as a symbol of the old dynasty, and Drottningholm was left to decay. The buildings were damaged by the forces of nature, and their inventories were either taken away or auctioned off.
It was apparently opened to the public for the first time during this period: a tour was mentioned in 1819, and the public used the park for picnics. Occasionally, the grounds were used for public events: in 1823, the bride of the crown prince, Josephine of Leuchtenberg, was received upon her arrival to Sweden, and her name day continued to be celebrated here. Foreign guests were received in the palace gardens, such as Tsar Nicholas I of Russia.
Oscar I of Sweden took an interest in the palace, and though he preferred Tullgarn Palace as summer residence, he took care to preserve the palace by doing the first repairs in 1846. He further more used it for public celebrations, such as a reception for Pan-Scandinavian students in 1856, and in 1858, the future Gustav V of Sweden was born in the palace. Charles XV of Sweden preferred Ulriksdal Palace as his summer residence and ignored Drottningholm, but Oscar II of Sweden continued the repairs.
Both Oscar I and Oscar II were criticized for modernizing the palace and adjusting it to contemporary fashion rather than restoring it to its original state, and it was not until the reign of Gustav V that the palace and surroundings were reconstructed to their 18th-century appearance. In 1907, a major four-year restoration of the palace was begun to restore it to its former state, after which the royal court began to use it regularly again.
The palace and its grounds have seen many renovations, changes and additions over the past 400 years. The largest renovation, in which electricity, heating, sewage, water lines were either installed or updated and the castle roof replaced, took place between 1907 and 1913. During a 20-year-period beginning around 1977, several major areas of the palace were restored and rebuilt. The library and national hall received much of the attention and fire protection was installed throughout the palace. In 1997, work began to clean and rebuild the exterior walls. This was completed in 2002.
The current Swedish royal family have used the west-wing Drottningholm as their primary residence since 1981. Since then, the Palace has also been guarded by the Swedish Military in the same fashion as Stockholm Palace. The other parts of the Palace is open to the public.
Visit Drottningholm and experience a historic environment of the highest international class. Together with the exotic pleasure castle China Castle, the castle theater and the magnificent castle park, the castle complex forms a unique whole.
Tessin’s main building, which is influenced by French – Dutch classicism in appearance, houses the magnificent staircase and parade rooms, while the two side lengths contain the living suites. The sculptural decoration of the stairwell was commissioned for the sculptor Nicolaes Millich from Antwerp. His statues depicting Apollo and the Muses were delivered in the 1670s and 1680s. The stucco work in the stairwell and on the facades was carried out by Giovanni and Carlo Carove. Famous are Hedvig Eleonora’s parade bed chamber and Lovisa Ulrika’s Gustavian library with furnishings designed byJean Eric Rehn.
When the main building was completed around the midsummer of 1664, work began on the facade decorations. From Italy, the stucco artist Giovanni Carove was brought in, who made coats of arms with Swedish and Holstein-Gottorp coats of arms and the richly decorated cornice with lion heads, brackets and eagles in the outer corners of the cornice. From 1665 he and Mario Carove also did the stucco work in the stairwell.
The stonemasons Johan Larsson Wimmer and Johan Köpkeeach created four pairs of horizontal figures over four windows (two on the east and two on the west façade). These are roughly executed male and female figures in a semi-lying position. In two niches above the entrance to the garden were placed ancient sculptures, which were taken from Stockholm Castle. These were moved back to Gustav III’s antique museum in 1966 after they were replaced by copies. It was probably intended to fill other empty niches with sculptures, but this was never done.
Two queens have characterized Drottningholm – Hedvig Eleonora who built the castle during the great power era and Lovisa Ulrika who in the 18th century took the castle into modern times. Drottningholm’s castle has changed over time and the royals who lived here have left their mark on the castle’s interior after changing styles and fashion trends. Hedvig Eleonora, Lovisa Ulrika and Gustav III have made strong contributions to the interior design of the representation floor.
The 16th-century castle burned to the ground on 30 December 1661. Earlier this year, the castle had been purchased by the Queen of Sweden, Hedvig Eleonora. After the devastating fire, the architect Nicodemus Tessin was commissioned by the older Queen of Sweden to build a county castle building, and in 1662 the current castle began to be built.
Nicodemus Tessin the Elder created a series of interiors that are considered to be the foremost in the country from the early Baroque. These include the stairwell, the Ehrenstrahlsalongen and not least Hedvig Eleonora’s Parade Bed Chamber. At the death of Ticino the Elder in 1682, his son Nicodemus Tessin took over the younger assignment to complete the great castle building. From this era can be mentioned, among other things, Charles XI’s gallery.
Drottningholm came to remain the royal ladies’ castle and in 1744 the castle was given as a wedding gift to Princess Lovisa Ulrika of Prussia when she married the Swedish heir to the throne Adolf Fredrik. Lovisa Ulrika’s time at Drottningholm became a cultural golden age. The castle was provided with interiors in French-inspired Rococo. Lovisa Ulrika’s Green Atrium is a representative example of this.
Many of the foremost scientists of the time gathered at Drottningholm. Carl von Linné worked here to scientifically process the Royal Natural History Collection. From this era, Lovisa Ulrika’s library appears as a shining memorial. At this time, the famous castle theater was also created.
In 1777, the Swedish state redeemed Drottningholm and Gustav III came to inhabit the castle. At this time, according to English models, the large romantic nature park was created, which still surrounds the baroque castle and the French garden.
The main staircase at Drottningholm Castle was created between 1665 and 1687 by the architect Nicodemus Tessin d.ä. with the help of the Italian stucco actors Giovanni Carove and Carlo Carove (probably brothers), the sculptor Nicolaes Millich from Antwerp and the painter Johan Sylvius. The magnificent staircase with associated vestibules is one of Tessin d. Ä’s most powerful architectural creations. The stairwell was much admired and it was stated that it “hardly had its equal in Europe”.
Hedvig Eleonora’s parade bed chamber
Hedvig Eleonora’s parade bed chamber on the main floor was completed in 1683 and formed the heart of the then official residential suite. The client was Queen Hedvig Eleonora and her architect, Nicodemus Tessin d.ä., concentrated all her artistic imagination and knowledge on creating the best that Sweden could offer in this area. The result was a room that with its solid interior, painting and decorative elements is unsurpassed in the country.
Next to Hedvig Eleonora’s parade bed chamber is Hedvig Eleonora’s Large Auditorium, also called the Ehrenstrahl Salon. The walls and ceilings of the hall show allegorical depictions in the history of the royal family made by the court painter David Klöcker Ehrenstrahl in the 1690s. The middle part of the ceiling became the motif for Czesław Słania’s 1000th stamp engraved by him in March 2000.
The castle church
Drottningholm’s castle church is a church that belongs to the royal court administration. The building, which forms the northern tower of Drottningholm’s castle, was started in 1696. The church is completely round, but has three slightly protruding central parts and is covered by a copper-clad roof dome with windows and a lantern.
The church was completed in 1728. In the following years, the church was decorated, a work led by Carl Hårleman. In 1730 the church was consecrated. A rebuild was made in 1740 and in May 1746 the church was rededicated. By then, Princess Lovisa Ulrika had already received Drottningholm’s castle as a wedding gift when she married the Swedish heir to the throne, Adolf Fredrik.
The Castle Library
The castle library is a private library, located on the main floor in the northwest longitudinal towards the garden side next to the castle church. The interior was designed around 1760 by Jean Eric Rehn. The room he created is still preserved and has been called one of the most beautiful in Sweden.
Karl X Gustav’s Gallery
Karl X Gustav’s gallery is an art gallery located in the middle of the main floor towards the garden side. The room was decorated with large ceiling and wall paintings depicting Karl X Gustav’s military exploits. The murals, made by the German artist and battle painter Johann Philip Lemke, illustrate the king’s military efforts. The 1719 inventory shows that only three of these field types were erected in the gallery. But the following year, the nine remaining paintings were set up, nine years after Lemke’s death. The ceiling painting is dedicated to the war with various battle scenes taken from the battlefields of antiquity, it was made by Evrard Chauveau (1660–1739). The bust portraying Karl X Gustav has been made by the sculptor Nicolaes Millich.
Charles XI’s Gallery
Charles XI’s gallery is decorated as a memorial room for the king’s warlike exploits, similar to Charles X Gustav’s gallery and the General Hall. Johann Philip Lemke’s battle paintings from the 1690s depict field battles in Charles XI’s war against Denmark. The four paintings on the stairwell illustrate the decisive battle of the war at Lund on December 4, 1676, from the morning’s first clash to the Swedish victory in the afternoon. The ceiling painting in the gallery from 1690 was made by Johan Sylvius. It depicts how Fama, the good rumor, wakes up to the news of Charles XI’s victorious warfare. The marble bust, which represents Charles XIis made by the sculptor Nicolaes Millich.
The Rikshall is located on the southern part of the upper floor. The hall is also called the Contemporain Hall because of all the full-length portraits of European rulers that existed during Oscar I’s time. The hall and portrait collection were created on Queen Josefina’s initiative by architect Fredrik Wilhelm Scholander and were completed around the 1860s. In the hall there are 20 regent portraits where 17 are painted in full figure and three are waist pictures that fit over the doors.
The stone hall is located on the main floor directly below the Rikshall and is part of the royal family’s private part of the castle. The stone hall was originally Hedvig Eleonora’s large dining room with stone floors, hence the name. The walls are covered with woven wallpaper that was ordered in Delft for Queen Kristina’s coronation in 1650. The room is now the royal family’s festive living room, where the traditional Christmas celebration also takes place.
The porcelain room
The Porcelain Room is an exhibition room, decorated on the initiative of Oscar II for his collection of faience from the 18th century and was completed in 1897. The room, which was a gift from the castle’s officials to the king’s 25th anniversary, was designed by architect Agi Lindegren. In the middle of the roof is the large coat of arms and on the front of the fireplace is the king’s crowned mirror monogram O II RS (Oscar II Rex Sueciae). Below it is Anno Domini MDCCCXCVII (1897), the year when the room was completed.
Drottningholm’s castle park is open all year round. Here you walk through historical style ideals from the 17th century baroque to an English park in the late 18th century. On a walk through Drottningholm’s castle park, you can easily move between a strict form garden planned in the late 17th century, a freer English park started about 100 years later and more intimate boské blocks from the 1760s at China Castle. The parties with their clear characteristics testify to both changing style ideals and long continuity. The garden tradition goes back further than that and already during Johan III’s time at the end of the 16th century there was a garden at Drottningholm, located by the current tennis court just east of the theater.
A French baroque park was created at the castle, which was created according to drawings by Tessin dy and which has been preserved to a significant extent to our time. Already during Johan III ‘s time there was a utility garden, which probably lay between the castle and Drottningholmsmalmen north of the castle. It was not until the middle of the 1660s that Hedvig Eleonora had a general plan drawn up for a larger garden in the then animal farm west of the castle. The master plan drawn up by Tessin d.ä. showed a strongly marked center axis extending perpendicular to the castle building. A new master plan was presented in 1681 by Tessin dy. According to it, the baroque park also extended a long way to the north (see section “The park’s general plans and proposals “).
The park’s bronze sculptures are works by one of the most prominent sculptors of the Northern European Renaissance, Adrian de Vries (see Museum de Vries on Drottningholmsmalmen). The collection was taken to Sweden as booty from Prague and Frederiksborg Castle in Denmark.
On Drottningholmsmalmen, housing was built for the castle’s staff and guests. On the edge of the park is China Castle with Confidencen, a small pleasure castle from 1769 that replaced the older wooden pavilion from 1753. From the same time, Little China originates, Cantongatan 11. The house was leased for life to Anna Sophia Hagman, Duke Fredrik Adolf’s official mistress. China Castle and the adjacent Watchtower are designed by Carl Fredrik Adelcrantz and Chief Curator Jean Eric Rehn led the work on the interior of the pleasure castle. Lovisa Ulrika had long problems with poor finances. In 1777 she was therefore forced to sell Drottningholm including her collections to the state.
The castle’s maintenance was neglected, but Gustav III had the English park built with Fredrik Magnus Piper as architect. From the time of Gustav III also dates the Gothic tower which became the only one realized by several buildings that he planned in the park.
During Gustav III, Drottningholm’s castle theater had its heyday. At the king’s initiative, the theater was built with the Déjeunersalongen (French for the breakfast salon), which was designed in 1791 by Louis Jean Desprez. The salon was restored in the late 1990s by the Swedish Property Agency and in its current design gives a good idea of what the room looked like in 1791.
Gustav III completed the design of the Theater Plan in front of the castle theater, which Lovisa Ulrika had begun. On the west side, he had two wing buildings built in stone (now called Hovmarskalksflygel and the Queen’s Pavilion) according to drawings by CF Adelcrantz. Since the 1760s, there have been two wooden wing buildings on the east side (now called the Church Pavilion and the Hunting Pavilion), which were later plastered to better blend into the environment with stone houses. During the time of Gustav III, the Chinese salon was also decoratedwhich with its Chinese series today stands as a good example of the 18th century’s interest in the exotic. Here is a strange tile stove in Chinese style whose history has not been fully investigated, it probably comes from England.
Gustav III also ensured that the long difficult route from Stockholm to Lovön was improved (today’s Drottningholmsvägen). It was an extensive infrastructure project that also included several bridge constructions; the forerunners of today’s Tranebergsbron, Nockebybron and Drottningholmsbron. The architect for all three bridges was CF Adelcrantz. Previously, the royals had to travel to the castle on Drottningholm via the long detour through Solna parish and Bällsta to the German bottom, to be ferried from there to Lovön. Although Gustav III liked to stay at Drottningholm’s castle during the summers, his great interest was Hagaparken and its buildings, especially the project with the unfinished Stora Haga castle. For the last time in his life, he lived there in Gustav III’s pavilion.
The Baroque Garden
The Baroque garden was added at the end of the 17th century on the initiative of Queen Hedvig Eleonora, under the leadership of the castle architects Nicodemus Tessin d ä and Nicodemus Tessin d y. The garden is adjacent to the castle, surrounded by four-row linden alleys. The architects were inspired by newly laid out castle gardens in France where the ideal was strict, disciplined and symmetrical. The baroque garden decayed during the 19th century but was restored in the 1950s and 60s on the initiative of Gustav VI Adolf.
The bronze sculptures in the park are cast copies of originals by the Dutch sculptor Adriaen de Vries. The sculptures came to Sweden as booty from Prague in 1648 and Fredriksborg in Denmark in 1659. The originals can be seen today at the Museum de Vries. In addition to the framing of linden alleys, the baroque garden includes the embroidery part closest to the castle, which consisted of a richly composed pattern of cut boxwood hedges and colored gravel. Then the slightly higher water part with the smaller fountains and the Hercules Fountain in the center, cascades and bushes and as a background the large forest called Stjärnan.
The garden around China Castle
In the middle of the 18th century, the garden around China Castle was laid out. At this time, people began to abandon the strict garden ideal of a more natural park. Queen Lovisa Ulrika was impressed by the new ideas and had China Castle architect, Carl Fredrik Adelcrantz, plant the chestnut alleys around China as sight streets into the landscape. The bushes east of the castle were planned as arbors, with large cages, aviaries, for, among other things, exotic birds. One of these cages remains but in very changed condition. Beyond the Bosques, a menagerie was established. There is only one pond left today. Behind the castle, a Swedish mixed forest takes over and which gives the area a “wild” and nature-romantic setting.
When Gustav III took over Drottningholm in 1777, he wanted to incorporate the new park ideal from England, the natural landscape park, into the castle park. Fredrik Magnus Piper, who studied the English garden ideal on site, was commissioned in 1780 to create such a facility north of the Baroque garden. The English park consists of two ponds with canals, islands and beautiful bridges, large lawns and trees in avenues and groves. Walking paths wind around the entire park and through it stretch sight streets, which provide views and views of the landscape.
Monumentholmen is located in the central part of the English park. During Gustav III’s life, a cupid’s temple was planned on the site and as a frame, four sections were planted with linden alleys that radiate in all directions. Between the sections, open sections were left for four lines of sight, including towards the Gothic Tower and the Chinese Pagoda. On the general plan that Piper reported in 1797 (ie five years after Gustav III’s death), the amor temple had been replaced by a memorial temple to Gustav III. Only the foundation came into place and can still be seen there.
Svanholmen is called the island in the English park, which is located just east of Monumentholmen. Svanholmen’s swan house was built at the end of the 19th century. It resembles a Chinese pagoda and functioned until the 1960s as a winter residence for the park’s winged tuberous swans. In summer, the king’s sheep go here and graze, therefore the islet is available to the public only in winter.
The utility garden and the orangery
Just east of the theater, roughly where the car park is today, was at the time of the first castle building, the utility garden that gave the castle fruit and vegetables. What is left is a pear tree and a field of large-leaved plague. In the 17th century, an orangery was added where seedlings were grown. This was moved in the 1790s to an area just north of the English park.
North and south gate
The north and south gates or the north and south portals form the entrance to the castle garden. They stand in the extension of the linden alley and are made of wrought iron with gilded ornamentation that contains Hedvig Eleonora’s crowned mirror monogram at the top. The magnificent gates were created in 1695 by the garden architect Johan Hårleman and erected in 1697. The southern gate is located within the part that is closed to the public, but the northern gate is accessible to visitors.
Drottningholm Castle Sculpture Park
Drottningholm Castle’s sculpture park is Sweden’s oldest sculpture park. Sculptures were an obvious part of Baroque garden art and as early as 1684 Hedvig Eleonora began to place a number of sculptures by Adriaen de Vries in the park outside the castle. These sculptures were part of the war booty taken by Swedish armies, partly in July 1648 in the final stages of the Thirty Years’ War in Prague and partly during the war with Denmark 1658-60 at Frederiksborg Castle in 1659.
At the end of the period of freedom, 28 sculptures were placed in the castle park, which was a considerable number in what was then otherwise sculpture-poor Sweden. Since then, Drottningholm Castle has been the largest sculpture park in Sweden. In the park today are 46 free sculptures. All marble sculptures are now castings in art materials. The sculptures that have adorned the park for centuries have not benefited from the cold and rain. In 1991, therefore, they began to cast the originals. We can now see the castings in the park, while the originals are in the Museum de Vries, which is housed in the former Dragon Stable on Drottningholm Castle. The sculptures in Museum de Vries are owned by the Swedish state through the National Museum.
The Fountain of Hercules, the Cascades and the Crown
The Hercules Fountain was erected during the latter part of the 1680s and was placed along the central axis, between the parterres in the baroque part of Drottningholm’s castle park, the pleasure garden. It is one of the most prominent artistic decorations in the park. The widowed queen Hedvig Eleonora had originally planned a sculpture group by Nicolaes Millich on this site, but regretted it before the order was fulfilled. Instead, from 1684 previously stored bronze sculptures of mainly Adriaen de Vries were moved to the park, which were taken as war booty in Prague during the final stages of the Thirty Years’ War in 1648.
Drottningholm cascades is a water feature in the castle’s Baroque garden, designed by Nicodemus Tessin They consist of seven smaller waterfalls on either side of the aisle between Vattenparterren and Boskékvarteren and construction began in 1685, but did not work and was demolished in 1820. In the Baroque garden was restored in Gustaf VI Adolf was born the idea that the cascades would also be reconstructed. The assignment went to the then castle architect Ivar Tengbom, who designed a simplified version of Tessin’s original facility, which was completed on June 16, 1961. With the help of a modern pumping facility and modern pipe installations, the cascades and the nearby Kronan fountain were fed. and the fountains and cascades of the baroque park functioned for the first time as intended 300 years earlier.
Flora’s hill, Sofia Albertina’s garden and the dog cemetery
At the end of a straight avenue starting from China Castle to the east is Flora’s hill. In the middle of a roundabout is a marble sculpture that shows the goddess Flora. However, the sculpture is a cast in art material, the original is stored in the Museum de Vries. The area was laid out in the late 1790s, originally on the initiative of Gustav III. He had also planned for the Chinese pagoda to be built here, as a point of view, but this did not happen. Flora’s hill is located within the part of the park that is closed to the public.
South of Flora’s hill are the remains of Princess Sofia Albertina’s garden. It was built in the mid-1770s and consisted of a pond, buildings and a menagerie for poultry. Only the overgrown pond remains today. Nearby is a royal dog cemetery, some tombstones with inscriptions such as “Eisei 1959-1973”, “Tusse”, “Mentor” and “Pascha 1928” remind of which animals were buried here. Eisei was Gustaf VI Adolf’s Chinese descent hound.
Drottningholm’s castle church
Drottningholm’s castle church was inaugurated in 1730 and has since been used continuously. The architects are Tessin and the interior is signed Carl Hårleman. Drottningholm’s castle church is located in the castle’s northern round building. Tessin the Younger completed the construction in the early 18th century, following the drawings of his father (Tessin the Elder). The interior work was carried out under the direction of Carl Hårleman and in 1730 the church was ready for use.
The church belongs to the court administration and is under the court parish, but Lovö parish celebrates worship in the castle church the last weekend every month when everyone is welcome. Concerts are also held here during the summer and Christmas time. On the second of Advent, the traditional Christmas fair is held here.
With its beautiful dome, its harmonious proportions and intimate but at the same time magnificent character, this church room is a very nice place for a wedding. That there is a bridal crown of silver and rock crystal to borrow and that there is an 18th century organ, made by Johan Niclas Cahman, to perform the wedding music on. In recent years, Princess Leonore, Prince Nicolas, Prince Alexander and Prince Gabriel have been baptized in Drottningholm’s castle church.
Chinese Style Castle
One July evening in 1753, Queen Lovisa Ulrika was surprised with a fantastic birthday present. In the far part of Drottningholm’s castle park, King Adolf Fredrik had secretly had a Chinese – style pleasure castle built. At this time, all Chinese style was the highest fashion and the East Indian trading companies brought quantities of tea, spices, silk, porcelain and exclusive art objects to Europe. Chinese style emerged as an exotic fairyland and Chinese style castle is the fantasy of the exotic.
Inside the castle, Chinese-inspired Swedish furniture in rococo coexists with imported Chinese objects. Several of the rooms still have their original Chinese silk and paper wall coverings. Here are lacquer screens, stained glass, porcelain and other ornaments, many probably imported by the Swedish East India Company. But there are also even older Chinese objects here, some are from the time of Hedvig Eleonora and Queen Kristina, when porcelain was unbelievably expensive.
At a time when Chinese comics were in vogue in Europe, China castles were built in the mid-18th century. Today, the interiors show evidence of the best that remains of that spirit. A good example of the work of imitating authentic Chinese interior art is the Yellow Room, with recessed Chinese lacquer panels in the large wall panels. Varnishing was one of the things that fascinated me the most, as there were no similar crafts in Europe.
The wall panels not only show evidence of an exotic craft but also give a picture of the relations between the continents of Asia and Europe 300 years ago. Here, the city of Canton by the Pearl River is depicted. On the beach are the European companies’ trading posts, shielded from the city by double city walls. A wall with the aim of keeping unauthorized people at a distance – not least the Europeans.
Evert Lundquist’s studio
In the old machine house by China Castle, the artist Evert Lundquist had his studio. Today, the studio is a museum with oil paintings, charcoal drawings and dry-needle engravings as well as a preserved atmosphere. The engine house was used to generate power with a steam engine to the centrally heated castle at the beginning of the 20th century. In the 50’s, they switched to alternating current and rented the house as an artist’s studio to Evert Lundquist, who worked here between 1953 and 1992.
Today, the studio is a museum and here you can see oil paintings, charcoal drawings and dry-needle engravings by the artist Evert Lundquist (1904–1994). There are also oil paintings by his wife Ebba Reutercrona, pastels by his son Manne and a sculpture and oil painting by his son Hymme. The house, with its arched gable windows and rounding of the gables, is representative of the early 20th century industrial buildings in Swedish Art Nouveau architecture.
Drottningholm Castle Theater
Every summer, a number of opera, theater and dance performances are given and offer concerts, screenings and events, all starting in the 18th century. The castle theater on Drottningholm was built in 1766 for Queen Lovisa Ulrika and is one of the world’s best preserved theaters from that time. The architect Carl Fredrik Adelcrantz (1716–1796) designed the theater for Queen Lovisa Ulrika after a former theater building on the site burned down.
Drottningholm’s castle theater’s heyday began in 1777, when Gustav III took over the castle. The big opera premieres were often placed there, where a French theater troupe and the Swedish Dramatic Theater played. After Gustav III’s death, the business was eventually closed down and the building was used as a warehouse. Under Agne Beijer’s leadership, it was restored in 1922 to its original condition.
Drottningholm’s castle theater hides a playful interior. In the salon there are painted marbles, brackets in papier maché and plaster pilasters. The stage has a machine, made entirely of wood, which is still operated by hand. Gaiters, rollers, drums, blocks, ropes and counterweights make the big machinery work. There are about thirty stage images preserved, a scenery world adapted to the 18th century repertoire.
The old Dragon Stable on Drottningholmsmalmen contains a unique collection of sculptures by the Dutch sculptor Adriaen de Vries (1556–1626). The bronze sculptures, which date from the early 17th century, were taken to Sweden as war booty and were eventually placed in Drottningholmsparken. Today, the sculptures in the park have been replaced by modern bronze castings and the originals are collected in the Museum de Vries. The museum contains the largest collection of Adriaen de Vries’ works in the world.
The pharmacist’s son Adriaen de Vries from The Hague (1556–1626) was one of the most prominent artists of his time, and court sculptor for the German-Roman emperor Rudolf II. Florence, Milan, Turin, Rome, Augsburg and Prague mark different periods in de Vries’ rich artistic life. Adriaen de Vries was initially influenced by his teacher the Flemish Giambologna, but after studying in Rome he became increasingly freer in his creation. He is today perceived as a pioneer in Baroque sculpture. Like other contemporary sculptors, he was inspired by ancient masterpieces, but the results were new interpretations rather than copies.
That his sculptures ended up in Sweden is due to the country’s warlike success during the 17th century. At the end of the Swedish great power era, around 1718, there were no less than 32 bronze sculptures in Drottningholm’s castle park. In a sculpture-poor country like 17th-century Sweden, this amount of high-class bronze sculptures was a major attraction. With few exceptions, the sculptures retained their place in the castle park until today. After extensive damage caused by the outdoor climate to the originals was discovered, these were replaced with copies in the form of modern bronze castings.
Drottningholm’s castle stables are located just north of the castle church. The building was built in stages in 1737 and 1770 and today houses premises for the high guard. In 1737, the lower part of the building was built closest to the castle. The initiative came from Queen Ulrika Eleonora and the assignment went to architect Carl Hårleman. The building would house the castle’s carriages and stables.
The Gothic tower is directly adjacent west of the castle’s English park. It began to be built in 1792 after Louis Jean Desprez’s drawings but was never fully completed due to the murder of Gustav III. The design of the tower is an expression of the breakthrough of Romanticism during the second half of the 18th century. The Gothic tower is octagonal, has three levels and 124 steps. At the top is a crenelation and the building would probably resemble an ancient defense tower.
Cantongatan area with associated buildings is a historic area west of Drottningholm’s castle park and north of Kina castle. The area was established as a model society in the middle of the 18th century on the initiative of Lovisa Ulrika and her husband Adolf Fredrik. In the 18th century, the small working- class community was called only Drottningholm’s Hall and Manufactory Law, and here various manufactories would operate without compulsion.
At Cantongatan area, a manufactory was established for elegant products such as fine forging, lace lace and silk weaving. At that time, the buildings were very much together and on older maps an urban planning can be seenwith a simple grid plan. At a time when Chinese culture and art were the highest fashion, the name Canton would bring to mind the Chinese trading city of the same name (now Guangzhou). Today, about ten houses are preserved, these have been modernized and are inhabited by private individuals.
The gate or toll house, which is located at the western end of Linden Avenue, was built in 1846–1847 according to drawings by architect Per Axel Nyström or possibly by Fredrik Wilhelm Scholander. Until the beginning of the 20th century, Drottningholm’s castle area could be reached via two access roads, partly from the current Ekerövägen and partly via the baroque park’s northern linden alley. The entrance via lindallén was blocked by two barriers, one at Slottsstallet in the east and one at the western end of lindallén, not far from Cantongatan, therefore the latter was also called Cantonbommen. The house is now rented out as a summer home.
The home, which is located north of Ekerövägen, was probably designed in the 1780s by architect Olof Tempelman and became the governor’s residence in 1816. The building was given a dominant location on a hill just north of the country road. It would serve as an eye-catcher in one of several lines of sight through the newly created English park. Inspiration for the new building was given to Gustav III on his trip to Italy in 1784. In order not to be confused with the governor’s office, this building was called the Hemmet.
The shop Kungliga Slottsboden and visitor center
At Drottningholm Castle there is a visitor center which also houses the shop Kungliga Slottsboden. The shop Kungliga Slottsboden and the visitor center are located in the white villa by the castle’s seaside. In addition to the store, there is ticket sales and information about the destination Drottningholm. The visitor center also houses ‘Karamellan Café & Restaurant’.
The store offers a wide range of products related to the Royal collections. The store has a wide range in all price ranges and offers, among other things, books, furnishings and jewelry. Delicacies such as tea, coffee and confectionery in beautiful packaging are also available in the store. Most of the products are directly inspired by the Royal Collections.
Café and restaurant
In the visitor center in the white villa, so-called Karamellan, by the castle’s seaside, there is ‘Karamellan Café and Restaurant’. Since the second half of the 19th century, there has been a so-called Swissiii adjacent to Drottningholm’s castle area. This type of restaurant where visitors could order coffee and finer pastries was common in public parks and at excursion destinations during the 19th century. The caramel, as the current building is called, was built in 1903 according to drawings by the then castle architect Agi Lindegren. It serves classic Swedish homemade food as well as coffee, pastries, sandwiches, beer and wine.
Christmas market on Drottningholm
The Christmas market at Drottningholm’s castle is an annual event that takes place on Teaterplanen in front of Drottningholm’s castle theater. It offers a traditional market with handicraft professions such as blacksmiths, candle makers, straw craftsmen and textiles. In several stalls, small-scale produced food such as cheese, bread, mustard, honey, sweets, fish, mulled wine, ham, sausages and other delicacies are sold. The market is usually held the second Advent weekend (Saturday and Sunday). During the market days, the castle is usually open for its own tour.