Stockholm Royal Palace (Swedish: Stockholms slott or Kungliga slottet) is the official residence and major royal palace of the Swedish monarch. Stockholm Palace is on Stadsholmen, in Gamla stan in the capital, Stockholm. It neighbours the Riksdag building. The offices of the King, the other members of the Swedish Royal Family, and the Royal Court of Sweden are here. The palace is used for representative purposes by the King whilst performing his duties as the head of state.
Stockholm Castle, officially the Royal Palace, has been on the same site at Norrström on northeastern Stadsholmen in Stockholm since the latter half of the 13th century. Its first century history belongs to the medieval castle complex Tre Kronor. In modern times, the term refers to the building called the Royal Palace, one of the royal castles in the country located in the Old Town district of Stockholm. The castle is the Swedish monarch’s official residence and fortifications have been located in this place since the Middle Ages.
The castle is HM the King’s official residence and essential parts of the monarchy’s representation take place here, while large parts of the castle are open all year round. The castle is a workplace for the Royal Couple and the offices that are part of the Royal Palace. The Court States. The Royal Palace is a combination of a royal residence, workplace and cultural-historical monument, and open to visitors all year round.
There are many attractions inside the Royal Palace: the Treasury with the national regalia, Museum Tre Kronor about the castle’s medieval history and not least the Representation Floors with the magnificent parade rooms. During the summer months, Gustav III’s Antique Museum and the Castle Church are also open. The high guard replacement is popular with visitors as well as the Slottsboden store.
This royal residence has been in the same location by Norrström in the northern part of Gamla stan in Stockholm since the middle of the 13th century when the Tre Kronor Castle was built. In modern times the name relates to the building called Kungliga Slottet. The palace was designed by Nicodemus Tessin the Younger and erected on the same place as the medieval Tre Kronor Castle which was destroyed in a fire on 7 May 1697. Due to the costly Great Northern War which started in 1700, construction of the palace was halted in 1709, and not recommenced until 1727—six years after the end of the war. When Tessin the Younger died in 1728, the palace was completed by Carl Hårleman who also designed a large part of its Rococo interior.
The palace was not ready to use until 1754, when King Adolf Frederick and Queen Louisa Ulrika moved in, but some interior work proceeded until the 1770s. No major conversions have been done in the palace since its completion, only some adjustments, new interiors, modernization and redecorating for different regents and their families, coloration of the facades and addition of the palace museums. The palace is surrounded by the Lejonbacken and the Norrbro to the north, the Logården (the Shot Yard) and Skeppsbron in the east, the Slottsbacken and the Storkyrkan in the south, and the outer courtyard and Högvaktsterrassen in the northwest.
The interior of the palace consists of 1,430 rooms of which 660 have windows. The palace contains apartments for the Royal families, representation and festivities such as the State Apartments, the Guest Apartments and the Bernadotte Apartments. More features are the Hall of State, the Royal Chapel, the Treasury with the Regalia of Sweden, Livrustkammaren and the Tre Kronor Museum in the remaining cellar vaults from the former castle.
The National Library of Sweden was housed in the northeast wing, the Biblioteksflygeln (the Library Wing), until 1878. As of 2014 it houses the Bernadotte Library. The Slottsarkivet is housed in the Chancery Wing. In the palace are the offices of the Royal Court of Sweden, a place of work for approximately 200 employees. The Royal Guards have guarded the palace and the Royal Family since 1523. A comprehensive renovation of the facade began in 2011, to repair weather damaged parts made from sandstone.
The Royal Palace is owned by the Swedish State through the National Property Board of Sweden which is responsible for running and maintaining the palace, while the Ståthållarämbetet (the Office of the Governor of the Royal Palaces) manages the royal right of disposition of the palace. The palace belongs to the Crown palaces in Sweden which are at the disposition of the King and the Royal court of Sweden.
The Royal Court of Sweden
The palace houses facilities for the offices that are part of the Royal Court of Sweden; the organization affiliated to the Swedish Head of State and the Royal House, and are also responsible for preserving and showing the cultural heritage of the Swedish monarchy.
The castle’s northern length towards Norrbro houses the large apartment buildings that were intended for the king and queen. The Royal Palace was built not only as the seat of the Swedish monarch and his family but also of the entire central Swedish national administration. Here, office premises were furnished for the Swedish government and for the ministries, here the Swedish Parliament’s large plenary hall was created.
The representation floors
The representation floors at the castle are the collective name for the magnificent parade floors used in the King’s and Queen’s representation. See the party floor which is used for gala dinners, councils and parliamentary suppers, the guest floor which is used as a residence for officially visiting heads of state and the Bernadotte floor which is used for medal awards and solemn audiences.
The well-preserved furnishings provide an insight into history from the early 18th century onwards, where each monarch has left traces of his time. Here you can see, among other things, Gustav III’s parade bed chamber, Oskar II’s writing room and the most recently decorated room – King Carl XVI Gustaf’s Anniversary Room. The Representation Floors also include the Rikshall with Queen Kristina’s silver throne and the Order Halls with a permanent exhibition about the royal orders.
The Bernadotte floor
The Bernadotte floor, located in the northern length of the castle, consists of 14 rooms. In the year of moving in 1754, this became the residence of King Adolf Fredrik and Queen Lovisa Ulrika. The Pillar Hall, in the northwest corner of the floor, was originally Adolf Fredrik’s dining room. Today, the room is mainly characterized by the 1780s when Gustav III had the room modernized. After the Pillar Hall, you enter straight into the 19th century parade in the Victoria Salon. Both the chandeliers and the carpet are of impressive size. The room is a good example of the Victorian style.
The Bernadotte Gallery contains paintings of almost all the older members of the royal family. Of course, the room is a great place to tell about Karl XIV Johan and the troubled early 19th century. Subsequent rooms are used today at solemn audiences. Next door is the newly decorated Anniversary Room, which may represent the craftsmanship of our own time. In the last room of the floor, the gallery collection has been expanded with a further number of paintings of members of the royal family. Here are, among others, Gustaf VI Adolf, Crown Princess Margareta and our current royal couple, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia.
The party floor
The party floor consists of nine parade rooms. The original planning was done during the time of the great powers by the castle architect Nicodemus Tessin the Younger. Not everything was clear, but despite this, the floor is unparalleled in northern Europe. In the northwest corner of Festvåningen is the Konseljsalen. The room is still used today for information councils, ie meetings between the King and the government. A few rooms further in is Gustav III’s parade bed chamber. In this room, Gustav III died of the damage that Ankarström’s shot caused him.
The following room is Charles XI’s gallery, modeled on the Palace of Versailles’ mirror gallery. Here is an impressive ceiling painting about Charles XI’s war in Scania in the 1670s. But the room is perhaps best known as the room where the representation dinners are held today. Once again, we have the opportunity to portray parts of our great power history as well as insights into the castle’s contemporary representation. The last room on the floor is the castle’s ballroom – better known as the White Sea. The ballroom is nowadays not often used for dance but still serves as a lounge for the recurring representation dinners.
The guest floor
In the guest floor there is furniture from different eras. They are mainly made in Stockholm during the 18th and 19th centuries. For those interested in style history, the floor is therefore an excellent destination. But the history of style can also be enriched with contemporary history. The guest apartment is used today during state visits as a residence for visiting heads of state.
Architect Carl Hårleman led the magnificent interior work of the Rikshall and designed the room in close proximity to Nicodemus Tessin the Younger’s drawings. Until the 1755 Riksdag, the hall was ready for use and was the place for the estates’ joint meetings during the king’s presidency. Throughout the ages, the Kingdom Hall has provided space for symbolically large events, and the King opened the Riksdag here in solemn forms every year until 1974. Even today, the Kingdom Hall is used for official ceremonies. In the Rikshall is the Silver Throne, one of the castle’s highlights.
The castle church
Ever since Magnus Ladulås’ time in the 13th century, there has been not only a church in the castle but also its own priesthood The current Castle Church is the third. At the great castle fire in 1697, Charles XI’s newly inaugurated castle church was destroyed. An important part of the large project for a new castle that the castle architect Nicodemus Tessin the Younger worked on after the fire disaster was a new castle church. Carl Hårleman completed the interior of the church in the middle of the 18th century, largely according to Tessin the Younger’s drawings.
The Royal Palace Church displays samples of architecture, interior design and works of art by some of the foremost masters of their time – Nicodemus Tessin the Younger, Carl Hårleman and Georg Haupt the Elder. Since the 17th century, there is a separate parish – King. The court parish whose members consist of employees at Kungl. Court states with families. During the summer season, the church is open for vistors, which gives the opportunity to see the church’s interior, architecture and works of art.
In dark cellar vaults at the Royal Palace, the monarchy’s most important symbols are stored – the National Regalia, which all show samples of fascinating and precious works of art with exciting stories behind them.
The oldest preserved objects in the Treasury are Gustav Vasa’s two national swords. The oldest preserved crown is Erik XIV’s. There are also several prince and princess crowns and the silver baptismal font that was ordered in 1696 and which is used at royal baptisms at the Royal Palace. The last coronation of the country was Oskar II’s in 1873. When he died, his son Gustaf V abstained from the coronation (of: the coronation, the solemn act performed when a monarch is ceremonially inaugurated in his office by putting the crown on his or her for the first time head).
The regalia are the symbolic objects that the king or queen, at the coronation, received from the archbishop. Today, the national regalia are used as symbols at solemn ceremonies such as enthronements, royal baptisms, weddings and funerals. Nowadays they are placed on hyende (pillow). Since 1970, the national regalia have been exhibited in the Treasury at the Royal Palace.
The museums housed in the palace are: Livrustkammaren, Gustav III’s Museum of Antiquities, The Treasury and The Tre Kronor Museum.
Three Crowns Museum
Museum Tre Kronor is the museum about the castle’s oldest history, from the castle to the renaissance castle which was destroyed in a violent fire in 1697. The museum is located at the bottom of the castle’s northern length, which was also the part that did best during the fire. To get to the museum, you have to go through the five meter thick defensive wall from the 14th century.
Already at the end of the 10th century, the Vikings built a pillar barrier on the site where the castle is located and in the 12th century there was a defense castle here. With the help of objects that were saved from the fire and newly created models, the development of the old castle Tre Kronor from a defense castle to today’s Renaissance palace is depicted. Follow the castle’s thousand-year history by continuing up to the Representation Floors after the visit to Museum Tre Kronor.
Gustav III’s antiquemuseum
The sculptures purchased by Gustav III are displayed in the castle’s stone galleries, which opened as early as 1794. The exhibition rooms consist of two stone galleries in the north-east wing of the castle, with a beautiful view of Logården. The sculptures are placed in the galleries exactly as they were originally exhibited. In the Greater Stone Gallery is the collection’s magnificent piece – Endymion – which aroused great admiration in the 18th century.
King Gustav III, who was interested in art and antiquities, bought most of the museum’s sculptures during a trip to Italy in the late 18th century. Shortly after Gustav III’s death, it was decided that the collections, which then consisted of over 200 sculptures, would be displayed as a memorial to the deceased king.
Originally, the Armory was the Swedish kings’ arsenal. Today you will find here the museum with parade armor, weapons and costumes. The Armory is located at the Royal Palace with an entrance at the beginning of Slottsbacken from Skeppsbron and houses parade armor, weapons and costumes from our royal history. Here you can see, for example, Gustav III’s masquerade costume with the hole after the shot and Charles XII’s blue coat with clay left over from when he shot sank into the trench.
Archive and library
In the Chancery Wing at the palace is the Slottsarkivet. The archive was started in 1893, and since 1964, it is a depot sorting under the administration of the National Archives of Sweden. The archive also contains records from the Royal Court and the Crown palaces in Sweden. In the northeast wing of the palace is the Bernadottebiblioteket (the Bernadotte library, a research library).
The Royal Guards
The Royal Guards is a guard detail that is part guard of honour for the king and part guards for the castle. The guard is also a section of the military emergency management in Stockholm. The Royal Guards are present at state ceremonies, visits by foreign heads of state or fleets. The guards were established by King Gustav I in 1523, to keep the order in the entire city, the part that is now Gamla Stan. The changing of the guards is a ceremony and tourist attraction held at the Outer Courtyard of the palace, seen by approximately 800,000 people each year.
The high guard is one of the most popular tourist attractions. The high guard relief and the guard parade are also a popular audience attraction. During the summer, the guard parade marches or rides with a music corps through the city streets and up to the castle’s outer courtyard.
The high guard are an important part of the protection of the Royal Family and of the military preparedness in Stockholm. The main responsibility for manning the high guard is the Life Guards. The high guard has been at the Royal Palace since 1523 and then consisted of 100-200 soldiers who were also responsible for the city’s order and fire protection.
Additional parade forces serve at HM The King’s representation, such as state visits and audiences. Then you can see drabant guards in Charles XI’s uniform, mounted escorts and the grenadier guards with their characteristic bearskin hats from the 19th century.
The courtyard buildings
The courtyard’s current buildings were completed in 1894. The architects were castle superintendent Ernst Jacobsson, who was assisted by Fritz Eckert. They gave the facility the shape of a knight’s castle in brick with towers and walls that surround a magnificent and in summer flourishing inner courtyard.
The mighty facades are lightened by a richness of variety and detail, which is characteristic of the architecture of that time. An abundance of rounded towers, soft window frames and friezes, patterned brick surfaces and not least very elegant, often exquisite wrought iron work in stairwells, portals and around balconies beautify the overall impression and encourage closer study of the assembled house bodies.
The tranquility and seclusion of the inner courtyard with trees and plantings, pond with fountain, corridors and open spaces give the impression of an oasis, effectively shielded from the noise and stress of metropolitan traffic.
The Royal Stables
The stables accommodate about twenty horses. The horses are trained and educated to carry out processions and transports during, among other things, state visits and solemn audiences. Very high demands are placed on horses, equipment and staff in order for the ceremonial transports to be carried out in a safe and stylish manner.
In the stable, riders, feed marsh and cavalry drivers are responsible for the horses’ training, feeding and care. Day in and day out according to the same meticulous routines, except during the period of summer work, when the staff has other tasks. Harnesses and carriages for everyday work and parades also require daily supervision. There are several thousand hours of training behind a safe and well-working procession horse. Younger and not fully trained horses can, however, be placed alongside older and more experienced horses and thus gradually utilized during the training period.
The riding hall is used, among other things, for school riding and training of young horses. The riding hall’s, for that time, modern roof construction of cast iron, has allowed large light inlets, which makes the riding hall bright and inviting. The walking machine gives the horses an additional opportunity to get out and move. It is operated automatically and turns after a while, so that the horses can walk in both laps. Activities are still going on in the smithy. The stables’ horses are shod. There is also a change of rubber on the trolley wheels.
The Royal Garage
The Royal Garage (Hovstallet) displays the vehicles used by the Swedish Royal Family during their travels. In the garage, the cars that are used daily are washed and maintained. The vehicles include both cars for official transport and trucks for transporting horses and general goods.
In total, there are about twenty cars. Among Hovstallet’s oldest cars is a Daimler DE27: Limousine from 1950. It seats eight people and is still used. The other treasure is a Cadillac Fleetwood Seventy-Five Limousine from 1969. It is used for transporting ambassadors and solemn audiences.
In contrast to the wagons, the oldest cars have not been preserved but have gradually been replaced by more modern and safer vehicles. However, a number of classics, which are used sparingly, are still included in the vehicle fleet and are shown to the public on guided tours in Hovstallet. Modern representative cars mainly consist of different models of Volvo, Volkswagen and Audi. There are also cars specially designed for daily passenger and goods transport.
There are very high demands on safety and efficiency, both in terms of daily driving and procession driving. Hovstallet’s car drivers undergo a special and comprehensive training. It is the drivers who plan and carry out all transports. The King’s environmental commitment is governing. All newly purchased cars today are environmentally classified and the number of plug-in hybrids is gradually increasing.
In Hovstallet’s carriage halls there are about forty carriages and sledges for various purposes. Most are made in the 19th century. Here you will find, among other things, the two well-known seven-glass carriages. The car park consists of parade compartments, hoods and country cars, but here you will also find simpler vehicles for the horses’ training and everyday work.
The parade carriages are elegantly built, often magnificent and richly decorated. They show in the whole and the details an exquisite design language and great craftsmanship. In addition, they are exclusively decorated, which makes them comfortable to ride in. Some carriages also include specially composed parades. Elegant uniforms also contribute to the overall impression.
The Royal Gift Shop
The Royal Gift Shop is the gift and souvenir shop for the palace with products connected to the objects in the royal collections. A large part of the items are books about the royal cultural heritage on subjects such as history, architecture, biographies and research. The shop is in the southwestern curved wing and is accessed from the Outer Courtyard.
Slottsboden is a unique gift and souvenir shop in the Royal Palace’s outer courtyard with products related to objects in the Royal collections. In the shop Slottsboden there are textiles, porcelain, pots and trays with patterns that can be found on original fabrics and furnishings from the royal collections. There are also guidebooks to the royal destinations and literature related to our royal history.
The store offers a wide range in all price ranges – accessories for ladies and gents, products for the pantry and popular souvenirs such as postcards and keychains. All with a royal connection.
Relax in the Royal Palace’s summer café. During the summer months, the castle’s inner courtyard and so does the café. Coffee, tea, juices, soft drinks, pastries and lunches are served here. Seating is also available indoors in the castle’s west vault. The café usually opens in connection with the Swedish national day and is normally open until mid-August.
Hovstallets café is located in the quiet courtyard with seats both indoors and outdoors. Discover Hovstallet’s café which serves home-baked food in a unique environment in the middle of central Stockholm.
The northeast wing is in the upper right hand corner and the south curved wing is in the lower left hand corner. The northwest Chancery Wing is in the upper left hand corner on the plans. The yards are: the Outer Courtyard (inside the curved wings), the Inner Courtyard (in the middle of the building) and the Shot Yard (between the east wings). Some of the room divided by space below overlaps with the description divided by function above.
The palace is made of brick and sandstone. The roofs are covered with copper and are slanting inward towards the inner courtyard. On the main building they are encircled by a balustrade made of stone. The building consists of four rows, commonly named after the four cardinal directions. Externally, the castle, which forms the Three Crowns quarter, is surrounded by Lejonbacken and Norrbro in the north, Logården and Skeppsbron in the east, Slottsbacken and Storkyrkan in the south, as well as the outer courtyard and Högvaktsterrassen in the northwest.
The facades of the palace were each given their own design and not the same as the original northern row. A triumphal arch in splendid Baroque style framed the entrance and the stairwell in the middle of the southern facade, and niches for statues were placed at every second window ledge. The middle parts of the east and west facades were adorned with Baroque pilasters, herms and statues. The palace has a total of 28 statues, 717 balusters, 242 volutes, 972 windows, 31,600 window panes and approximately 7,500 windows, doors and gates. The facade is covered with circa 9,500 m2 (102,000 sq ft) of dimension stone and 11,000 m2 (120,000 sq ft) of plaster. The main building, without the wings, is 115 by 120 m (377 by 394 ft) and encloses the Inre borggården (the Inner Courtyard).
Projecting from the corners of the main building are four wings facing the east and the west. Between the two eastern wings is the Logården, and between the two western wings is the Outer Courtyard. All the wings are 16 m (52 ft) wide and 48 m (157 ft) long except for the southwest wing which is 11 m (36 ft) long because of the position of the Storkyrkan. The asymmetry is concealed by the two detached, semicircular wings the Högvaktsflygeln (The Royal Guards Wing) and the Kommendantsflygeln (the Commanders Wing).
The palace has two courtyards. Outside the western row is the Outer Courtyard which is the main area for the changing of the guards. A statue of Christina Gyllenstierna stands in the Outer Courtyard, erected at an initiative from the Föreningen för Stockholms fasta försvar (the Society for the Permanent Defence of Stockholm) in 1912. The Outer Courtyard is enclosed by two curved wings. The northern is used by the Royal Guards and the southern mainly by the Royal Gift Shop.
The Inner Courtyard is surrounded by the four rows of the palace and is accessed by portals in the middle of the four rows; the south, west, north, and east portals (or arches). The Inner Courtyard is 89 m (292 ft) long in the east–west direction and 77 m (253 ft) wide in the north–south direction. The design of the large Inner Courtyard with its access to the Logården and the Norrbro is inspired by the courtyard at the Louvre according to the general ideas of the Baroque.
The western row
The western row, or the western facade, represents “The Male Qualities” and the King. From the western row projects the Chancery Wing towards northwest. The row also abuts the Outer Courtyard and the two curved wings, Högvaktsflygeln in the north and the Kommendantsflygeln in the south. On the facade are nine medallions depicting nine Swedish regents and ten caryatids. The central window above the portal is where the King and the Royal Family usually appears on the Kings birthday.
In the frontispiece of the western facade between the windows there are ten female characters called caryatids. The caryatids of the palace are Rococo inspired pilasters in the shape of women, made by the French artist Charles Guillaume Cousin of Gotlandic sandstone in 1744. Each figure is approx. 4.5 m (15 ft) high. Some of them have weathering damages and since there is a risk of small pieces falling from them, a net has been placed over the figures.
The Kungamedaljongerna (the Royal Medallions) above the windows are made by Cousin. The medallions depict Gustav I, Eric XIV, John III, Sigismund III, Charles IX, Gustavus Adolphus, Queen Christina, Charles X Gustav, Charles XI. The medallions are approximately 1.5 m (4.9 ft) in diameter and were made of lead in 1745.
The northern row
The northern row, or the north facade, represents “Power”. This facade is austere and its location and the perspective that it faces north, is meant to mirror and radiate the royal power. The artistic adornment on the northern row is very sparse and consists only of a group of figures above the balcony of the Bernadotte Gallery. The group depicts the Swedish coat of arms the Tre Kronor (the Three Crowns) which is supported by two goddesses of rumor. The coat of arms itself and the wings of the goddesses are made by Claude Henrion while the rest of the group is made by Bernard Foucquet the Elder. It was cast in bronze and was not added to the facade until 1814.
Outside the northern facade is the Lejonbacken with the two Castle Lions. The models for the lions, inspired by the Medici lions in Villa Medici in Rome, were approved by King Charles XII in 1700, after which the lions were cast in bronze at the Casting House in Normalm in 1702 and 1704. They were then placed at the Lejonbacken as a royal power symbol. The bronze for the lions was from a well, taken as booty from the Kronborg Castle in Helsingør, during King Charles X Gustav’s campaign in Denmark.
The southern row
The southern row, or the southern facade, represents “The Nation”. The center of the facade is made in the shape of a triumphal arch with a portal (also known as the South Arch) flanked by three columns made in corinthian order on each side. Along the facade there are a number of niches with sculptures depicting notes Swedish men. The whole facade is supposed to reflect the grandeur of Sweden, its society and prominent persons in the country. Inside the portal is the South Arch with stairs leading to the Royal Chapel in the east, and the Hall of State in the west. This symbolizes the gathering of both the worldly and the divine power in one place. At the triumphal arch there is a stone plaque with writing in Latin. The plaque is flanked by two sculptures depicting war trophies.
The southern facade is the most ornate, with statues, sculptures, and reliefs. In eight, initially empty, niches are statues of notable Swedish men. These were added in the 1890s through the initiative of King Oscar II. The statues are approximately 2.8 metres (9.2 ft) tall, made of zinc by Johan Axel Wetterlund. The statues are depicting Erik Dahlbergh, Carl Linnaeus, Nicodemus Tessin the Younger and Georg Stiernhielm to the left of the South Arch, and Haquin Spegel, Olof von Dalin, Rutger von Ascheberg and Carl Fredrik Adelcrantz to the right of the South Arch.
Enleveringsgruppen (The Abduction Group), consisting of four sculptures, illustrates the abductions of women and are made by Bernard Foucquet the Elder at the beginning of the 18th century, but the sculptures were not installed until 1897. From west to the east the sculptures depict: Paris and Helen, Boreas and Orithyia, Pluto and Proserpina, Romulus and Hersilia. They are made of bronze and are approx. 2.5 m high. The group were made at the initiative of King Oscar II to fill the previously empty niches in the triumphal arch. The originals have been restored by Sven Scholander and were cast by Otto Meyer. Bernard Foucquet also made the lions at the Lejonbacken.
Over the windows of the ground floor are 16 reliefs made in 1699 to 1700, by the French artist René Chauveau. They are made of bronze, and were originally to be placed in the palace’s stairwells. In the 1890s, the reliefs were mounted on the southern facade, where they replaced a row of windows of the same size. The corresponding windows still exist on the northern facade. The reliefs depict motifs from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Among the motifs are: the “Flood myth with Deucalion”, the “Pyrrha and Hellen”, the “Perseus and Medusa” and the “Apollo slaying the dragon Python”.
The eastern row
The eastern row, or the eastern facade, represents “The Female Qualities” and the Queen. Below this facade is the palace park, the Logården. On a balustrade closing of the Logården from the Skeppsbron are four sculptures representing music, religion, poetry, and mercy. These can be seen as old perceptions of female values and interests. When designing the eastern facade facing the Logården, Tessin is believed to have thought of a Roman country villa, with stairs from the palace garden up to the palace gate. The model for the central part, with colossal pilasters between the windows of the two top floor and the rustic ground floor, are presumed to be Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s Palazzo Chigi-Odescalchi in Rome.
Antoine Bellette made the dragons in the eastern facade, the winged lions on the Logården facade with windows, the shells on the middle floor and the roses under the roof. On the balustrade between the Logården and the Logårdstrappan, are four allegorical sculptures representing “Music”, “Religion”, “Poetry” and “Mercy”. They were made in 1903 by Johan Axel Wetterlund and cast by Otto Meyer and are approx. 1.5 by 1 m (4 ft 11 in by 3 ft 3 in).
From the eastern facade, two wing projects towards the east. On the short sides of these are two waterfalls and head sculptures of the artists who created the interior of the palace; Pierre Hubert L’Archevêque and Carl Hårleman on the north side, Carl Gustaf Tessin and Guillaume Thomas Taraval on the south side. These sculptures were made by Johan Axel Wetterlund in 1902, and are made of bronze. Between the sculptures there are two plaques honoring King Oscar II on the south side and Charles XI on the north side.
The coloration of the facade has been altered several times since the completion of the new northern row in 1695. Tessin’s first coloration was brick-red plaster with white-painted sandstone details. The brick-red color was called Dutch brunroot (brown-red), and came from brown ochre that was bought for painting the walls of the building. Carl Hårleman took over as the head of the building site when Tessin died in 1728. During the construction, the plaster was left unpainted, while the stone details were painted in white lead.
Before the Royal Family moved in at the palace in 1754, the whole facade, except for the base which was painted in a yellow ochre color to imitate French sandstone. The yellow tone was the foremost color of the Rococo and the height of fashion at that time. The monochrome yellow color without any contrasting white on the stone details was a way to achieve an architectonical effect with mainly relief.
During the reign of King Charles XIV John in the 1820s, the coloration was changed again, but not fully. The stone details of the northern and eastern rows were painted in a pink color that was not widely appreciated. When the western and southern rows were to be painted, the stone details were done in a grey color which better contrasted to the still yellow plaster. This coloration lasted until the 1890s, when Tessin’s red color was once again used on the plaster at the initiative of King Oscar II. All paint was removed from the sandstone details and sculptures. As of 2014, this coloration remains but the red-brown color has become more brown over the years. The removal of the protective paint has contributed to weathering.
The castle is built in Baroque style by architect Nicodemus Tessin the Younger and designed as a Roman palace. The castle has more than 600 rooms spread over eleven floors with the parade rooms facing the city and the smaller living rooms facing the inner courtyard.
The cellar – There are 104 rooms in the cellar, most of which have been used as storage and prisons. The remains of the old Tre Kronor castle are visible there. Some parts of the cellar are divided into two cellar floors due to large differences in head room in the different sections. The royal wine cellar could be found under the western row during the end of the 1800s and the 1900s, and it is most likely still there.
The Ground Floor – The Base Floor is the largest floor of the palace. The rooms there have mostly been used by the staff of the court, and there are also the four portals (or arches) that make up the entrances to the palace as well as the Hall of State and the Royal Chapel.
The Half Floor – The mezzanine, has 115 rooms. Most of the rooms have retained their size since the construction of the palace, but their use has varied. The name is derived from the fact that the floor is just half as high as the other floors. The rooms have mostly been used by the staff of the court, but some of the princes and princesses apartments have also been there. The mezzanine also houses the Small Guest Apartment, consisting of a couple of rooms in the north part of the western row.
The First Floor – The First Floor has 67 rooms. The rooms have mostly retained their size since the construction of the palace, but their use has varied. The Bernadotte Apartments and the Pillar Hall are in the northern row, and the eastern row houses the private quarters. This is where King Carl XVI Gustaf and his family lived until they moved to the Drottningholm Palace in 1981.
The Second Floor – The Second Floor has 57 rooms. Most of the rooms have retained their size since the construction of the palace, but their use has varied. The Guest Apartments, the State Apartments with the ball room the Vita Havet (the White Sea), the Cabinet Meeting Room and Prince Bertil’s Apartment are on this floor.
The Attic – The Attic has about 25 rooms, as well as the upper part and the arches forming the ceiling for the Hall of State, the Royal Chapel and the southern stairwell. The attic is mainly used for storage.
The Western Row
The Guest Apartments – The Grand Guest Apartments are on the second floor in the south part of the western row and are used for visiting heads of state at state visits to Sweden. The rooms got their original interior in the 1760s, under the direction of Jean Eric Rehn when they were set in order for the Prince Frederick Adolf, the brother of King Gustaf III. Three of the rooms that are shown to the public are in the mezzanine suite of rooms with windows facing the Inner Courtyard.
The Apartments of the Orders of Chivalry – The Apartments of the Orders of Chivalry are in the south part on the first floor of the western row and consists of four halls, one for each order: The Royal Order of the Seraphim, Order of the Sword, Order of the Polar Star and Order of Vasa. In the Apartments of the Orders there are permanent exhibitions about the Royal Orders. Formerly, this is where the Privy Council had their apartments in the mid-1750s. They were succeeded by the Supreme Court of Sweden who used the halls of the Apartments from 1789 to 1949.
The Eastern Row
Prince Bertil’s Apartment – The rooms on the second floor of the eastern row is called the Prins Bertil’s Apartment after its latest noted tenant. King Adolf Frederick used the rooms as his own apartment. During the reign of King Gustav III, it was Duke Charles’ apartment and later when King Charles XIV ruled, it was used for some time by Crown Prince Oscar (I). Oscar had one of the rooms decorated in a neo-gothic style in 1828. The room became known as the Götiska (the Geatish Room). King Charles XV also used the apartment as his quarters and during the reign of King Oscar II it was used by the Crown Prince Gustaf (V). Later it was Prince Bertil’s apartment until he died in 1997. After the prince’s demise it has been used for visiting heads of state, interviews and seminars.
Princess Sibylla’s Apartment – The Princess Sibylla’s Apartment, named after the Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, is on the first floor in the south part of the eastern row and is used as the everyday reception rooms for the King and Queen, and is not open to the public. During the history of the palace, the apartment have always been a part of the palace where the king or one of his close relatives has lived. The apartment is known for the Blue Drawing room where the engagements of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Silvia Sommerlath in 1976, as well as Crown Princess Victoria and Daniel Westling in 2009, were declared. The Princess Sibylla’s Inner Drawing room, formerly known as Crown Prince Gustaf’s audience chamber, still have some interior designed by Carl Hårleman, such as pilasters and ornamentations over the lintels of the doors.
Livrustkammaren – The main area of the Livrustkammaren museum are in the cellars under the eastern row and is accessed from the Slottsbacken. It is the oldest museum in Sweden, founded by King Gustavus Adolphus in 1628, and contains objects associated with Swedish royalty from the time of the Swedish Empire and onwards.
The Northern Row
The State Apartments – The Apartment for Festivities, are on the second floor of the northern row and are used for the Royal Couple’s receptions and representation. Official dinners are held in the Charles XI’s Gallery on such occasions as state visits, after elections to the Riksdag and for the Nobel laureates. Since 1950, it is used as the main banqueting room of the palace and can accommodate about 200 seated guests. Five to ten official dinners are held in the gallery each year. A couple of times each year a Cabinet Meeting is held with the Swedish government in the Cabinet Meeting Room. The apartment was originally designed as the Royal Couple’s apartment, but when King Adolf Frederick and Queen Lovisa Ulrika moved into the palace in 1754, they chose to stay in the part now known as the Bernatotte Apartments. Later, the Crown Prince Gustav (III) and Sophia Magdalena would use the apartments after their wedding in 1766. The apartments have not been use as living quarters since the time of Oscar I.
In the northeast corner of the State Apartments is the ball room the Vita Havet (the White Sea) which used to be two rooms: the queen’s dining hall and the hall for the trabants. The dining hall was called the White Sea, a name that was inherited for the resulting hall after the wall had been removed. In connection to dinners in the Charles XI’s Gallery, the White Sea is furnished as a salon with sofas, chairs and coffee tables. On those occasions, the room is used as a drawing rooms after the dinners.
The Bernadotte Apartments – The Bernadotte Apartments are on the first floor of the northern row and are named after Sweden’s current royal house, Bernadotte. The name of the suite is derived from a collection of portraits in the Bernadotte Gallery, the largest room in the apartments, depicting members of the Bernadotte House. Most of the rooms are in the northern row and are used for audiences, awarding medals and for meetings with the Advisory Council on Foreign Affairs. The rooms are also open to the public. The apartment was originally decorated in the 1730s and 1740s by Carl Hårleman. When King Adolf Frederick and Queen Lovisa Ulrica moved in there in 1754, the rooms were furnished with pieces of furniture made by the best craftsmen in Stockholm at that time. The last Royal Couple to use the apartment as living quarters were King Oscar II and Queen Sophia. Since then, some rooms have been restored to their original 18th-century appearance, while others are maintained as they were at the time of King Oscar II, such as his writing room.
The Exhibitions Apartments – On the ground floor of the northern row are the Exhibition Apartments which are used for special exhibitions and public lectures.
The Tre Kronor Museum – In the cellars, accessed from street level under Lejonbacken, of the northern and western row is the Tre Kronor Museum. The museum is in the rooms that used to be kitchens in the Tre Kronor Castle and are thus the oldest rooms in the Palace, but the museum itself is the newest of the museums in the palace. It was inaugurated in 1999, and houses an exhibition about the old castle Tre Kronor which was destroyed during a fire in 1697.
The Southern Row
The Royal Chapel – The Royal Chapel was built during the 18th century and it is the parish church for the members of the Royal Parish. The church is situated in the east half of the southern row of the palace. It is as wide as the building and two and a half stories high. The entrance of the church is in the South Portal (or Arch) at the address Slottsbacken 1. Service is held every Sunday and holy day, and the Royal Family use the church for ceremonies. Before the old Tre Kronor castle burned down, the Royal Chapel was in the northern row, some benches and silver decorations from the old church are still preserved in the chapel. After fire in 1697, when Tessin planned the new palace, the Royal Chapel and the Hall of State were placed in the southern row and these, including the grand stairs, occupies the first and second floor. The chapel represented the divine power and the hall the worldly, or the king’s, power. After Tessin’s death, his work was completed by Carl Hårleman. The church was inaugurated at the same time as the rest of the palace in 1754.
The Hall of State – The Hall of State is in the west half of the southern row of the palace and is two stories high (first and second floor). It was introduced for the Riksdag of 1755. The hall was designed by Hårleman who modified Tessin’s plans. The Silver Throne of Queen Christina is placed in the Hall. The main entrance of the Hall is in the South Portal (or Arch).
The Treasury – In the cellar of the southern row is the Treasury, where the Regalia of Sweden are displayed. The museum was inaugurated in 1970.
The Northwest (Chancery) Wing
The Chancery Wing is another name for the northwest wing of the palace. It was planned for the central parts of the government administration, the Royal chancery. The wing was finished by architect Carl Fredrik Adelcrantz, and was originally used as the royal gardhouse, offices for domestic, foreign and war departments as well as the National Archives of Sweden. As the government administration grew, it moved from the palace and formed new independent departments, and around 1780, the Chancery Wing was transformed into an apartment for the three-year-old Crown Prince Gustav (IV) Adolf and later for his mother the Queen Dowager Sophia Magdalena.
The Chancery Wing was once again the home of a prince in 1905, when it became the Crown Prince and later King Gustaf VI Adolf, who used it as his private lodgings until his death in 1973. A part of the mezzanine floor above his apartment was converted into his private library in the 1930s. The Spegelsalongen (the Mirror Hall), updated in 1866 by Fredrik Wilhelm Scholander, is in the wing as well as a Green and a Blue Drawing room. The Slottsarkivet, a part of the present National Archives of Sweden, is still in the cellars of the wing.
The Northeast Wing
Gustav III’s Museum of Antiquities – The second oldest museum in Sweden is Gustav III’s Museum of Antiquities in the cellars of the northeast wing, which open up for the public in 1794. The museum shows over 200 of the antique sculptures that King Gustav III bought during his journey to Italy in 1783 to 1784.