Glass facades, alternating with creamy and terracotta stone fronts with rich decorations. Streams of people move into shops, cafes and restaurants. Yet, it feels relaxed, not like many other big European cities. Ducks and swans wobble on the tiny waves of the waters flowing through the centre. This is Stockholm, capital city of Sweden. A place I experienced first in 2001, and than many times after. A place I never lived, but as it was always close during my 15 years it became the capital of my second home land. Some of the photos in this album, including the very first with the crown, are from my very first visit in 2001 - still made on 35-millimeter photo film. The texts are shortened versions of the ones in my travel guide book published in 2008, translated from Dutch and updated when necessary.

View of the Gamla Stan (Old Town) from the Skeppsholm bridge

At the royal workpalace in the Old Town
At the royal workpalace in the Old Town
Kungliga Slott: the Stockholm Royal Palace
Kungliga Slott ( has been the official royal palace since 1981, but in reality the royals are often elsewhere in the country. The Baroque palace can therefore be exploited in more commercial ways, with seven separate museums. Fans can make a day trip of visiting the entire palace.
The residence of the Swedish Royal Family is a huge complex with 605 rooms. Kungliga Slott was built on the remains of the 13th century castle Tre Kronor (The Three Crowns), which burned down in 1697. Nicodemus Tessin den Yngre designed a new Baroque palace in French style, the entire construction and furnishing of which will take half a century. The building was completed in 1754.
Today, the Swedish king only comes to work in Stockholms Slott, or to receive foreign guests. The "royal couple" usually stays in Drottningholms Slott, further away from the city centre. (Foreign) guests always spend the night on the west side of the Royal Palace, where a beautiful staircase gives them access to the richly decorated rooms. They can watch the changing of the guard of honor in the outer court from their window.
Gamla Stan (the Stockholm Old Town)
Narrow alleys, old cellars and a lot of shops. The Gamla Stan is Stockholm's oldest part and a living museum. Step back in time in a 10-minute walk from Stockholm Central Station: the Gamla Stan is an official residential area, but also the cradle of the current capital. In 1252, regent Birger Jarl saw the central island in Lake Saltsjön (part of the bigger Mälaren) as the perfect location for a settlement that could protect the interior against attacks by foreign fleets.
Norrmalm (the Central City)
Norrmalm is the center of Stockholm, with the main exit from the Centralstation (train station) on the edge, with the main shopping streets and largest department stores, but also with numerous theaters, the national opera, the most prominent hotels and even the government quarters. Until the 1950s, Norrmalm was a typical working-class district, but with the growing population, politicians have been calling since 1940 that the 'slums' should be demolished for new construction. More than half of the buildings were subsequently demolished and one office after another was built in the 1960s. Norrmalm really grow into the center of modern Stockholm after the reconstruction of Segel's Torg square in 1974.

Sergels Torg (Sergel´s Square)

Kungsträdgarden: the former royal gardens
The former royal gardens Kungsträdgården on Norrmalm extend over a length of 300 metres from the back of the Opera to the Nordiska Kompaniet department store (and café Friday). Erik Göthe's statue of King Karl XIII dominates the center of the park, especially in winter when an ice rink surrounds it. Kungsträdgården is a favorite place for events (, which makes it unlikely that you will ever see it without temporary structures such as marquees and stages. However, probably the best moment to visit Kungsträdgården is the one week in April the cherry blossom trees are shining.

Kungsträdgården (The King's Garden) in April. The people in the blossom tree series "caught" naturally, no posing on request.

Vastastan is characterized by long avenues and narrow side streets. Stately roundabouts and with a striking number of green spaces and rows of trees complete it. The district is a base for the entire city center. The jewel of this part of Stockholm is the public library.

Stadsbiblioteket (City Library) in Vasastan

Stockholm Stadsbibliotek (Stockholm City Library)
The Stockholm Stadsbibliotek is a figurehead of the typical Swedish functionalism in city planning that has many adherents throughout the country, and this drive for functionalism is also the cause of the disappearance of many authentic inner cities in Sweden.
Stockholms Stadsbiblioteket (1928) is seen as the cream of the crop of the leading Swedish functionalism architect Gunnar Asplund (1885 – 1940). His first work, Heliga Korsets Kapell, at the cemetery 6 kilometres south of Stockholm, is even on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Östermalm (The Eastern Island)
Östermalm was largely green until the 17th century. Two centuries later, the area was developed with wide avenues, and the Karlaplan roundabout as the centre of the neighbourhood. How city planners thought of a compelling design around the year 1900 is still clearly visible, with the major avenues Karlavägen, Narvavägen, Valhallavägen and the waterfront road of Strandvägen marking the broadness of the planning "fashion" of that time. Östermalm has grandeur.
Skeppsholmen (Ship's Island) 
This former navy base, until 1968, was once key for the defence of Sweden and the capital. Many of the military structures date back to 1634. The about 40 buildings on Skeppsholmen have almost all gotten a new. Only the near the still operational salute guns is a building that serves the military.

The striking three-master at the quay of Skeppsholmen is the former training ship from Chapman, named after a shipbuilder from Gothenburg. It was built in Whitehaven, England, in 1888 and deployed by Sweden in 1923. In 1949, the municipality of Stockholm bought the vessel and converted it into a (youth) hostel. Together with the yellow building, the old Hantverkkasernen (craft barracks). The Vandarhem on the mainland opened in 1983 to relieve the busy Chapman exit and was used as a barracks for shipbuilders in 1835.

The old Admiralty is the first large building on the west bank, clearly recognizable by its pink-terracotta color and turrets. It was built in 1648 in what seems to be officially called the German-Dutch style.

The aerial view to the west, taken from the TV tower Kaknästornet on Djurgården, which in recent years was closed for all public.

Djurgården (Animal Island aka the Green Island)
Stockholm's second and busier museum island is Djurgården. With 279 hectares of land, particularly the eastern part is very green and is even a semi-protected eco-park and National City Park. The museums include the two most popular Swedish musea: open air museum Skansen and the Vasa Museum.
Vasaskeppet (The ship Vasa)
Vasaskeppet (The ship Vasa)

Gröna Lund amusement park on Djurgården island. Ride a roller coaster in the city.

Vasamuseet on Djurgården island
The museum about the sinking in 1628, the discovery and salvage in 1961 of the warship Vasa, which you can see in all its glory. Not to be missed, because the masts rise triumphantly above the building.

Stadshuset (City Hall)

Kungsholmen and Stockholm City Hall
Prayer and silence. Munklägret was the island of Franciscan monks in the early 15th century, but two centuries later the first modest residential area was built. The island was renamed Kungsholmen in 1672 and since 1926 has grown into a part of Stockholm that is often forgotten by tourists. Apart from the Stockholm City Hall: Stadshuset.
This is the location of the yearly Nobel Prize banquet on 10 December. The Nobel guests dine in the large Blue Hall. It is always full and everyone has only 50 cm of space to move. Except for the host and hostess, because the king and queen sit in a relatively spacious spot with 70 cm of table space each.
The real secrets can be found in the other parts of the town hall, with perhaps the Golden Hall as the top attraction of any guided tour. The oriental mosaic depicting the Queen of Lake Mälaren was made in the early 20th century by Elnar Forseth using, among other things, 19 million pieces of gold leaf. After the tour, enjoy the view of Riddarholmen and Södermalm in the sleek gardens.
You would almost forget that the city hall is the daily work site for several hundred municipal officials. The town hall was built for them between 1911 and 1923, with approximately 250 offices. The National Romantic style of the building is by architect Ragnar Östberg, with Italian architectural styles as inspiration.
The 106-metres tall tower of the Stadshuset has a striking gold leaf finish with three crowns at the top. The tower can sometimes be climbed under supervision. Once at the top you have a beautiful view of Norrmalm, the Gamla Stan and Södermalm.

The gardens of the City Hall gives one great view of Södermalm, the Southern Island

Södermalm (The Southern Island)
Södermalm is Stockholm's second city center and is very popular in the weekends for its bars and restaurants. However, it also has more quiet spots and one of Europe's best photo museums: Fotografiska in the former customs building.
Globen (The Globe Arena)
A kilometer south of Södermalm is an enormous white sphere can be spotted along road 73. Some say it looks like a super-sized golf ball, others think it looks like a nuclear power plant. This is Globen, The Globe: the world's largest domed building. Construction started on 10 September 1986, and completed 2.5 years later. From then on, the arena was used extensively for ice hockey. There are approximately 250 events every year, including concerts. Depending on the festival, Globen has room for between 11,200 and 16,000 spectators who should be evacuated in 11 minutes in an emergency. There are three other arenas (Annex, Hovet and Söderstation) around Globen, plus offices and a Quality Hotel. From 2009 you can take a ride over the globe with the Globen Skyview, a gondola lift. In 2021 the arena was dubbed Avicii Arena, in memory of the Swedish deejay whose real name was Tim Bergling and who left life in 2018.
Tyresta National Park
For a quick but extensive introduction to Swedish nature, visiting Tyresta National Park and Nature Reserve ( directly south of Stockholm is a great idea.
The national park covers 1,970 hectares, the nature reserve 2,700 hectares. In total, 4,670 hectares of protected environment. The difference between reserve and park lies in the degree of protection and to what extent the area is considered untouched or unique in Sweden.
Tyresta is gently sloping and rich in both coniferous and deciduous forests, sometimes centuries old. There are also several lakes and cliffs. The reserve extends into the southern archipelago of Stockholm.
There are 8,000 different animal species, some of which are completely dependent on the primeval forest in the area. Elk – the kings of the forests – are of course found there, but also snowshoe hares, owls, ermines, squirrels and bats. Tyresta is home to a total of 55 km of colour-marked hiking trails.
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