- The castle was built in place of a medieval courtyard Nockeby
- Åkeshov is named after Åke Axelsson Natt och Dag
- Modern-day appearance of the castle comes from the 18th century
In the previous post, I introduced you to Stockholm’s Bromma, the former “garden town” as it is commonly referred to among locals. We, then, looked at the Judarskogen Nature Preserve which, as you might have read, is not only the first and biggest nature preserve in Stockholm but also worth visiting for many diverse reasons. I especially recommend Judarskogen for a relaxing walk on a nice day to help you get your thoughts straight.
We are not going far in this post either. No matter whether you arrive at Judarskogen by car or subway, you will probably pass by the Åkeshov Castle (Åkeshovs/Åkeshofs slott) standing nearby. And now is the time to look at the story behind this noble residence standing at the edge of the nature preserve far from all monumental palaces in central Stockholm.
The modern history of this place started with the medieval courtyard called Nockeby in the beginning of the 15th century. Things started changing when Åke Axelsson Natt och Dag, a nobleman and Marshal of the Realm, bought the property in 1635. According to available sources, the courtyard cost him 5000 riksdaler (read more about historic currencies used in Sweden in the post about the Fersen Palace).
Apart from having an important state position himself, Åke Axelsson was the husband of Elsa Oxenstierna which made him the brother-in-law of Axel Oxenstierna, arguably one of the most influential people in Swedish history. The property carries his name to this very day and in 1926 a city part named Åkeshov was founded as well.
It did not take long before Axelsson had the main stone house built in place of the old courtyard and the two wings a little further away in 1640. Though he passed away relatively soon after, in 1655, his daughter Barbro Åkesdotter continued expanding the property afterwards.
Åkeshov was sold around 1720 to Attorney General Gabriel Stierncrona. He, together with his son David, had the main building reconstructed into its present state and also built the orangery which was then in the gardens belonging to the castle. The orangery, today, stands right next to the subway track but we will get to that later. The leading architect of the reconstruction of the Åkeshov Castle was Carl Hårleman who was also responsible for the completion of the Royal Palace after Nicodemus Tessin’s death.
In the middle of the next century, the castle changed owner once again. Baron Caroline Friesendorff bought Åkeshov in 1853 and owned it until 1894. Later, it was bought by a timber company Olsson & Rosenlund. At this point, the main building stood empty and, according to some, it was essentially uninhabitable. The company sold the original furniture and art from the castle, some of the land belonging to the property and built and rented out summer houses in other parts of the land.
Only a few years later, in 1905, the property was sold to Stockholm city which planned big construction works in Bromma to accommodate the expanding population of the city. During this period, the main building was first used as a nursing home for people with mental disorders and later during the world wars it was used as a shelter for Baltic refugees and the homeless.
After World War II, the building was used as a school until the new school complex across the road was finished where the Nya Elementarskolan resides. When the school moved out, it was finally possible to restore the castle whose condition was deteriorating for decades. The objective of the restoration was to put everything in near-original condition. This included paintings that were not sold at the beginning of the century. Some of them were copied and placed into the castle instead of the originals.
While the stables that belonged to the property were torn down to make a place for trams in the 1940s, the orangery managed to escape a similar destiny. According to the original plans, the subway track passed through the land below the orangery which would, therefore, have to be torn down. Fortunately, the plans were adjusted and the track passes right behind the orangery which still sits at its place even though it has been altered to serve its modern-day purpose.
The Åkeshov Castle that, during the centuries, served as a residence of many noble families including Stenbock, Stierncrona and von Friesendorff (learn more about Swedish nobility) was turned into a conference centre in the 1980s and opened for guests in 1988. The conference centre includes a hotel so if you would like to stay the night at a place where Swedish noblemen used to live, now you have a chance.
Many historic artefacts from the castle are available in various museums around Sweden today. Parts of the furnishing that was sold can be found in Stockholm City Museum which is unfortunately closed for renovation. A painting of Barbro Åkesdotter and her second husband painted by David Klöcker Ehrenstrahl is displayed in Malmö Museum. Paintings of the former owners, Åke Axelsson and David Stierncrona are still hanging in Åkeshov on the other hand.
The Åkeshov Castle is a nice historic place in a tranquil area of Stockholm just outside Judarskogen Nature Preserve. Why not combine these two places and spend a nice free day exploring natural and historic beauties Bromma has to offer? I can only recommend it.
Next time at Trevl, I will present you a few more interesting places to visit in Bromma in our series Places of interest in case the two I just mentioned are not enough for you. For more inspiration, download Trevl for Android where you can find a tonne of amazing places all around Stockholm and in other cities around the world. I recommend you to check out our Instagram account if you like pretty images, too.
Ringstedt, Nils, 2013. Brommas skyltade kulturminnen – en kulturhistorisk vägvisare.
Reimers, Christian, 2016. Bara Bromma – en bok till trädgårdsstadens försvar.