- Bonde Palace was built between 1662 and 1673
- It was built for and named after Lord High Treasurer of Sweden Baron Gustav Bonde
- The palace was designed by Nicodemus Tessin the Younger and Jean de la Vallée
- In the present day it houses the Supreme Court
Not many people can say that they had lived in a house so impressive that it later became the home of the Supreme Court. Baron Gustav Bonde was one of them, though. Bonde, the Lord High Treasurer of Sweden between 1660 and 1667, did not initially plan the construction of a new house at all and wanted to reconstruct his old stone house on Riddarholmen he inherited from his father instead.
Bonde purchased the land next to the House of Nobility which was under construction after the architect Jean de la Vallée had already designed plans for the reconstruction of the old house on Riddarholmen near present-day Wrangel Palace (Wrangelska palatset). The reason for the change of plans was simple. Gustav Bonde became Lord High Treasurer and imagined a more prominent residence for himself and his family than the one on Riddarholmen.
After acquiring additional properties attached to the land where the Vasabron bridge would later end, he assigned the two most popular architects of the time, Nicodemus Tessin the Younger and Jean de la Vallée, to create design proposals for his new palace. He believed that since Tessin and de la Vallée were rivals, by making them compete against each other he would get the best of both their styles.
Eventually, de la Vallée became the architect responsible for the construction but the exterior of the palace was largely based on Tessin’s drawings. Since the architect had more ongoing projects at the time, he appointed a young engineer Johan Jerner to lead the works. However, it soon became clear that the two would not get along very well.
The Frenchman tried to replace Jerner who lived at his house at the time. When Jerner learned about it, he decided to take measures into his own hands. One evening when he cooked dinner for the entire de la Vallée family, he tried to poison his hosts. However, everyone involved survived and Jerner was later sentenced to death for this very act.
Bonde Palace (Bondeska palatset) was completed between 1662 and 1673. Though Bonde passed away in 1667 he did spend a short time living in the palace named after him as he could move in one year before his death even though additional works were still being carried out.
Another interesting story connected to the palace is also related to Gustav Bonde’s death. The architect claimed that the owner promised him a generous pay for his services. However, de la Vallée did not receive any compensation before Bonde passed away and there was no written record of any of it. It took six years until the succession hearing regarding Bonde’s heritage took place and it was then that de la Vallée understood that his reward had been forgotten.
When the architect approached the heirs, who inhabited the palace, they refused to compensate him for his work. Later, Carl Bonde, the son of Gustav, offered de la Vallée 100 riksdaler (for comparison, the first part of the land that Bonde bought cost roughly 1,100 riksdaler) which the architect declined and took the family to court where he demanded 2,666 riksdaler for his 12-year work. The outcome of this intriguing story is a mystery, though. There are no known documents preserved containing the judgment and therefore, there is no way for us to know how this story ends.
According to some sources, Bonde planned to rent out large parts of his palace consisting of more than 120 rooms to craftsmen and foreign statesmen. This plan, in a way, came into realisation after the Reduction (read more about the Reduction) when the family lost much of its assets. There were many tenants residing in the palace over the years, most notably the Royal Library and the Svea Court of Appeal that moved to Bonde Palace (Bondeska palatset) after Tre Kronor Palace burned down in 1697.
Bonde Palace itself went through a few fires, too. One of the most devastating ones came in 1753 when essentially all woodwork at the palace was destroyed as well as the roof. The owner, which at the time was the City of Stockholm, made the best of it, though, and built an additional floor. The wings on the southern side of the palace that were included in the original plans were also built around the same time.
The palace has not served as a private residence for long as it was bought by the city already in 1730 from the widow of Carl Bonde. It was used as the Town Hall until the city’s operations were moved to the new one on Kungsholmen in the 1920s. At the time, Bonde Palace was in a deteriorating condition and plans for its demolition were discussed. Fortunately, the authorities found a new use for the historic site and restored it almost immediately.
Since 1948, the palace has been the home of the Supreme Court and the state has been treating the property well. It has undergone several major renovations, the latest of which took place between 2003 and 2004 when the building was adjusted for its modern-day purpose. All installations were replaced and, for example, the access for the disabled was improved just like the security of the building. All of this, of course, with great consideration for the historic value of the building which became a listed historic site the year after the court moved in.
Even some 350 years after Bonde Palace was built, it remains a stunning site to look at which you should not miss on your wanderings around the Swedish capital. Moreover, there are many beautiful places in the neighbourhood of the palace such as the House of Nobility, Riddarholm Church or the Parliament House to name a few.
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Harlén, Hans, 1998. Stockholm från A till Ö. Innerstaden.
Ellehag, Claes G., 1989. Bondeska Palatset.