Recently at Trevl, you got to know Oscar’s Church (Oscars kyrka) located in the Östermalm district in Stockholm. The church which was meant to be as noble and exclusive as the entire neighbourhood around it right from the very beginning. We are not going far from the church in this post either. In fact, Kvarteret Krubban, the location I present you in this post, lies just across the road from the aforementioned church.
Kvarteret Krubban is a relatively large quarter surrounded by four different streets, one from each side. Its story starts in the 17th century with the so-called Oxenstierna’s land in the western part of today’s quarter. As you might know from our earlier posts, the Oxenstierna family was one of the most influential Swedish noble families dating back to the middle of the 14th century. The land in question was named specifically after Count Gabriel Oxenstierna.
As far as history books can tell, the courtyard at this place was built by his wife Elsa Sparre after his death in 1700. It is believed that she lived there until 1721 but after she passed away some ten years later, the courtyard changed owners frequently up until the next chapter of its story was to be written but we will come back to that later in the post.
Thanks to the 18th-century maps that have been preserved to this day, we now know what the courtyard looked like at the time. The main building was a single-floor manor house where the owner lived. Apart from that, there were several wings, a brewery, stables and a carriage house. To ensure that the courtyard was essentially fully self-sufficient, a mill and buildings for cattle and pigs were also within its borders.
The gardener responsible for the maintenance of the yard was one of the residents, too. At the time, his social status was likely higher that one might expect as the near-perfect appearance of courtyards was essential for the upper class. One of the gardeners that are still remembered in the historical archives today was Jakob Michaelsson who lived in Oxenstierna’s Courtyard in the 1710s with his wife and their child.
The Crown acquired the eastern part of today’s quarter at the turn of the 19th century with the goal to build a new military base in the area. First regiment buildings on the purchased land were constructed between 1805 and 1818 in several stages. The bright-yellow, stretched building with flat roof, which can be considered the most notable of all, became the template for Swedish military buildings of those times. As you will notice in the picture above, the only visible decoration on that building is the monogram of King Charles XIV John surrounded by a pair of lions.
All sorts of buildings supporting the military stood in the area only about two decades after the state acquired the land. Barracks were accompanied by administrative buildings, a hospital, a canteen and riding stables. It was when the army needed more space for their operations that the second chapter in the story of Oxenstierna’s Courtyard began.
The courtyard was, too, purchased by the Crown in 1831. Existing buildings were repurposed and new ones were built including riding stables, a drill hall and stables reserved for officers’ horses only. Different military departments resided in Kvarteret Krubban until the 1920s when the Parliament decided to home the Swedish History Museum (Historiska Museet) in these buildings.
The reconstruction and repurposing of the buildings took place in the 1930s after an architectural proposal was selected in a competition. The Swedish National Heritage Board (Riksantikvarieämbetet) opened its gates at the former eastern stable at Kvarteret Krubban in 1937. It took a few more years for the Swedish History Museum itself to open. Eventually, the museum opened to the public in 1943.
Several of the former military buildings were reconstructed and turned into offices in the second half of the twentieth century. Today, they are used by both state agencies and private companies. Parts of the quarter including Oxenstierna’s Courtyard officially became historical heritage sites during the previous century, too.
Even in the recent years, the area has undergone quite a few changes and is constantly being developed with the objective to make it more attractive for Stockholm residents today as well. The eastern stable was completely renovated between 2003 and 2005 while the riding stables and the drill hall home a kindergarten since 2012.
In the north-western corner of the quarter, you will find a cosy park with everything that belongs to a park with a pleasant atmosphere, benches where you can relax, flowers you can admire and birds you can listen to.
With that being said, it is now up to you to go and discover every corner of this interesting and diverse area in Stockholm’s Östermalm. In the next post, we will revisit some of the previously seen attractions from popular districts in the Swedish capital. Remember that you can find more stories and beautiful places to visit any time in our app Trevl for Android. If you are looking for some inspiration, try checking out our Instagram account for new images every day.
Lindberg, Birgit, 2002. Malmgårdarna i Stockholm.