Cities of historical importance are places that hide some very characteristic locations that can hardly be found in other towns. Among other things, these cities were the homes of reigning monarchs, statesmen, and essentially all important social figures at least at some point in their lives. Stockholm is no exception and in this post, we discover a number of residences that used to be inhabited by important historical figures and are still standing in central Stockholm.
Tessin Palace located just across the street from The Royal Palace was the home of architect Nicodemus Tessin the Younger. The palace was built in the 1690s so the architect did not have it far to work when he oversaw the reconstruction of the Royal Palace in the following decades. While the building’s façade is very nice, a true perk of the residence is hidden behind the walls visible from the street.
The Baroque garden enclosed by the building is the element which truly sets this residence apart from any other place where the architect could have lived. There are also two interesting sculptures accompanying the main entrance that are said to have been inspired by the Palazzo Spada in Rome. As a twist, the sculptures at Tessin Palace are wearing coats to point out the colder Swedish climate.
I have talked about Lord High Chancellor of Sweden Axel Oxenstierna on multiple occasions, which only proves how influential and important the statesman was at the time. Logically, his residence was also meant to be well-worthy of its owner. The palace, which catches your attention thanks to the quality of materials, execution of every detail, and its eye-catching colour, also stands only metres away from The Royal Palace.
Moreover, it is considered one of the most notable works of architect Jean de la Vallée but Oxenstierna passed away before the palace was completed, which is why it has never been finished according to the original plans.
Currently the home of the Supreme Court, Bonde Palace was originally built for Lord High Treasurer of Sweden Gustav Bonde. Bonde did not get to enjoy his palace much more than Axel Oxenstierna as he, too, passed away during the construction in 1667. However, he did have the chance to live there for a short while at least. This palace at the edge of Stockholm’s Gamla stan and the nearby House of Nobility are not only two of the most monumental palaces still standing in Stockholm but also two additional examples of buildings at least partially designed by the architect Jean de la Vallée.
Stenbock Palace built for the head of Hovrätt, the highest court in Sweden before the introduction of the Supreme Court, Fredrik Stenbock around 1640 is the first of the pair of palaces that we look at on Riddarholmen. The most distinct element of this palace is likely its pink façade. Not less interesting are the symmetrically distributed decorative wall anchors, though.
The other palace we visit on Riddarhlomen is Wrangel Palace named after Carl Gustaf Wrangel, a Swedish statesman and military commander in several wars including the Thirty Year’s War. Parts of the building date back to the 16th century but the current design was created mostly in the second half of the 17th century. It should be said, though, that in the 1600s, the palace was much more decorated and had a multi-level terrace on the lake side as you can see in the image below. To me personally, this design appears much more splendid than the contemporary one. Ever since 1765, the Wrangel Palace has housed the Svea Court of Appeal (Svea hovrätt).
Sager Palace itself is significantly younger than all other palaces on my list. However, its predecessors also date back to the early 17th century. The existing property that changed owner in 1880 was turned into the palace for diplomat Robert Sager around the turn of the 20th century. It was inhabited by the Sager family until 1986, which made it the last palatial building in the centre of Stockholm inhabited by private residents. Today, Sager Palace is the official residence of the Prime Minister of Sweden.
The palace facing Gustav Adolf’s square (Gustav Adolfs torg) was originally built as the private residence of Gustav III’s sister Princess Sofia Albertina, in 1794. As the contemporary palace was built in the place of the former Torstenson Palace (Torstensonska palatset), some elements such as the portal facing Fredsgatan were preserved from the former building. Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs has resided in the palace since 1906.
As you might have noticed, the first five palaces on the list, which are all located in the Old Town, were built during the 17th century. This is certainly not a coincidence and even other monumental buildings in the city are from this era. The reason for this is that in Sweden, especially the second half of the 17th century is considered ‘the era of great power’ also referred to as Swedish Empire. The military success of Sweden in the Thirty Years’ War can be seen as the starting point of this period while the Great Northern War brought it to its end.
If you liked this tour of the most interesting historical residences in central Stockholm, come back for more as we are preparing more interesting stories and tours for you as we speak. Until then, check out our Instagram account for some travel inspiration from Stockholm and other major cities. You can keep yourself up to date on the latest news from Trevl by subscribing to our newsletter or giving us a thumb up on Facebook.