In the previous post, I covered the story of the Norrbro bridge, the only remaining stone bridge in Stockholm, thoroughly. However, Stockholm is a city on the water and therefore, there are many more interesting bridges to pay attention to. In this week’s issue of Places of Interest, I show you those that connect the historical Old Town (Gamla Stan) to the surrounding parts of the city.
For a long time, the present-day Old Town was essentially all there was to the Swedish capital. When it has become too small to home everything the city needed, though, new bridges to a large extent affected which parts of the city would be developed and which would be kept nearly uninhabited for decades and centuries to come. I have talked about this matter in the post on Stockholm City Hall, too, where you can read about the effects of a new bridge on the Kungsholmen island.
Today, there are four bridges on the northern side of the Old Town, two on the western side and another two on the south connecting the Gamla Stan island to the Södermalm island. We begin our tour at the north-western edge of Gamla Stan near the Royal Palace where the Strömbron bridge begins.
The Strömbron bridge has been connecting the Royal Palace with Kungsträdgården (‘The King’s Garden’) since 1946 when it was built as a temporary solution. The main reason for the construction of the bridge was the increasing car traffic in the Old Town. However, the bridge was not the only proposed solution. Many supported the construction of a tunnel instead which was why a provisional solution was to be implemented until a choice between the bridge and the tunnel has been made. The lifetime of the bridge was meant to be around 10 years but as you can see, the ‘provisional’ bridge still remains in its place today.
The Norrbro bridge connects the Royal Palace with Gustav Adolf’s square (Gustav Adolfs torg) through the Helgeandsholmen island and is the only still-standing bridge in Stockholm built completely out of stone. At the time of its construction, it was a technologically advanced structure which required foreign help as Swedish architects and workers lacked necessary skills. Many proposals for the design of the bridge had been submitted but eventually, it was the architect Adelcrantz who got to execute his design between 1787 and 1807.
Stallbron is a bridge which stands on the location of likely the oldest bridge in Stockholm. There have been many bridges over the narrow canal during the centuries, though. From what we know, there were three different bridges built at this place during the 19th century only. One of them was also the first cast iron bridge in Stockholm; completed in 1843. The current bridge dates back to 1904 and was reconstructed in 1982, three years after cars and buses had been forbidden from the passing across the bridge.
On the other end of Riksgatan, you will find Riksbron. This bridge, first proposed by the architect Nicodemus Tessin the Younger, is a popular place to observe the Parliament House and other nearby attractions. First, in 1907, there stood a provisional iron bridge with a wooden walkway connecting Riksgatan and Drottninggatan. The contemporary bridge was designed by the architect responsible for Stockholm City Hall, Ragnar Östberg, and built between 1929 and 1931.
Vasabron is a bridge certainly named after the famous King Gustav Vasa. However, it is not so clear whether there is a connection between the name of the bridge and the statue of the king in front of the House of Nobility which is approximately where the bridge ends. After an earlier failed attempt, the bridge was completed in 1878. Thanks to Vasabron and Strömsborgsbron bridges, the Strömsborg island also got its prominent location and after centuries of having been overlooked, it became a valuable part of the city centre.
Centralbron is a bridge that is hard to miss. For better or for worse. The bridge is one of the main traffic routes in central Stockholm with a total of seven rail tracks and six road lanes. It has been criticised ever since it was built for disturbing the historical landscape in the Old Town. Plans to replace it with a tunnel have been proposed but because of the costs of such a solution, these plans are not going to be implemented anytime soon.
The last bridge on my list is Riddarholmsbron which used to be the Stockholm’s first ever stone bridge since 1789. However, the original bridge was demolished in the 1860s and later replaced with a new one. The current bridge from 1958 passes over Centralbron and its design is, unfortunately, not nearly as beautiful as the one of the stone bridge from the 18th century was.
These are the bridges in Stockholm’s Old Town that I wanted to bring to your attention in this post. As you can see, many of them have a rich history and many predecessors which highlights how important bridges have been for the city’s infrastructure throughout its existence.
I mentioned that there are two bridges on the southern side of the island earlier in the post which are not included in the list. This is because there are currently large ongoing construction works in the area and therefore the possibilities for admiring places are limited there.
We are preparing a plenty of more content for you as we speak. You will definitely find some interesting stories at Trevl in the coming days if you like historical architecture and curiosities behind urban places. While waiting for the next post, get our android app Trevl to find more beautiful places to visit and share your favourite attractions with other like-minded travellers. I would also love to see you on our Instagram account where we post new images daily.