- Prince Eugen’s Waldemarsudde is a former residence of Prince Eugen on Djurgården
- The Main Mansion was completed in 1905
- Prince Eugen was a renowned landscape painter and art collector
- Today, Waldemarsudde houses one of the prettiest art museums in Sweden
Former royal residences serve varying functions in modern cities. A few of them are still inhabited by members of the world’s royal families. Others are used for representative purposes or house government organisations. It is quite rare, though, that their modern-day purpose is as in sync with the original owner’s vision as Prince Eugen’s Waldemarsudde on Djurgården in Stockholm.
While this is not a coincidence, a short background story is in place before we get into what you can see at Waldemarsudde if you go explore it today.
Prince Eugen, the youngest son of King Oscar II and Queen Sophia, had fallen in love with the place a few years before he decided to acquire the estate. This was while the prince stayed on Djurgården in a room he rented at Waldemarsudde from the then-owners who later agreed to sell the property.
After the acquisition, Prince Eugen spent his summers at the so-called Old House which is one of the original buildings still standing at Waldemarsudde today. Just like the unique Linseed Oil Mill, this former manor house was built during the 1780s.
Originally, these buildings were accompanied by an additional mill which, however, burned down in the mid-19th century. The one that is still standing is no ordinary mill, though. It is not only unique among Swedish structures of this kind but is also considered one of the world’s most well-preserved 18th-century oil mills.
According to a renowned architect firm responsible for reconstruction and preservation of the estate, the mill might be made accessible to the public in the future.
When the prince decided to build a permanent residence in the location, he invited none other than the architect of the famous government building at Rosenbad quarter to design his new residence. Architect Ferdinand Boberg’s plans were executed between 1903 and 1905 when Prince Eugen officially celebrated the completion of the mansion in presence of his closest friends and the architect himself.
Although the mansion might seem fairly big, it soon turned out to be insufficient for one of the foremost landscape painters of the time and a passionate art collector. Therefore, the prince collaborated with architect Boberg again to bring the Gallery adjacent to the main building to life.
It was opened in 1913 as one of the most modern art facilities around. The Gallery became the place where Prince Eugen would display masterpieces from his private art collection consisting primarily of works from the turn of the 19th century.
As the prince himself stated, flowers and gardens were probably his greatest passions, second only to art. Hence, a beautiful garden at Waldemarsudde was a must. Once again, the estate’s owner was actively involved in the process of creating one. Not only did he design the overall landscape of the garden but also chose specific flowers that should be planted there.
Interestingly, his choices were seen as old-fashioned at the time, but the prince was obviously not afraid of doing things his way.
The atmosphere at the garden is complemented by centuries-old oak trees and a relatively large number of interesting sculptures. Sculptures can be found everywhere from the former main entrance to the fountain on the southern side of the building to the part of the garden near the Gallery.
In 1947, Prince Eugen passed away and in his will, he donated his estate as well as his art collection consisting of approximately 3,500 works of his own and 3,200 works created by almost 450 other artists to the Swedish state.
The former residence, now administered by the City of Stockholm, was opened to the public the following year after a thorough reconstruction.
Since then, the museum has become widely known as one of the most beautiful art museums in Sweden. Moreover, as one of the most visited museums in the country, in 2017, Prince Eugen’s Waldemarsudde was awarded the prestigious Museum of the Year award by The Association of Swedish Museums and The Swedish International Council of Museums.
On the ground floor, you can now visit Prince Eugen’s private apartment which has been left essentially untouched for the last seventy years. On the two upper floors, where additional bedrooms, offices, guestrooms, and the prince’s studio were originally located, you will find temporary exhibitions as well as works of the prince himself and items from his art collection.
The Gallery, too, shows off primarily temporary exhibitions of contemporary art and paintings, handicrafts, and design from the era of Prince Eugen.
Shortly before the museum became run by the Swedish state, in 1993, the estate was officially recognised as a historic site. Only since mid-2017, Waldemarsudde is administered by a private foundation after it has been separated from the National Museum.
If you would like to read more about the life and work of Prince Eugen who I have mentioned many times in this post, I recommend you visit the Waldemarsudde website where you can find additional information and images.
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