- The property was purchased by Sager brothers in 1880
- Modern-day looks of Sager House come from the reconstruction completed in 1901
- Members of the Sager family lived there until 1986
- It was turned into the Prime Minister’s residence between 1990 and 1995
In Stockholm, like in so many other historical cities, it is not too hard to know which historical buildings come from the oldest eras of the city and which, on the other hand, are somewhat newer. However, Stockholm’s being located on several islands makes it even easier to distinguish the oldest core of the city from the rest.
As more and more people were moving to the Swedish capital, the space in the Old Town (Gamla stan) simply ran out and other residents, no matter how wealthy, had to build their palaces around it. The street called Strömgatan, just across Norrström canal from the Swedish Parliament House, is a good example of this phenomenon.
It was first mentioned in historical documents from 1663, which is the period during which many of the most beautiful buildings in Stockholm were built thanks to the military and economic successes of the country. At that time, it was a simple wooden wharf but that changed during the following century when it was turned into a one made of stone.
Shortly before that, in 1772, a land stretching from Strömgatan all the way to Fredsgatan on the other end of the quarter was acquired by Anders Cederström. He had two single-floor buildings and a couple of smaller wings, all made of stone, built on the property. Years went by and the property changed owner several times.
Then, in 1880, it was brothers Robert and Edvard Sager who bought the residence standing next to the magnificent Arvfurstens Palace (Arvfurstens palats). Soon after, Robert Sager became the sole owner and in 1883 submitted an application for a permission to reconstruct the façade of the building facing Strömgatan.
During the reconstruction, windows on the top floor of the then two-floor house were enlarged and turned into French windows. Tiled stoves in the interior were exchanged for modern open fireplaces and gas, as well as water, were installed in the house.
It did not take long for Sager to come up with a plan to build an entirely new house instead of the existing one. The plan was to build a taller, three-floor building which would not appear so small compared to the neighbouring palace. However, the authorities rejected his application and he could not execute the idea.
Instead, he created a new plan which he presented in 1891 after Adelswärd Palace (Adelswärska huset) on its other side was completed. Sager himself drew the design of his new façade as he had previously studied architecture, especially under the mentorship of the French architect J.R.P. Litoux.
Sager House (Sagerska huset) as we know it today was born during this reconstruction. An additional floor was built on top of the existing building, and many new decorations found their place on the façade, which helped the house stand out even on this prestigious street despite it still being the smallest.
When Robert Sager passed away in 1919, his only child Leo inherited the house. No changes other than a few minor modifications were made to the house in the following decades. Eventually, it was Leo’s wife Vera who was the last member of the Sager family inhabiting the house on Strömgatan since her husband’s death in 1949.
It was only around that time, two years before Leo Sager passed away, that the other part of the property facing Fredsgatan was separated from the original land created in the eighteenth century. While this part was bought by the state, Vera continued living in the remaining part until 1986 which made Sager Palace the last privately inhabited palace in Central Stockholm.
Afterwards, the palace formally became owned by the Catholic Church which decided to sell it at an auction. It was bought by the Construction Board (Byggnadsstyrelsen) in 1989 for 45.5 million Swedish kronor, which is today’s equivalent of approximately 77 million kronor or 8 million euros. The intention behind this purchase was to turn the historical palace into the Prime Minister’s residence with areas for representative purposes.
This was achieved through an extensive reconstruction executed between 1990 and 1995. The reconstruction itself cost nearly 50 million kronor, while new furnishing and equipment were worth about 11 million. The total cost of the palace including the aforementioned acquisition price was then almost 116 million kronor, which in today’s money would be roughly 166 million kronor or 17 million euros.
Currently, Sager Palace consists of 5 over-ground floors with a total living area of 1,180 square metres. The bottom floor contains entrance halls, a kitchen, and a small garden. Floors one and two are used for guests and state representation and the two floors at the top form the private residence of the Prime Minister.
While Strömgatan is a street with a plenty of beautiful historical buildings to admire, Sager Palace, despite being smaller than the surrounding palaces, undeniably has its place in this street’s landscape. There are many interesting details that are worth admiring both from across the canal and from nearby.
I hope that you liked the story of Sager Palace and that it will inspire you to visit this beautiful building and explore its unique façade for yourself. We have plenty more stories just like this in the works, so make sure to come back to Trevl for more. To stay updated, you can sign up for our newsletter or simply join us on Facebook where we share the latest news from Trevl.
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Millhagen, Rebecka, Wästberg, Per, 1995. Sagerska huset.