- The Police House was completed in 1911
- It became a historic site in 1965
- Other buildings in the complex were built in the 1930s and 1950s
Apart from being an extraordinarily attractive residential area, the Kungsholmen island west of the heart of Stockholm is the home of some particularly beautiful administrative buildings. One of the most iconic ones, Stockholm City Hall (Stockholms stadshus), is located right at the edge of the island overlooking the Old Town (Gamla stan). Further west, where many people never go, are the monumental Court House (Stockholms tingsrätt) and the exquisite Police House (Polishuset) that we discover in this post.
Just like all other government offices, the police resided in the Old Town of Stockholm for a long period until, eventually, their facilities became too tight. The authorities started looking for an alternative in the 1890s when the need for more pre-trial detention cells at their headquarters on Myntgatan became acute.
Early in the 1900s, a decision was made to move forward with the project to build a completely new headquarters on then relatively scarcely populated Kungsholmen. The architect chosen for the job was Gustaf Lindgren with prior experience from the Royal Prison Board.
Lindgren made a bold decision when instead of following the then popular National Romanticism movement, he chose a more eclectic style for the building, which was perceived as outdated by many of his contemporaries. What today might come as a surprise, this perception was even enhanced when the new Court House, which the Police House faces, was completed.
The architect’s thoughtful, harmonious design with a plenty of interesting details in the exterior began seeing the light of the day in 1905 when works on some of the buildings included in the project started. The construction of the actual Police House began in 1907 and according to the original plans, the police were meant to move in in late 1910.
By 1910, the detention prison was completed and the main building was on its way. However, several major obstacles along the way made moving in that year impossible. One of the issues was the fact that in order for the institutions to function well, the prison, police house, and court house had to be next to each other like they used to be on Myntgatan. Even the law requires a detainee’s trial to be executed directly in prison or in a joint building.
Since the court house was far from ready, the authorities wished for a temporary solution, which they eventually managed to pull off. This solution consisted of part of the court moving into the police facilities in the new house for the period until the new court house would be completed. This way, the institutions could function properly, but it was not before October 1911 that everything was in place.
Initially, the two grandiose buildings were separated by a street but only until the present-day park replaced it, creating a pleasant area filled with greenery between the Police House and the Court House.
In the decades following the completion of the Police House, the building complex underwent several reconstructions. The Criminal Police building was built in 1938 and extended later in the 1950s after the demolition of a stable and gymnasium built together with the main building.
The Police House itself officially became a historic site in 1965, which did not prevent the authorities from further altering the building, though. Several major reconstructions were performed in the following years during which the main hall and staircase, as well as windows and the façade itself, were altered. These changes affected the heritage of the building and were criticised by many.
Some of the building’s features were at least partially returned to their original condition during the 1990s and the 2000s after the change of the company responsible for the administration of the house. Overall, the yellow plastered façade currently has its original looks and all the stone decorations visible in the exterior of the building have been renovated, too, so they are in near-perfect condition.
Now you know everything important about the Police House in Stockholm which might not be located in the historical city centre but is definitely worth the trip to Kungsholmen. If you are still not convinced, try checking out more of my tips on places to see on the island that will hopefully change your mind.
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