- von Rosen Palace was completed in 1897
- It is the first building in Sweden built using ‘Ekeberg marble’
- The palace has a facade facing Strandvägen and another one facing Storgatan
- The interior went through a complete reconstruction in 1941
When talking about private palaces in Stockholm, we usually think of the monumental facades of the noble residences from the 17th century, their rich décor, high ceilings, and spacious interiors. However, such residences used to be built even long after the end of the era of the Swedish Empire.
One such place can be found among what could be considered the modern-day equivalent of old private palaces. Near the end of Strandvägen with all its massive apartment houses, we can admire the von Rosen Palace (von Rosenska palatset) built around the same time as most buildings on the world-famous boulevard.
Clarence von Rosen, the original owner of the palace, was a member of the established noble dynasty von Rosen which originated in the 13th century in Livonia in present-day Latvia and Estonia. The dynasty with three red roses in their coat of arms was introduced in the Swedish House of Nobility in the 17th century after the military man Robert von Rosen became the first member of the dynasty who served under the Swedish flag.
Von Rosen hired the architect of the prominent Bünsow House (Bünsowska huset), standing on Strandvägen since the 1880s, to design his new private residence. Isak Gustaf Clason quickly became known as an architect who was not afraid to break traditions and bring innovative solutions to the table.
Apart from the aforementioned buildings, Clason is responsible for a number of other prominent structures standing in Stockholm’s Östermalm borough including the Östermalm’s Market Hall (Östermalms Saluhall) and the monumental building of the Nordic Museum (Nordiska museet) just across Djurgårdsbron Bridge from von Rosen Palace.
Von Rosen Palace, which cost around 300,000 SEK to build, was completed between 1896 and 1897 as a four-floor building containing two separate residences. The apartment occupying the bottom two floors was used by the owner himself while the other used to be rented out, initially to Carl Carlson Bonde, a member of another well-known noble family.
The floorplans of the two apartments were nearly identical with an ingenious twist. The owner’s apartment had the kitchen and the master bedroom on the bottom floor and the social rooms on the one above, whereas the apartment in the upper part of the house had the master bedroom, as well as the kitchen, above the social rooms.
You might be wondering what is so clever about that, but it is actually pretty intuitive. This way, when one of the neighbours is using their social floor for, well, socialising, they are not disturbing the other one who might want to enjoy a good night’s sleep instead.
The apartments in von Rosen Palace were pretty standard when it came to their size and the number of rooms. At least when compared to other apartments on Strandvägen, that is, as they both consisted of ten individual rooms excluding the kitchen, the bathroom, and the dining room.
The staff accommodation was located in a separate part of the building stretching through the pair of parcels between Storgatan and Strandvägen that Clarence von Rosen had acquired a few years before building the residence carrying his name.
Looking at the palace from the outside, there are a plenty of interesting things to notice. First of all, the façade facing the promenade on Strandvägen is pretty unusual thanks to strong French influences visible, for instances, on the design of the balconies.
Moreover, while the use of ‘honest,’ natural construction materials is almost synonymous with this area, von Rosen Palace is the first building in Stockholm built using the light marble from Närke known as ‘Ekeberg marble.’
This exclusive material quickly caught on in the neighbourhood and today you can see it at some of the most prominent structures in Östermalm including the Royal Dramatic Theatre (Kungliga Dramatiska Teatern) and Oscar’s Church (Oscars kyrka), both located within walking distance from the palace.
You might be surprised to learn that von Rosen Palace has facades facing both Strandvägen and Storgatan as I hinted earlier. However, what I think is most unexpected is how much the two differ in their appearances.
The elegant French-style façade we have already seen is in great contrast with the bright-yellow face complemented by a baroque portal visible from Storgatan. Even the inner yard accessible through the gate originally adapted to passing horse carriages found inspiration in baroque, which explains the arcades, overall round shapes, and numerous sculptures.
It was in this backyard where the service apartments were located but also the owner’s stable found its place here. Clarence von Rosen was a prominent figure in the world of the Swedish sport, particularly horse riding, which is why a stable at his residence was a must.
It did not take more than a few years, though, and the noble owner had to sell his splendid residence due to financial difficulties. The house stayed in the family, however, as it was Clarence’s brother Eugéne who took over the palace which was already carrying his name.
Although we have fairly detailed information about the looks of the original interior of the palace, essentially none of it has been preserved. As time was passing by, the character of the building changed. An extra floor was added and while the façade was barely affected by these modifications, the inner parts of the palace were rebuilt completely. Primarily during the reconstruction in the early 1940s.
Among the few differences you can notice from the outside are the windows just under the roof facing Strandvägen which are not present in the photo from the turn of the 20th century shown above.
Strandvägen is one of the most exclusive and magnificent streets in Sweden and exploring it is a lot of fun. I encourage you to notice the little details on the massive facades lining the boulevard, enjoy the promenade passing through the tree alley, as well as the one on the shore of the Baltic Sea.
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