Stockholm, the Venice of the North

Thursday, 12 July 2012 - 01:13 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, European Union, European Capital of Culture, UNESCO World Heritage
Reading Time:  7 minutes

National Museum © Jonas Bergsten

National Museum © Jonas Bergsten

Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden, with a population of 864,324 in the municipality, 1.4 million in the urban area, and around 2.1 million in the 6,519 km2 (2,517.00 sq mi) metropolitan area. As of 2010, the Stockholm metropolitan area is home to approximately 22% of Sweden’s population.

Founded no later than c. 1250, possibly as early as 1187, Stockholm has long been one of Sweden’s cultural, media, political, and economic centres. Its strategic location on 14 islands on the south-central east coast of Sweden at the mouth of Lake Mälaren, by the Stockholm archipelago, has been historically important. Stockholm has been nominated by GaWC as a global city, with a ranking of Alpha-. In The 2008 Global Cities Index, Stockholm ranked 24th in the world, 10th in Europe, and first in Scandinavia. Stockholm is known for its beauty, its buildings and architecture, its abundant clean and open water, and its many parks. It is sometimes referred to as Venice of the North.

The Royal Dramatic Theatre © Jonnie Nord School of Economics © Anonymous Northern Södermalm and the bridge to Riddarholmen © Svdmolen Ericsson headquarters © Holger.Ellgaard City Hall © Heineken85 Stockholm Port © Condor Patagónico Stockholm Palace © Grishasergei Replica Longship in Stockholm Harbour © AnthonyBurgess National Museum © Jonas Bergsten
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Northern Södermalm and the bridge to Riddarholmen © Svdmolen
Stockholm is the site of the national Swedish government, the Parliament of Sweden (riksdagen), the Supreme Court of Sweden (Högsta domstolen), and the official residence of the Swedish monarch as well as the prime minister. Since 1980, the monarch has resided at Drottningholm Palace (part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site) in Ekerö Municipality outside of Stockholm and uses the Royal Palace of Stockholm as his workplace and official residence. The government has its seat in Rosenbad and the parliament in the Parliament House.

The city’s oldest section is Gamla Stan (Old Town), located on the original small islands of the city’s earliest settlements and still featuring the medieval street layout. Some notable buildings of Gamla Stan are the large German Church (Tyska kyrkan) and several mansions and palaces: the Riddarhuset (the House of Nobility), the Bonde Palace, the Tessin Palace and the Oxenstierna Palace. The oldest building in Stockholm is the Riddarholmskyrkan from the late 13th century. After a fire in 1697 when the original medieval castle was destroyed, Stockholm Palace was erected in a baroque style. Storkyrkan Cathedral, the episcopal seat of the Bishop of Stockholm, stands next to the castle. It was founded in the 13th century but is clad in a baroque exterior dating to the 18th century. As early as the 15th century, the city had expanded outside of its original borders. Some pre-industrial, small-scale buildings from this era can still be found in Södermalm. During the 19th century and the age of industrialization Stockholm grew rapidly, with plans and architecture inspired by the large cities of the continent such as Berlin and Vienna. Notable works of this time period include public buildings such as the Royal Swedish Opera and private developments such as the luxury housing developments on Strandvägen. In the 20th century, a nationalistic push spurred a new architectural style inspired by medieval and renaissance ancestry as well as influences of the Art Nouveau style. A key landmark of Stockholm, the Stockholm City Hall, was erected 1911-1923 by architect Ragnar Östberg. Other notable works of these times are the Stockholm Public Library and the Forest Cemetery, Skogskyrkogården.

In the 1930s modernism characterized the development of the city as it grew. New residential areas sprang up such as the development on Gärdet while industrial development added to the growth, such as the KF manufacturing industries on Kvarnholmen located in the Nacka Municipality. In the 1950s, suburban development entered a new phase with the introduction of the Stockholm metro. The modernist developments of Vällingby and Farsta were internationally praised. In the 1960s this suburban development continued but with the aesthetic of the times, the industrialized and mass-produced blocks of flats received a large amount of criticism. At the same time that this suburban development was taking place, the most central areas of the inner city were being redesigned, known as Norrmalmsregleringen. Sergels Torg, with its five high-rise office towers was created in the 1960s, followed by the total clearance of large areas to make room for new development projects. The most notable buildings from this period is the ensemble of the House of Culture, City Theatre and National Bank at Sergels Torg, designed by architect Peter Celsing. In the 1980s, the planning ideas of modernism were starting to be questioned, resulting in suburbs with a denser planning, such as Skarpnäck. In the 1990s this idea was taken further with the development of and old industrial area close to the inner city, resulting in a sort of mix of modernistic and urban planning in the new area of Hammarby Sjöstad. One of the most unusual pieces of “architecture” in Stockholm is the Jumbohostel, housed in a converted Boeing 747 located at Stockholm-Arlanda Airport.

Impressive Stockholm Panorama picture, taken from the City Hall tower.

Read more on city of Stockholm, Stockholm Tourism, Stockholm-Arlanda Airport, Wikitravel Stockholm and Wikipedia Stockholm. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.






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