Here is a short guide on what to see in Stockholm, the capital of Sweden and a city full of charm, history and colors and the most important port in the Baltic.
Stockholm is the financial heart of northern Europe and is spread over fourteen islands, fifty-seven bridges, seven nature reserves and a national park. It is an ecological city where over seventy percent of the energy comes from clean sources and nine out of ten inhabitants live less than 300 meters from a public garden.
In short, it is undoubtedly a welcoming city, at the top of all the special rankings that measure well-being and quality of life on a global scale.
So let’s find out a little more about this city and what you can visit in Stockholm.
One thing to see in Stockholm is undoubtedly its historic center, in particular the Gamla Stan square, the medieval heart of the city on the island of Stadsholmen. This is where the Royal Palace, the Cathedral (Storkyrkan) and the Stock Exchange Building (Börshuset) are located which, in addition to representing the Swedish financial center, houses the Nobel Museum (Nobelmuseet) famous for its audio-archives with speeches held when the prize is collected.
One of the main places of interest in Stockholm is undoubtedly the Royal Palace which represents not only the royal residence, in fact, but also a historical-cultural monument: and it is precisely on this ambivalence that the tourist appeal of the Palace is based. Real which makes it, without doubt, a must see in Stockholm.
The castle already existed, but what we can admire today is the work of the architect Nicodemus Tessin the Younger commissioned by King Charles XI (1655 – 1697) to adapt “Tre Kronor”, the old medieval fortress, to the imperial aspirations of the royal house.
It is a triumph of Baroque and Rococo in which today the main ceremonies and state visits take place.
Anyone interested in learning more about Stockholm’s “genius loci” cannot fail to visit the Cathedral dedicated to St. Nicholas. It is a church with 5 naves that presents itself with that singular mix of Gothic and Baroque that from an architectural point of view connects it to the nearby Royal Palace and for this reason a thing to see in Stockholm without a doubt.
It is in this church, also known as the “Great Church” that the coronation of the Swedish royal family took place until 1873. Subsequently, the celebrations were moved to the Royal Palace, leaving Storkyrkan with only two historical records: that of being the oldest church in the city (the origins date back to the 12th century), and above all of having been the place from which, in the 16th century , the conversion to Lutheran doctrine started.
One of the reasons why Stockholm boasts a very high quality of life is the presence of a huge naturalistic oasis in the center. We are talking about the EcoPark on the island of Djurgården where, during the summer period, the inhabitants of the capital like to spend most of their free time practicing outdoor sports, or simply relaxing on the lawn. In autumn, however, before winter dictates its rhythms, the Stockholm National Park is one of the favorite places for lovers of “foliage” (the change in the color of the leaves from yellow to red) in recent years it has become a real own photographic trend with lots of articles, sites and applications dedicated to the phenomenon.
Also, this is where some of Stockholm’s most important museums are located. Two in particular: Vasa Museum (Vasamuseet) and Skansen, an open-air museum and city zoo.
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About 300 artisans at work from sunrise to sunset 6 days a week. These are the impressive numbers for the construction of the vessel “Vasa” commissioned in 1625 by King Gustav II Adolfo (1594 -1632). Equally impressive is the size of the boat which, in the intentions of the king, should have resisted cannon fire and headwinds: 53 meters high, 68 long, 6 sails, 64 cannons and about 150 sailors to govern it. Not only that, all around the vessel there were more than 1000 finely decorated sculptures, symbolizing the will to power of a nation which, despite the ten-year commitment on several war fronts (Russia, Poland and Germany), had succeeded, thanks to the audacity of his young sovereign, to increase his own dominions. With this spirit, three years after the start of the works, the vessel was launched.On August 10, 1628, in the presence of thousands of Stockholmers, the Vasa was ready to leave the port. But something went wrong and two strong gusts of wind were enough to compromise the statics of the ship, which soon began to take in water from the open hatches of the guns. A real catastrophe. Between 30 and 50 people lost their lives and the majestic warship strongly desired by Gustavo II Adolfo sank miserably.Between 30 and 50 people lost their lives and the majestic warship strongly desired by Gustavo II Adolfo sank miserably.Between 30 and 50 people lost their lives and the majestic warship strongly desired by Gustavo II Adolfo sank miserably.
Three centuries later, in 1961, Sweden managed to pull up the wreck and make it, after long years of study and restoration, one of the main attractions of Stockholm.
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According to the Swedes, the Skansen is undoubtedly a must see in Stockholm as it would be the best “open air museum” in the world. Of course, patriotic pride counts, but the ingenuity and care with which its inventor, a certain Arthur Hazelius (1833 – 1901), provided for the construction of this open-air museum is truly incredible.
First of all for the intuition that is at the base of the work: we are in 1891 and Sweden, like the other European nations, is in full transition towards the industrial economy. Far from opposing the development of his own country, Hazelius set himself the goal of preserving all the local traditions that were in danger of disappearing under the blows of modernity. To do this, he personally purchased over 150 rural homes from all over Sweden, providing, as if that were not enough, also for the furnishing and provision of the necessary household utensils. In short, the aim of man was, from the beginning, to create a miniature city representative of the uses and customs of the entire Swedish people. Task fully accomplished, considering that the Skansen is one of the main places of interest in Stockholm.
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If you decide to go to this city with children, you certainly cannot avoid visiting the Grona Lund, the largest amusement park in Stockholm, suitable for adults and children. From roller coasters, to rocking horses, passing through the terrifying house of spirits and the thousand other devilry of this kind of environment, Grona Lund is undoubtedly a place to visit in Stockholm if you want to spend a day full of joy and of lightheartedness.
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After a visit to the museums of Djurgården, we are happy to visit the Ericsson Globe, a futuristic building in concrete and steel where the most important sporting events in Sweden have been held for years. Since 2010, two spherical glass bubbles have been mounted on the external facade of the building that lead visitors to the top of the structure, which offers a beautiful view of the city.
The Museum of Modern Art is undoubtedly a thing to see in Stockholm since it is one of the most important museums in Europe (over 130,000 works by contemporary and great artists of the past) but it is also innovative as an approach, especially for the ” attention dedicated to children who are reserved for numerous spaces and activities within the structure. The building is located on the island of Skeppsholmen and was built in 1998 by the Spanish architect Rafael Moneo in conjunction with the designation of the city as European Capital of Culture.
Inside this museum it is possible to admire works by contemporary artists from the most diverse fields (sculpture, painting, photography, mass media installations) and giants of the past including Matisse, Kandinsky, von Dardel, up to Edvard Munch, author of the famous “L ‘scream ”kept in the National Gallery of Oslo. In addition to the works on display, temporary exhibitions and activities for children, the Moderna Museet in Stockholm also deserves for the landscape in which it is inserted. Green and nature all around and a wonderful panorama of Stockholm, especially in the evening.