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The Last Morning: Quick Visit to Stadshuset

large_7079590-Stadshuset_Stockholm.jpgOur flight back home was scheduled in the early afternoon. We had to leave the hotel at noon, so we had a free morning to play with. Some wanted to go shopping, others needed the whole morning for breakfast and packing. But I had other plans, and I kept them secret because they required a tight timeline and an early start, which I wasn’t sure to make.

I nourished that one wish which was not covered by our trip’s programme: seeing the interior of Stadshuset. Research on the internet revealed that the first guided tour would be at 9:30. So this would be doable if I get up early, pack at light speed and have breakfast as soon as the buffet opens. Before the others even appeared at breakfast I was already out and about.

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Stadshuset, the city hall of Stockholm, is an impressive landmark on the northern bank of Riddarfjärden, overlooking the wide open water west of the old town. It is not as old as it tries to appear: The building was begun in 1911 and completed in 1924. Its style is known as „national romantic“, a style which is closely related to the arts and crafts movement. It combines elements of historical styles with the technical achievements of the early 20th century. All materials used are Swedish. 8 million bricks were needed for the facades.

The tower is 106 metres high, one metre higher than the one of the city hall in Copenhagen – ah the chauvinism. The three gilded crowns on top refer to the coat of arms of the state.

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The facades are rich in details worth a closer look, like several balconies, small gilded statues on the edge of the roof, moon and star and palm leaf on top of the spires.

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On the terrace by the lake

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Outside the tower, underneath the canopy, there is a kenotaph (symbolic grave that never had a body in it) for Birger Jarl, the founder of Stockholm, with a gilded statue of the defunct lying on top of the empty tomb.

The main courtyard and the waterside terrace can be accessed for free. The interior of the city hall can only be visited with guided tours. I wholeheartedly recommend joining one to see this remarkable building from inside.

Although Stadshuset is a busy tourist hotspot with bus and cruise groups in addition to the individuals' tours, and tours move rather fast, you get to see all the important halls and rooms. Most of them are vast enough to provide enough space for two or three groups at once. I do not regret going. It's worth it.

Guided tours are available in Swedish and English. There is no prebooking except for large groups, tickets for individuals are sold on the day itself at the cash desk. Hours and intervals differ depending on the time of year and are subject to change if there are events taking place in Stadshuset. Please check the official website for all details concerning your exact date of visit: http://international.stockholm.se/the-city-hall/tours-of-the-city-hall/

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The "Blue" Hall

The tours start in the so-called Blue Hall. There is nothing blue in the Blue Hall, though. The walls were actually supposed to be covered in blue tiles but when the architect saw the brick walls in their various shades of colour he liked them so much that he decided to leave them the way they were.
Upstairs you are lead through some representative rooms and corridors into the hall of the city council.
The festive banquets to celebrate Nobel Prize winners take place in the Blue Hall.
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The Mayor's office (we were jokingly asking whether visitors have to find their way though the maze on the carpet to approach his desk?

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The hall of the city council

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The Prince's Gallery was named after Prince Eugen, the painter who created the frescoes on the wall that depict views of Stockholm's various islands.

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More interiors

The Golden Hall

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The most impressive interior is the Golden Hall with its gold mosaics. Simply fantastic. The picture on the front wall shows the Queen of Lake Mälar with the city of Stockholm in her lap. Further pictures show personalities and events from Swedish history.

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The allegory of Mälar lake, a large woman on a throne, is depicted on the wall at the far end of the hall as the central figure. In her lap she is holding the city of Stockholm.

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The opposite wall shows the city in two images left and right of the entrance.

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The reveals of the windows each present one legendary or historical Swedish hero.

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The Hansa played an important role in Stockholm's history.

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King Gustav Vasa

Posted by Kathrin_E 04:42 Archived in Sweden

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