The history of Mälsåker palace stretches back to the Middle Ages when it probably was a simple stone house. During Sweden’s period as a great power in Europe in the 17th century the palace was owned by the Soop family. The famous architect Nikodemus Tessin was engaged to alter the building into one of the grandest baroque palaces in Sweden. The house was extended, wings and a terrace with stairs facing the see were added in 1660-1670s. During the 18th century the interiors were partly changed into the rococo style. At the end of the 19th century the house was modernized with electricity, water and central heating.
The 1940s turned out to be the most dramatic decennium for Mälsåker. Between 1943-1945 Mälsåker was owned by the State of Norway and used for training of approximately 2,000 soldiers living in hutments. The palace was used as an office and accommodation for officers and commands. A very cold day in January 1945 all fireplaces in the palace are used, which causes the chimney shaft to crack, the roof catches fire and the catastrophe is a fact. The roof fell in and the richly ornamented stucco ceilings on the third floor were destroyed. A great deal of the noble baroque palace had turned into a ruin.
In the 1990s Mälsåker started to regain its former glory. A building workshop was established and parts of the palace were restored using old building techniques and traditional materials. Stucco ceilings were re-created as was the beautiful patterned wooden floors.
Since 2007 an association is responsible for making the palace available for visitors. During summertime the palace is open for individual visitors as well as for pre-booked group visits. In the palace you will find an exhibition from the “Norway-era”, an exhibition from the period around 1900 and also several artists showing their work in the beautiful rooms. You are welcome to have some refreshments in the newly established café- and exhibition building, located just next to the palace with an astonishing view of the lake.References:
Les Invalides is a complex of buildings containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building"s original purpose. The buildings house the Musée de l"Armée, the military museum of the Army of France, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and the Musée d"Histoire Contemporaine, as well as the burial site for some of France"s war heroes, notably Napoleon Bonaparte.
Louis XIV initiated the project in 1670, as a home and hospital for aged and unwell soldiers: the name is a shortened form of hôpital des invalides. The architect of Les Invalides was Libéral Bruant. The enlarged project was completed in 1676, the river front measured 196 metres and the complex had fifteen courtyards. Jules Hardouin Mansart assisted the aged Bruant, and the chapel was finished in 1679 to Bruant"s designs after the elder architect"s death.
Shortly after the veterans" chapel was completed, Louis XIV commissioned Mansart to construct a separate private royal chapel referred to as the Église du Dôme from its most striking feature. Inspired by St. Peter"s Basilica in Rome, the original for all Baroque domes, it is one of the triumphs of French Baroque architecture. The domed chapel is centrally placed to dominate the court of honour. It was finished in 1708.
Because of its location and significance, the Invalides served as the scene for several key events in French history. On 14 July 1789 it was stormed by Parisian rioters who seized the cannons and muskets stored in its cellars to use against the Bastille later the same day. Napoleon was entombed under the dome of the Invalides with great ceremony in 1840. In December 1894 the degradation of Captain Alfred Dreyfus was held before the main building, while his subsequent rehabilitation ceremony took place in a courtyard of the complex in 1906.
The building retained its primary function of a retirement home and hospital for military veterans until the early twentieth century. In 1872 the musée d"artillerie (Artillery Museum) was located within the building to be joined by the Historical Museum of the Armies in 1896. The two institutions were merged to form the present musée de l"armée in 1905. At the same time the veterans in residence were dispersed to smaller centres outside Paris. The reason was that the adoption of a mainly conscript army, after 1872, meant a substantial reduction in the numbers of veterans having the twenty or more years of military service formerly required to enter the Hôpital des Invalides. The building accordingly became too large for its original purpose. The modern complex does however still include the facilities detailed below for about a hundred elderly or incapacitated former soldiers.