Drottningholm Palace

Ekerö, Sweden

The Drottningholm Palace is the private residence of the Swedish royal family. It was originally built in the late 16th century. It served as a residence of the Swedish royal court for most of the 18th century. Apart from being the private residence of the Swedish royal family, the palace is a popular tourist attraction. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, mainly because of its Theatre (an opera house located at the palace) and the Chinese Pavilion.

The palace was originally a renaissance building designed by Willem Boy, a stone palace built by John III of Sweden in 1580 for his queen, Catherine Jagellon. The Queen Dowager Regent Hedwig Eleonora bought the castle in 1661, a year after her role as Queen of Sweden ended, but it burnt to the ground on 30 December that same year. Hedwig hired the famous Swedish architect Nicodemus Tessin the Elder to design and rebuild the castle. With the castle almost complete, Nicodemus died in 1681. His son Nicodemus Tessin the Younger continued his work and completed the elaborate interior designs. During the reign of the kings Charles XI and Charles XII, the royal court was often present at the palace.

Drottningholm served regularly as a residence for the royal court from ca 1720 until 1792. After the death of Hedvig Eleonora in 1715, Queen Ulrika Eleonora and King Frederick I held court at the palace until 1744. The court of Gustav IV Adolf (reign 1792–1809) and Charles XIII (reign 1809–1818) used the palace more sporadically. In 1797, Frederica of Baden was celebrated here with great festivities, and in 1809, the deposed king was kept here under guards in the Chinese parlour for eleven days.

In the 19th century Drottningholm was ignored and started to decay, because it was regarded as a symbol of the old dynasty. The buildings were severely damaged by the forces of nature, and their inventories were either taken away or auctioned off. It was apparently opened to the public for the first time during this period: a tour was mentioned in 1819, and people used the park for picnics. Occasionally, the grounds were used for public events.

In 1907, a major four-year restoration of the palace was begun to restore it to its former state, after which the royal court began to use it regularly again. The current Swedish royal family have used Drottningholm as their primary residence since 1981. Since then, the Palace has also been guarded by the Swedish Military in the same fashion as Stockholm Palace.

The gardens and park areas surrounding the castle and its buildings are one of the main attractions for the tourists that visit the palace each year. The gardens have been established in stages since the castle was built, resulting in different styles of parks and gardens. The oldest part, a baroque garden, was created at the end of the 17th century under the direction of Hedwig Eleonora. Gustav III took the initiative for what is sometimes called the English garden section of Drottningholm. This lies north of the baroque garden and consists of two ponds with canals, bridges, large open sections of grass, and trees in groups or avenues. Walkways are laid out throughout this large part of the park. Throughout this area "vistas" can be seen, cleared lines of sight that are intentionally constructed to draw the eye to a particular view. Most of the antique marble statues throughout the gardens were purchased by Gustav III from Italy.



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Founded: 1662
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Sweden
Historical period: Swedish Empire (Sweden)


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User Reviews

Sebastian Reiz (4 months ago)
We travelled here last Tuesday on board the Motor Ship Carl Philip, named after the present Swedish king's youngest child, along with some 100 other passengers, mostly retirees, and arrived under changing skies. The royal family occupies the southern part of the castle, guarded by young female and male military recruits. As usual when visiting castles, we took a guided tour, that was a clear deception, maybe because the advanced age of our fellow visitors did not inspire our guide. It was "dusty" so we cut that visit short and spent most of our time in the immense gardens on the western side of the castle. Unfortunately, the time we had did not allow us to visit the theatre so we had to get inspired by the model displayed in one of the halls of the castle before returning to Stockholm by M/S Carl Philip immersed by some violent rain showers. In conclusion, a pleasant day that we could nevertheless have spent better elsewhere.
The Schlatter Brothers (5 months ago)
It's a place you should definitely visit when you're in Stockholm. We were there on a Friday afternoon. It was not very crowded, which made it pleasant to enjoy the paintings & co. There was also quite a bit to read, but I expected more. I would recommend anyone going there to take a guided tour to get the most out of it. Last but not least, take a walk through the large park. On a nice day it is very beautiful.
Swati S (5 months ago)
Was a cool palace to see. It's not a must-see in my book if you've seen the Palace of Versailles already. Otherwise it's a chill place to hang out for part of a day. It doesn't have much shade if you go on a sunny day. Also I'm very amused that they used to summer a 15 minute walk from their main residence.
Waldemar KLIMCZAK (5 months ago)
It's not as beautiful as Versailles in France, but the building and surrounding gardens are worth seeing. You need 2-3 hours for the trip. Of course, if you like walking and relaxing, you need to reserve more time in this place. An adult ticket costs SEK 140.
Kiattikun Jira (5 months ago)
The place itself is not that big. But the gardens surrounding it are huge. Not only are the gardens big but they are beautiful as well. The way that they decorate the trees is amazing. And very well maintained. There are fountains and waterfalls that are just so pretty. If you really wanted to see all of it you would need at the very least a few hours. There is a tiny hedge maze perfect for playing hide and seek.
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