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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Details

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

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Evelin Kängsepp (41 days ago)
Visited the castle during the spring. The place is amazing regardless of the bad weather. Nice walking area, great dog island to let the dog loose. Will definitely go back
John Murphy (2 months ago)
Great gardens for a walk around. The Swedes just stop and picnic! Kept immaculately
stephanie cohen (2 months ago)
Absolutely stunning palace. Make sure to plan on spending a good amount of time here. You can take a boat from Stockholm or a bus from the underground. Both drop you off right at the entrance. I would recommend taking a tour of the inside. They offer it in several languages. It took us through all the rooms explaining the all the history. After that you can wander through on your own and spend as much time as you want in each space. There were several things I wouldn't have noticed if I hadn't taken the tour. There is so much to see. The gardens are quite large and elaborate. With several different types of gardens, fountains, and statues. Plus several out buildings. Definitely a great place to explore for the day.
Veikko Suhonen (6 months ago)
Maybe most important of Stockholms Palace's because it has been living place for so many of Swedish royalties. Now in Covid times museum is closed for public but you are still able to see Palace and it's surroundings from outside. Definitely a place to visit.
Isak Turesson (6 months ago)
Very nice and calm park and castle. beautiful even a cools December day
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