Strömsholm Palace, sometimes called Strömsholm Castle is a Swedish royal palace. The baroque palace is built on the site of a fortress from the 1550s, located on an island in the Kolbäcksån river at the west end of Lake Mälaren. The palace has interiors from the 18th century and an important collection of Swedish paintings.
King Gustav Vasa had a fortress built at Strömsholm in the 1550s. This later provided the foundation for the present Strömsholm Palace, built in 1669-1674 for Queen Hedvig Eleonora to a design by Nicodemus Tessin the Elder. The palace consists of a central building framed by four square corner towers. On the park side, there is a large, domed central tower. Around 20 estate buildings were erected at the same time as the palace, and the first stages of a park in the French baroque style were laid out. Work on the interiors came to a halt when the building's fabric was completed. Not until the 1730s was the first phase of interior work carried out, including a palace chapel in the attic designed by the Swedish architect Carl Hårleman.
The interiors at Strömsholm Palace are largely Gustavian in style. In 1766 the heir to the Swedish throne, later King Gustav III, married Princess Sophia Magdalena of Denmark. As a wedding present from the Swedish Riksdag, she was given Strömsholm Palace. Extensive interior works commenced, under the architectural direction of Carl Fredrik Adelcrantz, and continued into the 19th century. The queen's bedchamber is a prime example of Swedish interior design from the start of the Gustavian era, as well as the Chinese dining room with its fabric-covered walls with Chinese style paintings done by the renowned tapestry painter Lars Bolander.
The palace also houses an important collection of Swedish paintings from the 17th century, amongst others David Klöcker Ehrenstrahl's paintings of King Charles XII's horses. Since the 16th century, Strömsholm has been an equestrian center of Sweden. In the 1550s, King Gustav Vasa reinforced the importance of horses here, by raising horses for Sweden´s army. The Strömsholm Riding School was a part of the Swedish Army from 1868 to 1968. Today, Strömsholm is used as a hippodrome, where equestrian competitions are held each year.
In 1985, the palace underwent major renovation of its facade. Over the years, the exterior had undergone various alterations, but the plasterwork as originally applied in the 1670s was largely intact. The roof was covered with tar shingles until the 19th century, when these were replaced with tin. The palace was restored in stages during the 1990s. The disposition of the rooms in the royal apartments was restored, and the 18th century furnishings were placed in the correct context. One of the most important features of the restoration was the reproduction of the 1760s wallpaper, the original of which was found in isolation on an attic beam in one of the houses on the estate. Old linen towels were transformed into royal wallpaper.References:
Eketorp is an Iron Age fort in southeastern Öland, which was extensively reconstructed and enlarged in the Middle Ages. Throughout the ages the fortification has served a variety of somewhat differing uses: from defensive ringfort, to medieval safe haven and thence a cavalry garrison. In the 20th century it was further reconstructed to become a heavily visited tourist site and a location for re-enactment of medieval battles. Eketorp is the only one of the 19 known prehistoric fortifications on Öland that has been completely excavated, yielding a total of over 24,000 individual artifacts. The entirety of southern Öland has been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Eketorp fortification is often referred to as Eketorp Castle.
The indigenous peoples of the Iron Age constructed the original fortification about 400 AD, a period known to have engendered contact between Öland natives with Romans and other Europeans. The ringfort in that era is thought to have been a gathering place for religious ceremonies and also a place of refuge for the local agricultural community when an outside enemy appeared. The circular design was believed to be chosen because the terrain is so level that attack from any side was equally likely. The original diameter of this circular stone fortification was about 57 metres. In the next century the stone was moved outward to construct a new circular structure of about 80 metres in diameter. At this juncture there were known to be about fifty individual cells or small structures within the fort as a whole. Some of these cells were in the center of the fortified ring, and some were actually built into the wall itself.
In the late 600s AD the ringfort was mysteriously abandoned, and it remained unused until the early 11th century. This 11th century work generally built upon the earlier fort, except that stone interior cells were replaced with timber structures, and a second outer defensive wall was erected.
Presently the fort is used as a tourist site for visitors to Öland to experience a medieval fortification for this region. A museum within the castle walls displays a few of the large number of artefacts retrieved by the National Heritage Board during the major decade long excavation ending in 1974. Inside the fort visitors are greeted by actors in medieval costumes who assume the roles of period artisans and merchants who might have lived there nine centuries earlier. There are also re-enactment scenes of skirmishes and other dramatic events of daily life from the Middle Ages.
Eketorp lies a few kilometers west of Route 136. There is an ample unpaved parking area situated approximately two kilometers west of the paved Öland perimeter highway. There is also a gift shop on site. During peak summer visitation, there are guided tours available. Visitors are assessed an admission charge.