Located on the east coast of Sweden at the mouth of Lake Malaren, Stockholm Sweden is widely renowned for its natural beauty. The city is built on a group of fourteen islands in the Stockholm Sweden Archipelago, making a wonderful location for this, Sweden’s capital city.
The Swedish statesman Birger Jarl erected a fortress on the small island of Gamla Stan in 1252 to help defend the narrow passage of water leading from the Baltic to Lake Malaren. It is said that he chose the spot by pushing a log into the water to see where the currents would take it ashore, showing him the best location for a harbour for returning ships. The city’s name derives from this spot: log (stock) and islet (holm). The settlement that grew up around the fortress eventually became the Stockholm of today. By the middle of the fifteenth century Stockholm Sweden became the capital of the Scandinavian kingdom, which then encompassed modern-day Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Greenland. The first independent King of Sweden, Gustav Vasa, was crowned in 1523 so Stockholm became home to the royal family as it still is today.
Stockholm’s old town is on the island of Gamla Stan and still retains its medieval street plan, with buildings in almost every western European style. The city is fresh and colourful as most houses are still painted in their original colours: seventeenth-century buildings are red, eighteenth-century buildings are yellow, more recent buildings are off-white or grey.
Stockholm boasts several royal palaces which are interesting to explore. The largest is the Baroque Drottningholm, originally built in the late sixteenth century. The palace is still the private residency of the Swedish royal family, but it is also a popular tourist attraction with wonderful gardens. There are over 70 museums in the city. The National Museet has a wide range of fine art, with 16,000 paintings (some by Rembrandt) and 30,000 other works. The Modern Museet features more contemporary works, including those by Picasso and Dali. The Nordiska Museet is an ethnographical museum dedicated to the culture of Sweden, while Vasamuseet has the famous reconstruction of an ancient ship.
May to October.
In winter there are only six hours og daylight per day.
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