The Weekly Postcard: Stadshuset, Stockholm’s Grandiose City Hall

Towering over the waterfront of Kungsholmen island Stadshuset or Stockholm City Hall flaunts its redbrick façade and 100-meter tall bell tower topped with the Three Crowns of Sweden. It is most likely the city’s most impressive landmark, one that you will surely be drawn to as soon as you set foot in Stockholm. Although a relatively new building (1908-1909), Stadshuset made a name for itself pretty fast. 

Stockholm City Hall became famous for its grand ceremonial halls and unique art pieces, but especially for being the venue of the Nobel Prize banquet which is held each year in the Blue Hall on December 10, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death. The banquet follows the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony that has taken place without exception at the Stockholm Concert Hall since 1926. The Swedish royal family has always been the guests of honor at both the Prize Award Ceremony and the Banquet. After the dinner, a dance is held in the Golden Hall and the event is broadcast live on radio and television.

 

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Stockholm City Hall

 

Besides its renowned banquet halls, the building also houses an an array of offices and meeting rooms for over 200 politicians and civil servants, including the Municipal Council.

 

Visiting Stockholm City Hall

The tour starts in the so-called Blue Hall, which is actually not blue at all. Initially, the walls were supposed to be covered in blue tiles, but when the architect saw the beautiful red shades of the brick walls he decided to leave them the way they were. The famous Blue Hall is equipped with a 10,000-pipe organ, considered to be Scandinavia’s largest musical instrument.

 

 
Upstairs the tour continues through the Council Chamber, designed to resemble the open roof of a Viking longhouse and decorated with furniture created by Carl Malmsten. 

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The Council Chamber

The opulent Oval Room is a popular place for marriage ceremonies, but the room is in such high demand that the ceremony lasts about 40 seconds. 

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The Oval Room

The Prince’s Gallery was named after Prince Eugen, the prince-painter who created the frescoes on the wall, depicting views of Stockholm’s various island. The Gallery runs along City Hall’s southern side and is primarily used for the reception of honoured guests. The French windows running the entire length of the Gallery offer a wonderful view of Lake Mälaren and Södermalm.

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The Prince’s Gallery

The most impressive of the ceremonial rooms is the Golden Hall with its gold mosaics. It is absolutely fantastic. The elaborate mosaics surrounding the hall sparkle with over 18 million pieces of gold leaf and colored glass, depicting scenes from the history of Sweden. Initially the Golden Hall was not golden at all, but gray built with stone and granite. In 1917, thanks to a generous donation by a private person the Golden Hall was redecorated to its current form. 

 

The hall is dominated by the ”Queen of Lake Mälaren” on the northern wall which depicting a woman that holds Stockholm in her lap, while the city is being honoured by the East and the West.

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Queen of Lake Mälaren mosaic in the Golden Hall of the Stockholm City Hall

Stadshuset is one of Stockholm’s greatest attractions. If walking where the Nobel Prize laureates walk would make you feel like a winner, then Stadshuset should be on your list of places to visit in Stockholm.

Guided tours are available in Swedish and English. There is no prebooking except for large groups, tickets for individuals are sold on the day itself at the cash desk. For those who want to stroll outdoors, the Stockholm City Hall is an excellent start on a promenade by the water. 

 

From May to September, visitors can also climb the bell tower from where they can enjoy panoramic views of the city and the neighboring islands. There is an elevator that will take you half way to the top and from there you can continue on the stairs. On the way up to the top, you will also pass the Tower Museum, located in the middle of the Tower.

 

 

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29 Comments on “The Weekly Postcard: Stadshuset, Stockholm’s Grandiose City Hall

  1. wow. who would have imagined Stockholm had anything like this? Not me. It’s never held much intrigue for me but maybe it’s a city I want to visit after all.

    • I didn’t expect to find Stockholm so attractive, Eileen. It was a great surprise. I can strongly recommend it as a great place to visit.

    • The beauty of the Stadshuset is on the inside, Tanja. The outside is just like any other building in Stockholm, nothing outstanding.

    • There are some very beautiful City Halls in the world, Lolo, you are right. However, the one in Stockholm is absolutely unique. Perhaps because it is linked to the Nobel Prize banquet as well.

  2. David and I visited Stockholm about twenty years ago and loved it. It is a beautiful city. We didn’t tour the city hall. I don’t even remember the outside but then we were there a very long time ago. We are planning a return trip soon and I will put a city hall tour on my wishlist.
    Lyn aka The Travelling Lindfields recently posted…Esperance, Western Australia: Pink lakes and kangaroos on the beach. Does Esperance live up to its reputation?My Profile

    • I’m sure you’ll find Stockholm even more attractive the second time, Lyn. We loved strolling to the Gamla Stan and visiting all the attractions. Besides, they Swedes have so good food.

    • So sorry to hear you had such a bad experience in Stockholm. It’s a really beautiful city, you should go back to visit at a better time.

  3. The Golden Hall is my favorite! I have always had a thing for mosaics. The Council Chamber has an some sort of Asian touch, don’t you think? In my opinion, the building doesn’t look that interesting from outside. However, the inside is very lavish. #TheWeeklyPostcard
    Ruth recently posted…Where to Stay in Bali: Top 5 SpotsMy Profile

    • Sweden was a good surprise for me too, Elaine. Of course I’d love to be able to attend the Nobel Prize banquet. I’m sure it’s wonderful.

  4. The stadshuset is indeed a beautiful iconic landmark of Stockholm city. I did visit the city hall once for a university reception for international students in the Golden hall and it was a special experience to be in the place where the Nobel prize banquet is held each year. Enjoyed your tour and photos of the rest of the city hall. I especially like the Prince’s gallery (his home and museum, Waldermarsudde, is a must-see when visiting Stockholm) and the Council chamber.
    Ahila recently posted…A morning in Fatehpur SikriMy Profile

    • Thanks for letting me know about the Prince’s home and museum in Stockholm, Ahila. I’d definitely like to go back to Stockholm and explore it more.

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