Towering over the waterfront of Kungsholmen island, Stockholm City Hall flaunts its redbrick façade and 100-meter tall bell tower topped with three crowns. Stadshuset, or Stockholm City Hall, is most likely the city’s most impressive landmark and one that you will want to visit as soon as you arrive in Stockholm. Although a relatively new building (1908-1909), Stadshuset made a name for itself pretty fast.
Why is Stockholm City Hall so Famous
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. The Swedish royal family has always been the guests of honor at both the Prize Award Ceremony and the Banquet.
The dinner is followed by a dance, which takes place in the Golden Hall. The event is always broadcasted live on radio and television.
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 architect intended to cover the walls in blue tiles. But after seeing the beautiful red shade of the bricks, he decided to leave them uncovered. 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.
The opulent Oval Room is a popular place for marriage ceremonies. Unfortunately, the room is in such high demand, that the ceremony lasts about 40 seconds!
The Prince’s Gallery bears the name of Prince Eugen who painted all the wall frescoes. The frescos depict views of Stockholm’s various island. The Gallery runs along City Hall’s southern side and is the place where the reception for the honor guests takes place. The French windows running the entire length of the Gallery offer a wonderful view of Lake Mälaren and Södermalm.
The Ceremonial Rooms at the Stockholm City Hall
The most impressive of the ceremonial rooms at the Stockholm City Hall is the Golden Hall. Its gold mosaics are 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.
Stockholm City Hall is one of the city’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 pre-booking except for large groups. Tickets for individuals are available on the day itself at the cash desk. For those who want to stroll outdoors, the Stockholm City Hall has a beautiful water promenade.
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 you will also pass by the Tower Museum, located in the middle of the Tower.