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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.