September 6, 2011

The Stockholm City Hall (Stadshuset)

Photo by Jeppe Wikström, SVB
One of the most famous buildings in Sweden, and a symbol of Stockholm, is the City Hall or Stadshuset. It is the seat of the city government as well as a popular tourist site. Not only is it a strikingly beautiful building, but visitors can climb the tower to enjoy the view, visit the Tower Museum and take guided tours. One explanation for the building's popularity with visitors is the fact that it is the venue for the annual Nobel banquet where the Swedish king & queen host the Nobel prize winners (an event that is televised and seen by millions around the world).
Looking up at the tower..
The City Hall was completed in 1923 and construction took 12 years using nearly 8 million red bricks. The 106 meter high tower is topped with Three Crowns, the historic symbol of Sweden. The building is located on the eastern edge of the island of Kungsholmen... just a stone's throw from Gamla Stan (Old Town) and the central train station. From the Rival Hotel it's a 25 minute walk through Gamla Stan, or else you can take the subway to T-Centralen (all lines).
The fake tomb of Birger Jarl
Located on the eastern side of the building, looking out over the city, is the gold-plate sarcophagus of the founder of Stockholm: Birger Jarl. It is a fake tomb... his remains are actually buried in Varnhem Abbey. Visitors can climb the tower on their own. Because of the limited space, only 30 people are allowed into the tower at a time (in 40 minute intervals). Admission is 40 SEK, free for children under 12 and for holders of the Stockholm Card. To visit the rest of the City Hall, for example to see the Blue and Golden Halls, one needs to take a guided tour. Prices change depending on the season, 40-90 SEK, but children under 12 are free as well as holders of the Stockholm Card. The tour takes approximately 40 minutes... check their website for tour times and languages.
The park/garden in front of city hall

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