AUG 04,2018 - AUG 04,2018 (1 DAYS)
Duration: 1/2 - 3/4 day. Weather: Sunny or cloudy days but without rain or wind. Half of the visit in Drottningholm Palace is devoted to its open grounds.
Introduction: Drottningholm Palace is on the island of Lovön near Stockholm. Drottningholm Palace is the permanent residence of the Swedish royal family. It is Sweden's best-preserved royal palace. The palace has been the permanent residence of the present royal family since 1981. It was constructed in the seventeenth century according to a French prototype by the architect Nicodemus Tessin the Elder, by commission of Queen Hedvig Eleonora. The palace and its surroundings are exceptionally well-preserved. The palace features magnificent salons from the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a unique palace theater, a Chinese Pavilion and a beautiful park. The imposing Baroque garden was laid out beginning in 1681 according to drawings by Nicodemus Tessin the Younger. The palace and the park are mostly open to visitors year round. In 1991 Drottningholm was the first Swedish attraction put on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites.
Transportation from Stockholm to Drottningholm Palace: We took the 10.00 boat from Klara Mälarstrand pier #5 (350 m. south to central station, T-Centralen). From 10.00 there is a boat every 1/2 hour. Back every ½ hour the last ones are: 17.00 and 20.30. Every direction takes one hour. Not much to see during the cruise. No discounts or concessions. Adult bi-directional ticket is 220 SEK. Including theatre and Chinese pavilion – 470 SEK. With Palace only: 330 SEK. The sights of the Palace - while approaching it - are wonderful:
The Palace has is guarded by the Swedish Military in the same fashion as Stockholm Palace:
The palace and its grounds have seen many renovations, changes and additions over the past 400 years. The largest renovation, in which electricity, heating, sewage, water lines were either installed or updated and the castle roof replaced, took place between 1907 and 1913. During a 20-year-period beginning around 1977, several major areas of the palace were restored and rebuilt. The library and national hall received much of the attention and fire protection was installed throughout the palace. In 1997, work began to clean and rebuild the exterior walls. This was completed in 2002.
The gardens and park areas surrounding the castle and its buildings are one of the main attractions for the tourists that visit the palace each year.The gardens have been established in stages since the castle was built, resulting in different styles of parks and gardens.
The Entrance to the Baroque Garden:
The Baroque garden: The oldest part of the gardens was created at the end of the 17th century under the direction of Hedwig Eleonora. The father and son Tessin led the project that created a Baroque garden right outside the main palace, flanked by thick tree avenues.
The many statues scattered throughout this area were created by the artist Adrian de Vries;
the Swedish army took them as spoils of war from the Wallenstein Palace in Prague, while the two marble lions at the main gate of the palace were transported from the Ujazdów Castle in Warsaw. The Baroque garden was neglected along with the rest of the grounds during the 19th century, but was restored in the 1950s and 1960s on the initiative of King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden.
Also included in the Drottningholm Palace grounds is a small village called Kanton or Canton:
From Kanton Village it is 300 m. m. walk (to the north-east) to the Chinese Pavilion. No problem, there is a godd signage around to show you the directions. The Chinese Pavilion: The Chinese Pavilion (Kina slott), located in the grounds of the Drottningholm Palace park, is a Chinese-inspired royal pavilion originally built between 1753–1769. The first building was a simple pavilion with two wings in Chinese style. The buildings were prefabricated at Arsenalsgatan in Stockholm. They were made in the log cabin technique and shipped to Drottningholm where they were assembled. The architects were probably Carl Hårleman and Carl Johan Cronstedt. Everything was finished and in place in time for Queen Lovisa Ulrika's birthday on 24 July 1753. The pavilion was a surprise gift to the Queen from King Adolf Frederick. At the presentation, she received the gold key to the castle from the young Crown Prince Gustav (later King Gustav III), seven years old, dressed as a Chinese mandarin. The second and current structure replaced the old wooden pavilion from 1753. Designed by Carl Fredrik Adelcrantz, construction began in 1763 and was completed in 1769. The wings are connected to the main building by a series of curved rooms. Lacquer-red walls used for the facade and the sculptural ornamentation show good knowledge of Chinese buildings, but the structure of the building is characterized as clearly European. The Pavilion underwent exterior renovations in 1927–1928, 1943–1955. Another thorough restoration of the exterior was made in 1989–1996. On the right side of the path leading to the Chinese pavilion there is a clean, well-kept WC in a wooden green hut (10 SEK) (open everyday: 11.00-17.00).
There are four houses, also in Chinese style, just north of the pavilion. The east one, northeast of the pavilion, is called The Billiard. It used to house a billiard table which is now gone. Instead, two of King Adolf Fredericks lathes are on display together with tools from the lathe chamber. The house to the west, northwest of the pavilion, is known as The Silver Chamber.
A bit further north, resting on a high base, is the Adolf Frederick's Studio (to the right) and the Confidance (to the left). The Confidance is a dining room building.
The interior is among the foremost in Swedish rococo design. The rooms of the Pavilion are full of luxury items brought to Sweden from China by the Swedish East India Company. China had become a mythic land, a paradise, a fascination, to Swedes and every nobleman wanted to have a Chinese room or just some objects to get a glimpse of this fabled, but to Europeans, forbidden land.
The walls in the Yellow Room are covered with Chinese lacquered panels, at the time a fascinating technique since no parallel craft existed in Europe. The panels depict relations between Asia and Europe in the 1700s. The motifs are scenes from Canton (now known as Guangzhou) by the Pearl River and the European Thirteen Factories separated from the city by double walls:
Facing the Yellow Room - To the left is the Embroidered Room, named after its embroidered wall panels. To the right is the Green Gallery. In the Red Room visitors can see paradise-like depictions of Chinese life:
North of The Confidance is the old kitchen. As of 1957 it houses a café in the summers:
In the park east of the Chinese Pavilion is a pagoda-like gazebo called The Volière (aviary in French):
From the Chinese pavilion we continue further north-east to the Drottningholms Slottsteater (the Drottningholm Palace Theater). It is the best preserved eighteenth-century theater in Europe and the only one in the world that still uses the original stage machinery on a regular basis. Drottningholm Palace Theatre was built in 1766 for Queen Lovisa Ulrika by the German master builder, Georg Greggenhofer (1718 or 1719-1779). In 1921, Swedish theatre historian Agne Beijer rediscovered Drottningholm Theatre and, with royal permission, preserved what was left of the theatre’s interior and stage machinery. Some small changes were made, but most of the theatre, however, was unchanged from the original design, and much of the stucco work and original wallpaper remains today. Nowadays, the theatre has acquired a growing international reputation as a summer opera festival theatre by focusing on works by Haydn, Handel, Gluck and Mozart and emphasis on authentic performance. The theatre has also had guest performances by the Royal Swedish Opera. The operas are often performed by musicians wearing period costume, and the orchestra performs using period or copies of authentic instruments. Most productions demonstrate some of the possible stage effects using the original equipment. The theatre remains a place to train musicians, dancers, and opera singers in Baroque style. The Slottsteater has guided tours and performances, mostly, during the summer. Guided tours are regularly in English and Swedish; tours in French and German daily in high season. March: Saturdays and Sundays 12-15.30, April: daily 12-15.30, May-September: daily 11-16.30, October: daily 12-15.30, November: Saturdays and Sundays 12-15.30, Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 December: guided tours in English at 12, 13, 14 and 15, and in Swedish at 12.30 and 14.30. Prices: Adults SEK 100, Students SEK 70, Senior citizens SEK 80, Children up to 18 years accompanied by parents FREE:
From the theatre we returned 120 m. south to the northern entrance to Drottningholm Palace itself. The place overlooks, in its northern facade, a nice pond or lake:
The Central Staircase is magnificent, something to behold:
The palace is NOT busy and NOT packed with tourists. We advice you to take a leisurely walk through this treasure and you will not be disappointed. There are numerous rooms to see extending along 2 floors:
The Lower North Guards Room:
The Green Salon begins the main apartment's suite of state rooms, and offers a taste of the reception rooms that follow. The Green Drawing Room:
The Baroque Garden Pond from the Palace 2nd floor:
The Baroque Garden from 2nd floor of the Palace:
The Ehrenstrahl Salon was previously known as the Large Audience Room and is situated right next to Hedvig Eleonora’s State Bedchamber. It takes its name from the artist David Ehrenstrahl, who painted six large murals for the room which depict important events in the history of the royal family. More of his work also adorns the ceiling in the room:
Hedvig Eleonora’s State Bedchamber is located on the first floor of the palace and formed the main room of the State Rooms at the time. Despite its name, Hedvig Eleonora never actually used the room, instead, living in more private rooms in the southern wing of the palace:
Hedvig Elizabet Charlotte (born 1775):
The Palace Library is found in the northern wing of the palace, overlooking the gardens. Originally a picture gallery, it was converted to a library by Queen Hedvig Eleonora in 1760, to house her extensive collection of books:
The Stairwell, leading from the 1st floor to the 2nd floor is even MORE MAGNIFICENT and breathtaking:
Karl X Gustaf Bust:
The Chinese Drawing Room:
Hall of Generals:
Karl IX Gallery:
View of Gardens lake from Karl IX Gallery:
Gobelins near the Karl IX Gallery:
The Stone Hall was originally Hedvig Eleonora’s dining room and takes its name from the stone floor. Today, it is part of the Royal Family’s private apartments and has occasionally been seen in personal photos released by the royal family for Christmas and birthday celebrations:
We hurried to the boat in the lake which leaves the Palace every 1/2 hour during the summer:
The main reason for hurrying up was the Pride parade taking place during the afternoon hours of 4/8/2018 in Stockholm main thoroughfares (see our blog on Stockholm Euro Pride Parade).