Often referred to as Sweden’s “mini Versailles”, the island palace of Drottningholm with its exquisite gardens and historic theatre is not to be missed when visiting Stockholm. If you’re looking for a royal treat. Visit Drottningholm Palace in Stockholm.
The most popular place to visit in Stockholm’s archipelago is Drottningholm Palace. Now the main home of the Swedish royal family, the 17th-century palace is a Unesco World Heritage site, surrounded by formal Baroque and Rococo gardens of fountains, statues, flowerbeds and a variety of trees.
A Royal Treat: Drottningholm Palace in Stockholm
The palace was built for Eleonora, the widow of King Karl X, by the Tessin family of architects headed by Nicodemus, the Elder (1615-81). Work began in 1662 and was completed by his son, Nicodemus the Younger.
Related: The Stockholm Archipelago
Open to the public
Although the royal family live at Drottningholm, much of the palace is open to the public. Interior highlights include a magnificent Grand Staircase with trompe l’oeil paintings by Johan Sylvius, the Baroque Karl X Gallery, Queen Hedwig Eleonora’s State Bedroom with its painted ceiling, and the library of Queen Ulrika, who married King Adolf Fredrik in 1744.
Visit the Chinese Pavilion
In the parkland stands the exotic pagoda roofs and ornamental balconies of the Kina Slott (Chinese Pavilion), a birthday present to Queen Louisa Ulrika from her husband. In one of four adjoining pavilions the king had his carpentry workshop.
In Kanton, a small village built next to Kina Slott, silkworms that had been introduced perished in the freezing winter, thwarting the court’s attempt to produce cheap silk.
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Drottningholm Court Theatre
The islands greenest treasure is undoubtedly the 18th-century Drottningholms Slottsteater (Court Theatre). The theatre was designed for Queen Louise Ulrika by Carl Fredrik Adelcrantz and opened in 1766. The queen’s soon Gustav III, was an actor and playwright who became knowns as the “Theatre King”. He invited French troupes of actors to perform at Drottningholm, and the theatre soon became an influential center for performing arts. Gustav went on to found Stockholm’s Dramatic Theatre and developed a native theatre and opera.
The building fell into disrepair in the 19th century, then in the early 20th century it underwent extensive restoration. Today, it is the oldest theatre in the world still using its original backdrops and stage machinery for productions. In summer, the annual opera festival stages works from the time of the theatre’s glory days, with the music performed on period instruments – attending one of these performances is a magic experience.
A Royal Treat: Drottningholm Palace in Stockholm, written by Tor Kjolberg