Stockholm and Uppsala
Stockholm has been the CAPITAL of sweden since the 15th century, and the scene of many main events in the country's history.
The city is located on the east coast of Sweden and built upon several islands. It is connected to the Baltic Sea by the archipelago on one side, and to the great lake of Mälaren on the other. It is inhabited by approximately 1.5 million people. Stockholm is the location on many fine museums like Nationalmuseum, the Royal Armoury and the Hallwyl Museum, and has a great array of palaces and castles connected to the monarchy. There are also lots of art galleries, such as the Thiel Gallery and Waldemarsudde.
Uppsala is located about 40–60 minutes by train north of Stockholm and is one of Sweden’s oldest cities, with parts dating back to the Viking era. Although it is much smaller than Stockholm (around 150,000 inhabitants), it is of great interest for scholars interested in court history due to its historic importance. It has one of Sweden’s oldest universities, a castle from the 17th century, and a Gothic cathedral where the coronations of Swedish monarchs were held for a long time.
Museums, art galleries, castles and palaces
Stockholm and Uppsala both have a spectacular array of museums and galleries, most of which are located within a relatively close distance from one another, which makes it possible to visit more than a couple in a day. Most have their own cafés or restaurants, usually of rather good quality.
The Royal Armoury is a must for the court historian in Stockholm and is located inside the Royal Castle in Stockholm. It has a very fine collection of clothing, royal carriages, weapons, flags, and all things connected to the royal court. There are also art collections, seminars and historic balls, including the 2017 ball, which will have an 18th-century masquerade theme.
Nationalmuseum is the national museum of art, located in central Stockholm. It has an outstanding collection of both sculptures and paintings, an art library and an archive open to scholars and students.
The Hallwyl Museum is the former palace and home of the Hallwyl family who were a part of the absolute elite in Stockholm in the 19th and early 20th centuries. When the palace was completed in 1898, it had a combination of traditional aesthetics and – for that time – top modern appliances including central heating, taps with hot and cold water, and electric lighting in all rooms.
Armémuseum is a museum focused on the military history of Sweden. It has a remarkable collection of all things army-related, like weapons, uniforms and flags, as well as a very fine collection of war trophies from mainly the 17th and 18th centuries.
The great cathedral, which is the burial place for many Swedish monarchs, and the Treasury in Uppsala are located close to the university in the centre of the city. The Treasury is a collection of liturgical and royal relics, many of which are from the 16th century. One of the treasures on display is the the medieval golden gown of Queen Margaretha, the only one surviving of its kind, as well as the so-called Sture Clothes from the 16th century.
Skokloster’s castle was built during the 17th century, and is located between Uppsala and Stockholm. The interior of the castle reflects much about the various owners and their respective periods of time, and big parts of their collections date to the 16th-century remains in the castle. It can be reached from both Stockholm and Uppsala by boat, train, or bus.
There are several different palaces and castles connected to the royal court in and around Stockholm. The Royal Palace, dating from the early 18th century, lies in central Stockholm and gives guided tours around the premises and is also the location for the Royal Treasury. The other castles and palaces can be visited using the commuter system. Here is a list of where you can find them and what you can see at the various ones:
The Vasa museum is located in central Stockholm and contains one of the only 17th-century ships to have been recovered and preserved, and an array of objects that were found on board when it sunk.
In Stockholm, one can visit the Royal Library, while in Uppsala, the library main building is called Carolina Rediviva, and is located close to the university. Both libraries have vast collections of books, manuscripts and papers. The rules for using their services as a student or a scholar can be found on their respective web pages, but visits are free and open for all.
Restaurants and cafés
A Swedish culinary experience is having a so-called ‘fika’, which means taking a short (or long) break and having a small bite to eat and drink. Both cities have many small cafés that serve tea or coffee together with cakes, pastries, and small sandwiches.
Rosendals trädgårdscafé (‘Garden Café of Rosendal’) is a wonderful café that also serves some food. It takes a bit of a walk or a tram ride to get there, but it is worth the trouble, especially during the summer months, since the café is located inside a huge garden. The baked goods are made from whatever grows in the garden and everything is organic.
One of Uppsala’s great cafés is Güntherska hovkonditoriet, which is located along the river and has a great assortment of baked goods and drinks. The café is also mentioned in the White Guide.
Additional good cafés and restaurant include:
- Farang (delicious Asian food)
- StikkiNikki (amazing ice cream in lots of flavours)
- Crêperie Lemoni (serves crêpes, both savoury and sweet, in Uppsala)
- Pharmarium (a cocktail bar located in the former premises of Stockholm’s oldest pharmacy)
- Hambergs (fish restaurant in Uppsala, has earned stars in the White Guide)
Both cities have a large number of hotels and hostels, and a quick Google search gives you several booking sites that will help you find a good one.
Scandic Hotels has hotels for reasonable prices in both cities. https://www.scandichotels.se/
For longer stays as a scholar or student in either city, contacting the respective student organisations is a good way to find somewhere to stay.
Other things to see and do
The Royal Opera house was constructed during the late 18th century as an effort to create a national scene for opera and ballet by the King Gustavius III, who was later murdered at the very same location. It is placed in central Stockholm and puts on various operas and ballets.
DigitaltMuseum is a database for Norwegian and Swedish museum collections. Many of the collections from the museums listed above can be found here, and for scholars it is an excellent way to get information and see objects otherwise stored in museum storages.
Both cities have a lot of small churches with interior decorations and sculptures from various epochs, and are usually open to visitors. Some examples are the church of St. Jacob in central Stockholm, and Helga Trefaldighets kyrka (‘Holy Trinity Church’) next to the grand cathedral in Uppsala.
The auction house Bukowskis
Old Touch (vintage clothing, accessories, and home decorations)
Friends of Handicraft (one of the oldest textile institutions in Sweden, that gives courses in needlecraft and weaving)
Ruth & Raoul (vintage clothing shop in Uppsala)
Siden Carlson (exclusive fabrics, laces, and haberdashery)
This guide was kindly put together by Julia Holm - to whom we are very grateful!
A little bit about Julia... she completed her masters degree in Textile Studies at Uppsala University where her thesis focussed on the wardrobe of Queen Christina of Sweden and the various ways that she used clothes and fashion to manifest her power. She is currently working on a chapter discussing Christina's sartorial politics for Erin's edited collection, Fashioning Women at the Early Modern Court, 1400-1700, under contract with Amsterdam University Press and due out in early 2018.