Drottningholm Palace

Drottningholm Palace


Location: Drottningholm Map

Constructed: started in the late 16th century

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Description of Drottningholm Palace

Drottningholm Palace is a royal residence constructed on the island Lovön in Drottningholm town in Sweden.  Drottningholm Palace is on UNESCO World Heritage list due to its historical importance. Its construction started in the late 16th century under supervision of architect Nicodemus Tessin the Elder by commission of Queen Hedvig Eleonora. Behind Drottningholm Palace is the Court Theatre. It is one of the oldest theatres in the World. It was found in 1766 by the orders of Queen Lovisa Ulrika and constructed under supervision of  court architect K.F. Adelkrants. Drottnigholm Palace is surrounded by a lush park decorated by beautiful pavilions and mazes in traditional English landscaping. In 1991 Drottningholm Palace along with surrounding complex was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site.


The settlement has its origins in the village of Glia, mentioned for the first time in document 1342. During the siege of Stockholm in 1521, Gustav Vasa built a fortified camp at Glia. to a royal farm, Glia farm . From 1559 the royal estate instead goes by the name Torvesund.

Here Gustav Vasa's second son Johan III started erecting a castle named Drottningholm in the beginning of 1579, according to his queen. As an architect, the artist and architect Willem Boy was hired . Shortly after the construction started, the plague broke out in Stockholm and the construction was delayed. The Queen was Catholic and Drottningholm came to play a special role as a refuge for the last Catholics, who were persecuted in other parts of the kingdom.

When Katarina Jagellonica died in 1583, the castle building was not yet completed. Johan III stayed after his wife's death only on a few occasions at Drottningholm, the last time being the summer of 1592. The castle was owned from 1603 by Queen Katarina (Stenbock) and after her death came several owners like the queens Kristina and Maria Eleonora.

Around 1650 Magnus Gabriel De la Gardie took over Drottningholm, he became interested in the building and its maintenance. He also began a restoration work under the direction of architect Jean de la Vallée .

When Hedvig Eleonora acquired the castle in 1661, it was a two-storey stone house with a tower consisting of over 20 rooms in the lower floor and about 10 rooms in the upper floor. In addition, there was a chapel and a large hall with 36 windows.

1600s and 1700s
The 16th century castle burned down on December 30, 1661, the same year that Hedvig Eleonora had bought it. After the devastating fire, architect Nicodemus Tessin d.a. commissioned to erect a new castle building based on the preserved walls and basement arches of Johan III's castle. As early as the spring of 1662, a completed drawing proposal was approved by the Queen. This plan over the plant followed the modern construction of a castle called Entre cour et jardin , which means that the castle faces a representative façade against a courtyard in front of the castle and behind the castle a garden spreads out.

While the main building was completed, Tessin continued. with the design of the entire plant. Construction work progressed fairly quickly because the workforce was large. In addition to the professionals there were also specially arrived soldiers. In total, there could be 400 people working at the same time with the castle building.

In mid-1664 the main building was completed and the following year the roof was laid. The building complex is about 160 meters long (including the corner towers) and about 50 meters wide. The facade color was not the same as today, but the walls were painted with red paint, while the ceiling strip and the joinery were painted with gray oil. Over the middle part of the castle was placed a tower adorned with a crown, which is still visible on Wilhelm Swede's copper engraving from 1692, however, the tower was taken down as early as 1686. Today there is only a small copper-clad tower with flagpole. Those of Tessin planned wing buildings to the east, on both sides of the harbor were never executed, nor the balcony facing the garden.

Until 1680, Tessin was d. Responsible architect. After his death, the mission went to his son Nicodemus Tessin, then everything was ready except the northern dome and adjoining lots. The interior work had also begun. Drottningholm Castle became Tessin greatest work.