Drottningholm in Stockholm – is our own backyard as exciting as foreign sites?

Drottningholm castle

We’ve, so far, described sites in Hanoi, Vietnam, Tanzania and Paris. Sites more or less far away from home, that are easy to see with tourist eyes. Right now I would like to try to describe a site much more close to our home, the castle and park of Drottningholm. It is the home of the Swedish Royal Family and it takes about 15-20 minutes to ride bike there from my home.

The building of Drottningholm started in 1662. Later in burned down and was rebuilt, based on Versailles as inspiration. The castle was was chosen as world heritage site in 1991. And not the castle alone, but also it’s surroundings with garden, the Chinese pavilion and Gustav the III’s theatre, that is still used to this day, often presenting costume plays.

Drottningholm castle

The Drottningholm Palace can be reached on the water

Drottningholm is situated on a island just outside Stockholm, by the lake called Mälaren. Both the castle and the park have been influenced by Versaille in France, but are much smaller. The Royal family used to live in the castle downtown, in the Old Town of Stockholm, and had Drottningholm as it’s summer residence. This Royal family decided to move out to Drottningholm and use it as their permanent home since 1981. The castle downtown is now used for their guests and as overnight place for their children when they were partying.

Stockholm is a city on water, often called the Venice of Scandinavia, so it’s not surprising that this castle is close to the water as well. It’s easy to get here, either by bus or steam boat or even bicycle. The stem boat harbour is just outside the castle, which makes you move back in time to experience ladies and gentlemen slowly walk in the park in their fancy dresses. Or maybe not. To tell the truth, as a student of university of Stockholm, once a year in the spring, we had a cricket competition in the Drottningholm park in evening dresses and smokings.

Drottningholm castle

The palace is guarded to this day. The cannons look nice and protective.

The palace is beautiful yellow and shines in the sun or looks very dramatic on a cloudy day. I can’t decide if it’s best in the spring, summer, autumn or winter. This time we were there in early spring with trees just turning green, beautiful flowers all over the place, green grass and chilly wind still remainding us that there are still few weeks until the summer comes.

Drottningholm flower

Beautiful flower, cowslip, in the spring grass.

The park has beautiful tree alleys, fouintains and nicely cut grass. Part of the park is closed to the public, since the Royal family wants to walk around without anyone bothering. Sometimes you can meet one of the princesses or the king when you least expect it. You never know. It’s not very probable, but it happens.

Inside the palace some parts are open to the public and some are private residence. I’m qute curious about how the private parts look like, but I guess, I’ll never learn. In the public museum part there is richness, beautiful furniture, art, gold and silver. Everything is worth royals and the palace deserves its place on the heritage list. Not the whole palace is open to the public, since it actually is home od the Royal family. Is this the only place on this list where someone actually uses it as home? If it is so, it’s pretty amazing.

Drottningholm China pavilion

The Chinese pavilion

The Chinese pavilion is situated in the park, about five minutes walk from the main castle. it is a smaller building (or several) with architecture that looks chinese. I actually don’t know if it has to do anything with China besides the fact that it was modern by the time when it was built. It looks very nice anyways. Next to  it, in one of its side-buildings, there is a cofee place and has wonderful waffels. Don’t miss them!

Drottningholm waffles

Swedish waffles and coffee.

On the way from the castle, when you almost reach the Chinese pavilion there is a Guard tent. It’s an old building, that looks like a oriental tent made of fabric. Actually it’s made of tin and painted as fabric. I can’t decide is it looks cool or cheap. Its’ purpose was obvious, it was a place for king’s guards. Now, it’ just for tourists.

Drottningholm guard tent

Guard tent

Further in there is a theatre where the Royal enjoyed plays at home. It’s still active. I haven’t been to see a play there, but maybe I will this summer.

There is also a mystery in the park. Few years ago when I was wandering around I found a place with a few graves. They looked like animal graves, where someone burried their dogs or maybe horses. At least that’s what the names sounded like. Where these dogs? Where these horses? Or are there other secrets hiding in the woods? This time we searched a little more into the mystery and found out that these were Royal dogs long ago. They’re hidden in the far end of the park next to an old oak.

Drottningholm pet cementary

Pet cementary

Drottningholm oak

An old oak

Drottningholm park is great for recreation as well. There are many groups playing footboll, “brännboll” (a simplyfied version of baseball) or running around with their dogs. There is even a special island of one of park’s ponds made for dogs, so they can run around as much as they want.

Drottningholm castle and park

Drottningholm Palace in the far end of the park.

If you don’t like running, you can watch the ducks, geese and swans and other birds or have a quiet picknick with strawberries, croissants and champagne.

Drottningholm resting in green grass

Lazy in the par

The Palace of Drottningholm has something for everyone. It’s easy to reach, it’s beautiful and enjoyable, it’s great for recreation, for walking with your dog or having a grill-picknick. Are there any ghosts here? I don’t know. I haven’t heard of any, but it’s an old castle, sp there should be.

Link to the site: Drottningholm.

The grade for this place was difficult. Personally I think it should be four. But maybe it’s because I’ve seen it so many times and it’s no news for me. It is still special.



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