Although I’ve visited Stockholm City Hall, Stadhuset many times over the last few years, I came back to Stockholm this time with an unfulfilled goal: to climb the tower. That goal remains unfulfilled. Though I will definitely get to it some time on this trip, today I did took part in a 45-minute tour of the city hall that I thought was very good.
Being in the middle of summer, there were lots and lots of tourists around the city hall. Just how busy is reflected by the fact there hourly tours in English, as well as several tours each day in Chinese, Swedish and German. There were maybe forty or fifty people alone on the tour I took at 2.30pm. Though not as “intimate” as some of the other tours I’ve taken, it was still fine. You just need to always be up the front, able to hear and, when relevant, to ask questions.
And the tour was really interesting. I learned the hall is a wonderful amalgamation of styles, ideas and economic compromises. In the planning stages for a decade, and then under construction for about thirty years, you can see it in the building. Though strictly speaking of one particular style “Swedish National Romanticism”, and made with Swedish materials, there are strong Italian influences in the design of, for example, the large “Blue Room”. As evidence of the evolution of the building, the “Blue Room” which was originally intended to be blue, isn’t actually blue. And as evidence of the economic compromises made along the way, the planned large pipe organ is much smaller (they couldn’t afford the original one until a Swedish benefactor came along); and the magnificent room with gold lead mural wasn’t planned, until a German company came along with a “good deal”.
If you’re planning a visit to Stockholm, it’s definitely worth a look. Cost: 100kr ($16-17 AUD)