Gripsholm Castle

History

The palace gets its name from one of the personalities of medieval Sweden, Bo Jonsson Grip, by whom the first Castle was built in the second half of the 14th century.

Towards the end of the Middle Ages, the Castle was donated to a Cartesian Monastery founded in Pax Marie - the Latin name for Mariefred.

The monastery was sequestrated by the State at the Re-formation, and the Castle began to be built in 1537 under the direction of the master-builder Henrik von Köllen.

Gustav Vasa

This was Gustav Vasa's project, as part of a new system of national defences. The Castle was also intended as a fitting residence for a Renaissance ruler – Gustav Vasa.

The large Hall of State with its painted roof and its full-length portraits of Gustav Vasa and contemporary crowned heads of Europe conveys, although many times restored, a good picture of the original Gripsholm scene.

16th and 17th century

The most famous of the 16th century apartments is Duke Karl's Chamber, which is one of the best-preserved interiors of the period anywhere in Sweden.

During the 17th century (known in Sweden as the "Great Power Period"), Gripsholm was used as a dower (widow's property for life) by Queens Maria Eleonora (widow of Gustav II Adolf) and Hedvig Eleonora (widow of Karl X).

Hedvig Eleonora made considerable changes and additions, among them the Queen's Wing.

Gustav III

The reign of Gustav III in the late 18th century marked a new period of brilliance in the Castle's history. It was at this time that the exquisite theatre was fitted out in one of the round Renaissance towers of the Castle.

This is one of the best-preserved 18th century theatres in Europe.

The same period also produced Gustav III's Round Drawing Room, a counterpart to Gustav Vasa's Hall of State. In the Round Drawing Room the visitor can see portraits of Gustav III and his royal contemporaries.

National monument

During the 19th century, Gripsholm evoked strong national sentiments and the Castle came to be regarded as a national monument.

Furniture and art objects of great historic importance were transferred from the various royal residences to Gripsholm to reinforce its national character.

A much debated restoration of the Castle took place at the end of the 19th century. Critics described it as an attempt to make the Castle even older than it was.

Gripsholm today is a sampler of Swedish interior design from the 16th to the late 19th century, a unique collection of furniture and decorative arts from 400 years.

Copperplate engraving of Gripsholm Castle by the draftsman Erik Dahlbergh, from the folio Suecia antiqua et hodierna. Photo: The Royal Library

Duke Karl's Chamber. The room was decorated in the 1570s as a bed chamber for Duke Karl (IX), and remains almost untouched since his time with its carved, ornately painted wooden panelling, plastered surfaces with painted floral garlands, built-in bed and benches affixed to the wall. Photo: Kate Gabor/Royalpalaces.se

The Audience Chamber. The appearance of the room dates from just before 1850, during the time of King Oskar I, when Gripsholm Castle was first decorated in historical style. The portraits in the room depict a series of Swedish monarchs, from King Gustav Vasa to King Oskar I. Photo: Sanna Argus Tirén/Royalpalaces.se

The Green Salon. The room was decorated in around 1780 for Queen Sofia Magdalena, when her entire four-room apartment was prepared at Gripsholm Castle. This proved a popular room for the royal court – people came here to converse, read aloud, sew and embroider. Photo: Sven Nilsson

The Westphalian Gallery. The room is named after the 70 or so portraits of delegates who participated in peace negotiations in the 1640s. The negotiations resulted in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, bringing thirty years of war to an end. Photo: Lisa Raihle Rehbäck/Royalpalaces.se

Visit us

You can walk around Gripsholm Castle yourself, but taking a guided tour can make your visit extra special.

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Dungeons, armouries, canons, a stuffed lion. Hundreds of portraits, following you with their eyes down the winding corridors... bring you...

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Discover more at Gripsholm Castle

Gripsholm Castle boasts a unique collection of furniture and artwork spanning four centuries. Built in the 1500s it was part of a new sys...

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Gripsholm Castle is home to the world's oldest national portrait gallery. This is also one of the world's largest portrait galleries, and...

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Welcome to a boutique that is something out of the ordinary. The Royal Gift Shop is a unique present and souvenir shop offering products ...

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A wander through the leafy castle park is like taking a walk through history. There have been many gardens over the ages here, and apples...

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Since the 1600s the deer field has been a pasture land belonging to the Gripsholm Royal Farm. Today it is a nature reservation with hundr...

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The palace gets its name from one of the personalities of medieval Sweden, Bo Jonsson Grip, by whom the first Castle was built in the sec...

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Articles and movies

Leo is unlike any other lion in the world. In its glass box in the Upper Armoury, Gripsholm’s very own lion is perhaps more comical than ...

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FAQ

  • Can I take a pushchair into the royal palaces?

    Pushchairs are not permitted indoors.

  • Are there any pushchair parkings at the royal palaces?

    The Royal Palace of Stockholm: At the entrance to the Reception Rooms, in the Outer Courtyard there is a limited amount of space for pushchairs. Under cover, but unmonitored and no locking facility.

    Riddarholm Church: At the entrance to Riddarholm Church. Under cover, but unmonitored and no locking facility.

    Drottningholm Palace: Outside the entrance. Under cover, but unmonitored and no locking facility.

    Other visitor attractions: No pushchair parking.

  • Which royal visitor attractions can I explore at my own pace?

    The Royal Palace of Stockholm, Riddarholm Church, Drottningholm Palace, the Chinese Pavilion, Gripsholm Castle, Strömsholm Palace and the Orangery at Ulriksdal can be explored at your own pace.

    The other palaces are by guided tour.

  • Is it possible to hire rooms at the royal palaces for dinner functions/events?

    Strömsholm Palace: The dining room in the Stone Kitchen can be hired for dinner functions.

    The other palaces: Room hire is not possible.

  • Are audio guides available for the royal palaces?

    The Royal Palace of Stockholm: An audio guide in Swedish and English is available for the Bernadotte Apartments and Gustav III’s Museum of Antiquities.

    The Chinese Pavilion: An audio guide is available in Swedish and English

    Audio guides are not available at present for the other palaces.

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