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Pleasant and hip Stockholm

A Stockholm city break certainly won’t disappoint as the city has lots to offer when it comes to culture, architecture, relaxation and entertainment! The editors at CityZapper selected the best tips for Stockholm and wrote this online city guide for you. This way you can be sure that you’ll get to see and experience the best and most unique sights the Swedish capital has to offer.

At the very heart of Stockholm, you’ll find Gamla Stan which is the city’s old town centre. Its quaint streets and fun shops make it a joy to visit. In this part of the city you’ll also find most of Stockholm’s sights such as Sweden’s Parliament House (Riksdagshuset) and the Royal Palace. In southern Stockholm you’ll find the multicultural borough of Skärholmen which boasts one of the biggest shopping centres in Sweden. The well-known Hässelby Slott (Hässelby Castle) can be found in the northern borough of Hässelby-Vällingby.

Besides stunning architecture, Stockholm also has many museums which are all worth visiting. The National Museum is definitely one of them! Built in Venetian and Florentine style, the museum houses numerous beautiful works of art dating from the 15th to the 20th century. Stockholm’s many parks are ideal if it’s rest and relaxation that you’re after. Why not enjoy a picnic in the city’s oldest park, Kungsträdgården, which is also known as Stockholm’s outdoor living room? In summer, the park is the setting for various festivals offering dance performances, theatre, concerts and much more! In winter, do as the locals do and go ice-skating around the park’s ice-skating rink in the middle of the city.

In short: Stockholm has it all for those looking for a weekend break!

History

The earliest written mention of the name ‘Stockholm’ dates from 1252. It is however assumed that the first settlements here were built around the year 1000. Stockholm's name derives from the words ‘stock’ (log) and ‘holm’ (isle). One myth tells the story of the people of the village of Birka who were searching for a new place to settle. They let fate decide for them as they threw a log of wood filled with gold into the water. The log of wood drifted ashore on an island which then became their new home.

A more accepted explanation focuses on the strategic position of the city. Stockholm is situated along a historically important trade route for ships. The logs of wood probably refer to the tree trunks the inhabitants of Stockholm placed in the water to keep enemy ships at bay and to force other ships to pay a toll fee.

As Sweden gained its independence in 1523, the city of Stockholm had a population of barely 10.000. However, since it was more populous than most other Swedish cities, Stockholm became the first and the only capital of Sweden.

The 17th century saw Sweden win important wars against Denmark-Norway, Russia and Poland. The country became a superpower in spite of the fact that it had less than a million people within its borders. Stockholm had started to prosper both economically and culturally. 

Despite all this, the Swedish Empire and the great power era came to an end in the 18th century. The development of Stockholm also came to a standstill. It wasn’t until the second half of the 19th century that the Swedish capital was given new impulses by means of the industrial revolution. In 1897 this culminated in the world fair being held in Stockholm.

In the 20th century, Swedish industries developed from labor intensive to technologically advanced. The city that has been home to the annual Nobel Prize ceremony since 1901 has become the Swedish centre of design, technology and trade. It has also become a very multicultural city due to the large influx of immigrants. Stockholm now has 1.9 million inhabitants and continues to grow.