Strömsholm Castle is a royal castle near Västerås. The beautiful castle was once built by Hedvig Eleonora, on the site of a former Vasa castle. Today, many people associate the castle with horses and equestrian sports.
Strömsholm Castle is one of the eleven royal castles in Sweden. The castle can also be said to be the castle of queens and horses. Queens Hedvig Eleonora, Ulrika Eleonora the Younger and Sofia Magdalena have all had a hand in it. For hundreds of years, it has also been a place for breeding, riding and competing with horses.
Strömsholm Castle is located in the municipality of Halstahammar, in Västmanland. The castle is about 14 kilometres west of Stockholm.
A story about queens and horses
In the mid-16th century, Gustav Vasa built a castle in the middle of the rushing Kålbäck river. The site has been royal property ever since. At the end of the 1660s Hedvig Eleonora demolish large parts of the old Vasa Castle, and build the castle you can see today.
Strömsholm is a beautiful castle framed by magnificent towers. Hedvig Eleonora also built a beautiful baroque park and a large number of smaller buildings in the grounds of the castle. The interior was first decorated in the 1730s, under the direction of Ulrika Eleonora the younger.
When the heir to the Swedish throne, Gustav (III), married the princess Sofia Magdalena of Denmark in 1766, the Riksdag gave her Strömsholm Castle as a wedding gift. Not a bad present, one might say!
Many people probably also associate Strömsholm with horses. Already in Gustav Vasa's time there was a stud farm here, and between 1868 and 1968 it was the site of the army's riding school. Today there is a riding school here and various vocational programmes, such as riding instructor and farrier. In addition, major horse competitions are often organised here.
Visiting Strömsholm Castle
We drove to Strömsholm Castle by motorhome, and parked in one of the designated (somewhat muddy) car parks.
All the royal castles are currently closed due to the pandemic, which of course was also the case with Strömsholm Castle. Right now we could only enjoy admiring the exterior of the castle and strolling in the castle park.
Under normal circumstances, guided tours of the palace halls are organised, at least during the summer months. The interiors are mainly characterised by the Gustavian style, created for Gustav III's wife, Queen Sofia Magdalena.
For example, you can see the Queen's bedchamber and the Chinese dining room. At the top of the castle you can also see a chapel, which was decorated in the 1730s, commissioned by Ulrika Eleonora the younger. Of course, we couldn't see any of this right now, but here are two of the castle's press photos.
Castle café in the Stone Kitchen
In the castle park, right next to the castle, is the so-called "Stone Kitchen". The house was built in 1731 as a kitchen for the castle, replacing an earlier kitchen building from 1652. Due to the high risk of fire, at this time it was always desired that the kitchen be in a separate house, located a short distance from the castle.
Today the building is used as a castle café. The café was unfortunately not open when we were here, but when it is open you can apparently buy sandwiches, pastries and waffles here.
The castle garden
The various queens who have lived at the castle over the years have all contributed to shaping the castle garden into what it is today, with its avenues and plantings. The garden is also characterised by all the horse activities. In one part of the garden we, and some other tourists, walked around. In another part there was a riding school going on.
In one part of the palace gardens there is a sign about the 'Queen's Oak', and now it's about another queen. According to one story, the widowed queen used to Katarina Stenbock sit on a stone bench under the oak tree. The oak tree collapsed in 2006, and now only the edge of it remains, as well as a new small oak tree planted on the site.
Strömsholm Nature Reserve
The nature around Strömsholm is protected as a nature reserve. There are very old (and large!) oak trees and the area is also home to over 170 different types of plants and animals that are threatened or disadvantaged. There are also many roads and trails to hike on.
More to see and do in the vicinity of Strömsholm Castle
There is of course much more to see and experience in the neighbourhood of Strömsholm Castle. Strolling around the Old Town in Västerås is cosy. It is also nice to walk along the Mälarpromenade or visit Djäkneberget in Västerås. In addition, you can visit Tidö Castle with its bicycle and motorcycle museum, Vallby open-air museum or Anundshög with all its ancient remains.
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Have you visited Strömsholm Castle?
Have you visited Strömsholm Castle, or perhaps another attraction nearby? Please tell us about your experiences!
Facts about Strömsholm Castle
- Country: Sweden
- Landscape: Västmanland
- Municipality: Hallstahammar
- Completion: 1681
- Developer: Hedvig Eleonora
- Architect: Nicodemus Tessin the elder
- Owners: States
- Read more: You can find more information at the castle's website
Services and practical information
- Opening hours: Strömsholm Castle is currently (April 2021) closed due to the pandemic. Tours of the castle's halls are usually given during the summer. See the castle's website for updated information.
- Food service: The castle café offers sandwiches and pastries.
- Toilets: Available in the castle and at the castle café.
- Parking: Free car parks are available.
- Rules: Larger bags must be left at reception during visits to the castle. The sound on your mobile phone must be turned off. Photography and filming inside the castle is allowed for private use, but without flash, tripod and selfie stick.
Tours and activities
- Views: When the castle is open, there are guided tours at 11 am and 1 pm (2021). A ticket for the tour is purchased at the ticket office and costs SEK 30 in addition to the regular entrance ticket (2021). The tour is free for children under the age of 18.
- Guided tours for groups: Tours for larger groups should be pre-booked.
- Themed displays and presentations: Various themed tours, park tours and lectures can be organised throughout the year. See the castle's calendar.
- Accessibility in the castle: There are no lifts or ramps. There are stairs to the entrance and between floors, and low thresholds on the floors.
- Accessibility in the Stone Kitchen: The stone kitchen is accessible to people with disabilities.
- Companion/assistant: Companions/assistants have free entry.
- Assistance dog: Assistance/guide dogs are welcome.
- Toilets: There is an accessible toilet for people with disabilities in the Stone Kitchen.
- Parking: Accessible parking for people with disabilities is available at Stenköket.
Finding Strömsholm Castle
- Address: Slottsvägen 32, Strömsholm
- Municipal: Take a train to Kolbäck railway station and then a bus to Strömsholm or a train to Västerås and then a bus to Kolbäck.
- By car: Take the E18 to Västerås and then exit 252 towards Strömsholm, or the E20 towards Eskilstuna, exit 56 towards Västerås and then road 252 towards Strömsholm.
History at Strömsholm Castle
- 16th century: Gustav Vasa built a castle on an island in the middle of the rushing Kolbäck river. The site has been royal property ever since.
- 1660s: The old Vasa Castle was largely demolished and a new castle was built on the initiative of Hedvig Eleonora.
- 1730s: The palace was remodelled under Ulrika Eleonora the Younger.
- 1741: The palace chapel was designed by the architect Carl Hårleman.
- 1743: The organ was built by organ builder Daniel Stråhle.
- 1766: The heir to the Swedish throne, Gustav (III), married Princess Sofia Magdalena of Denmark, and the Riksdag presented her with Strömsholm Castle as a wedding gift.
- 1868-1968: The army riding school was located at Strömsholm Castle.
- Present tense: The castle is home to a college and high school specialising in equestrian sports. Every year, major horse competitions are held here.