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Riddarhuset in Stockholm - interesting to visit

The Riddarhuset in Stockholm is open to visitors for an hour every weekday, and a visit here is really interesting. Here you can see the Knight's Hall with over 2000 copper armour plates.

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Riddarhuset in Stockholm

Riddarhuset in Stockholm, or Riddarhuspalatset as it is also called, is owned and managed by the Knighthood and the nobility, which is a so-called "corporation". There is a genealogical department that works with the pedigrees of the nobility, publishes the Adelskalendern and awards scholarships. Once a day, on weekdays, they welcome visitors to the palace.

Riddarhuset i Stockholm

The Riddarhuset is located in Stockholm's Old Town, right next to the Bondeska Palace and not far from the Riddarholm Church.

One palace - four architects

The Riddarhuset in Stockholm was built between 1641 and 1674. The first architect was the Frenchman Simon de la Vallée, who planned a mighty Renaissance palace. Unfortunately, construction only started before he was struck down in Stortorget by Erik Oxenstierna and died from his injuries.

Image from the Sueciaverken (published in the 18th century), showing the grandiose plans for the front of the Riddarhuset.

In 1647 the German master builder and stonemason was hired. Henry William, both to supervise the stonemasonry work and to act as an architect. He dropped the plans for a rear courtyard and changed the façade decoration, but in many respects stuck to the original plans. But he too died before the building was completed.

Riddarhuset i Stockholm

The next architect was the Dutchman Joost Vingboonswhich brought a distinctly Dutch character to the palace. Now, fruit garlands and other modern features were added to the classical baroque style of the 17th century.

Finally, it was the royal architect Jean de la Vallée, son of Simon, who had to finish the building. He left his mark by, among other things, making round, rather than square, windows under the eaves.

The younger Vallée wanted to realise his father's grandiose plans with wings to the south and pavilions to the north, but there was no money for this. The pavilions or wings you can see today? They were built in the 1870s according to Jean de la Vallée's idea.

Another interesting thing we were told was that the red brick in the facade helped to inspire the red colour that the farming community started to use when painting their houses and cottages.

Riddarhuset i Stockholm

Heraldry, nobility and coats of arms

The House of Knights is concerned with genealogy (the study of human relationships) and heraldry (the study of heraldic arms and their history). If you happen to belong to a living or extinct noble family, you can come here to read about the family, or book an appointment in the library to do your own genealogical research.

It took three years to write.

We were shown a huge work (3 extremely thick volumes) with texts on more than 2000 noble families. "It took three years to write", said the man in the entrance, who is also the author of the texts. Yes, we can well imagine!

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Riddarhuset i Stockholm

Riddarhussalen - with 2331 coat of arms plates

To realise just how many living and dead noble families there are, take a look at the magnificent Riddarhaus Hall. The walls of this hall are covered with no less than 2331 copper armour plates.

Riddarhuset i Stockholm - Riddarsalen

In the past, between 1668 and 1866, the hall was used as a venue for the nobility's parliaments, and today the nobility's meeting is held here every three years. The hall is also used quite frequently for various events, such as concerts and lectures.

Riddarhuset i Stockholm - riddarsalen

A magnificent ceiling mural

When you're in here, don't forget to look up at the ceiling! There is a magnificent ceiling painting from the 1670s, painted by court painter David Klöcker Ehrenstrahl.

Plafondmålning

Old, imaginative and ... violent noble names

The coats of arms are hung according to rank, numerical order and year of induction. At the front of the "throne" are the oldest coats of arms.

Riddarhuset i Stockholm

The newest shields hang at the entrance. The newest is Sven Hedin's coat of arms from 1902. He was the last person to be ennobled in Sweden. In addition to looking for old and new coats of arms, you can have fun looking for well-known noble names such as Bonde, Trolle, De Geer or Natt och Dag. Or how about imaginative or telling names such as Ståålklinga, Björnramar or Stålman?

You can also enjoy looking at the images in the arms, which often describe the (sometimes violent) life of the knight. For example, the Armlod family is illustrated with a severed arm. You can stay in this room for quite some time, but you have to check your watch because you only have one hour and there are more rooms!

Visiting the Riddarhuset in Stockholm

Riddarhuset is normally open to visitors on weekdays between 11 a.m. and noon. For a fee of SEK 60 for adults, or SEK 40 for students and pensioners, you can look around the rooms for an hour.

The magnificent stone hall

The first thing that greets you when you open the front door is the magnificent Stone Hall. Here you can be particularly impressed by the large double staircase built in 1664-1668 under the direction of master builder Hans Thanner. The large painting 'The Train over the Belt', depicting King Karl X Gustaf on horseback and next to him Erik Dahlbergh showing the way to Denmark across the ice-covered Great Belt, is also displayed here.

Lantmarskalksalen in Riddarhuset

On the lower floor you can visit the so-called Lantmarskalksaal, named after the gallery of portraits of the marshals. There are a total of 54 portraits, including those of Pasch the Younger, Breda and Krafft the Younger.

Riddarhuset i Stockholm

In the 18th century, the hall was used for meetings of the Secret Committee, which consisted of 50 nobles, 25 priests and 25 burghers. Today, the hall is used for dinners and various festivities.

The Blue Room in the House of Knights

Upstairs, you can also peek into the 'Blue Room'. This room was designed in 1930 by the architect I.G. Clason and his son G. Clason to house Consul Hjalmar Wicander's large collection of armorial porcelain. This is probably the largest exhibited collection of East Indian porcelain with the arms of Swedish nobility.

Riddarhuset i Stockholm - Blå rummet

More to see in the neighbourhood

From Riddarhuset it is not far to Riddarholmskyrkan where all Swedish rulers from Gustav II Adolf to Gustaf V, with the exception of Queen Kristina, are buried.

It is also very close to The Old Town which we have 30 great tips on, which is an attraction in itself. Here you can stroll through narrow charming alleys and spot highlights such as the Royal Palace, Storkyrkan with St Göran and the dragon, Stortorget and Västerlånggatan. It is also not far to Kungsträdgården, where the Makalös Palace once stood..

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Have you visited the Royal House?

Have you visited Riddarhuset in Stockholm? Do you find this type of attraction interesting?

Facts about the House of Lords

  • Landscape: Uppland
  • County: Stockholm County
  • Municipality: Stockholm
  • Address: Riddarhustorget 10, Riddarhusgränd 1, Riddarhuskajen 1-5
  • Location: The Hercules neighbourhood in Stockholm's Old Town.
  • Behaviour: 1641-1674 
  • Architects: Simon de la Vallée, Heinrich Wilhelm, Joost Vingboons, Jean de la Vallée and Adolf W, Edelsvärd.
  • Style: Dutch Baroque
  • Material: Stone and brick
  • Owners: Chivalry and nobility
  • Read more: You can find more information at Palace website.

Tours and activities

  • Guided tours: Guided tours for groups are available for a fee and can be booked by phone or email. For school groups, guided tours are free of charge.
  • Genealogy: For genealogical research, you can make an appointment at the Riddarhuset library.
  • Events: Various events are organised such as concerts, theatre performances, lectures and art exhibitions.
  • Booking of the palace/banquet hall: Family members and family associations can rent Riddarhuset for private events. Organisations/companies can rent the premises under certain conditions. 

Services and practical information

  • Opening hours: Weekdays 11-12 (2021).
  • Prices: Adults 60 SEK. Children over 12, students and pensioners 40 SEK. You can pay by credit card or Swish. Visits are free for school classes.
  • Shop: During visiting hours there is a shop with books and gifts.
  • Accessibility: Riddarhuset is not accessible. There are many stairs and no lift.

History of the House of Knights

  • 1641: Construction of the Riddarhuset in Stockholm began. Drawings were made by the architect Simon de la Vallée. The site had been purchased by Axel Oxenstierna and ceded to the nobility.
  • 1642: After Simon de la Vallée's death, the German stonemason Heinrich Wilhelm became responsible for the construction.
  • 1652: After Heinrich Wilhelm's death, he was succeeded by the Dutch architect Justus Vingboons.
  • 1656: The Vingboons were dismissed and Jean de la Vallée, son of Simon, completed the work.
  • 1674: The building was completed.
  • 1870: Two independent wings, designed by Adolf W. Edelsvärd, were built.
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