Royal Domain of Drottningholm

Province of Stockholm, Region of Ekero
N59 19 23.016 E17 52 59.988
Date of Inscription: 1991
Minor boundary modification inscribed year: 2019
Criteria: (iv)
Property : 162.429 ha
Buffer zone: 3,227.63 ha
Ref: 559bis
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The Royal Domain of Drottningholm stands on an island in Lake Mälar in a suburb of Stockholm. With its castle, perfectly preserved theatre (built in 1766), Chinese pavilion and gardens, it is the finest example of an 18th-century north European royal residence inspired by the Palace of Versailles.

The Royal Domain of Drottningholm, situated on the island of Lovön close to Stockholm, is an exceptionally well-preserved ensemble of gardens and buildings with original interior furnishings. It includes Drottningholm Palace, the Palace Theatre, the Chinese Pavilion, Canton Village, the gardens and part of Malmen, and has been used for pleasure and summer recreation from the Baroque era until today. As the current home of the Swedish Royal Family, Drottningholm upholds a cultural continuity with the original purpose of the site.

Drottningholm Palace is representative of 17th and 18th century western and northern European architecture, and the palace grounds were also created during that period. The palace was created with strong references to 17th century Italian and French architecture. The interiors reflect Sweden’s ambitions as one of the most powerful nations of 17th century Europe, from both cultural and political viewpoints. Leading Swedish architects worked together with the best craftspeople in Europe to create a unique ensemble of buildings with rich and lavish interiors.

The Palace Theatre is the only surviving 18th century theatre where the original machinery is still regularly used and the original stage sets are preserved. The sophisticated stage machinery, built by Georg Fröman according to drawings prepared by Christian Gottorp Reuss, is still fully intact, permitting quick changes of scene with the curtain up. A unique collection of stage sets, the dressing rooms, the storerooms, the scenery, and the large auditorium, seating 400 spectators, are preserved. Historical opera productions performed at the theatre are often staged and accompanied by music performed on authentic period instruments by the Drottningholm Theatre Orchestra.

The Chinese Pavilion with its incomparable combination of architecture, interior decoration and collections is preserved and is a symbol of 18th century contacts between Europe and Asia. Together with Canton Village, which includes former buildings for manufacture and living quarters for members of the royal court, this ensemble of buildings gives a comprehensive picture of court life during this era, with touches of influences from distant places.

The gardens were created during different periods and show both continuity and changes in fashion over time. The French formal garden, the rococo garden and the ideal landscape garden are preserved side by side. The French formal garden holds the world’s largest collection of sculptures by Adriaen de Vries.

Malmen is an adjoining 18th century residential area for courtiers and officials of the royal court as well as a site for various palace offices. Malmen was granted a town charter in the late 18th century. The buildings in this area still partly retain their original functions, and their facades are important features of this historical setting.

The surrounding area has been part of the Crown Estate since the 16th century. The character of the landscape is a result of the way it has been used and farmed to support the Crown’s need of supplies and to uphold the King’s household. This continuous use and the way it is and has been managed over the years is still visible in the landscape.

Criterion (iv): The ensemble of Drottningholm is the best example of a royal residence built in the 18th century in Sweden and is representative of all European architecture of that period, heir to the influences exerted by the Chateau of Versailles on the construction of royal residences in western, central and northern Europe.

Suggested Bases:

Stockholm is Sweden’s capital and largest city, with nearly a million inhabitants in the city proper, and 2.3 million within Stockholm County. The inner city is made up of 14 islands across Lake Mälaren and three streams into the brackish Baltic Sea, with the Stockholm archipelago with some 24,000 islands, islets and skerries. Over 30% of the city area is made up of waterways, and another 30% is made up of green areas. Air and water are said to be the freshest of any European capital. Stockholm hosts the Nobel Prize ceremony and has around 70 museums. Stockholm is the hub of most Swedish rail and bus traffic and has two of the country’s busiest airports nearby, so it is a good starting point for visiting other parts of Sweden. Stockholm’s suburbs sprawl out across most of Stockholm County. Stockholm’s administrative division may be perplexing – municipal borders might cut right through neighbourhoods [read more].

Uppsala is a university city in Sweden. Uppsala is not only the capital of Uppsala County, but, with a population of 160,000 in the city and a total population of 225,000 in Uppsala Municipality, it is the country’s fourth-largest city. It was once the political and religious centre of Viking-era Sweden, became seat of the Church of Sweden and is the home of the largest church in the Nordic Countries, the Uppsala Cathedral. Uppsala University was founded in 1477 as the first Nordic university. Uppsala is 70 km (43 mi) north of Stockholm, on the Fyris River (Fyrisån) that flows south into Lake Mälaren. The name “Uppsala” is derived from the words “Up”, as in “upstream”, and “Sal”, which means “hall”, and was archaically spelt Upsala. Historically, Uppsala has been divided between “townies and gownies”, with burghers residing on the eastern side of the river, while clergy, academia and royalty have resided on its western shore [read more].

Linköping (pronounced “Linshooping”) is Sweden’s fifth biggest municipality, and the seat of Östergötland county. It has about 145,000 inhabitants in the municipality, including some countryside, and just under 100,000 in the city proper. The city has the advantage of being a major city with all that it entails yet retaining the cozy quiet small town feel, largely due to the lack of tall buildings; a result of the military airfield just outside the city. Linköping countryside makes up Linköping municipality outside the built-up area. Linköping is the clerical and administrative centre in a rich farmland district, the province and county Östergötland. The town was founded during the Middle Ages and is therefore one of the oldest cities in Sweden. The cathedral and the castle are two medieval buildings that are still standing. At the “battle of Stångebro” in 1598, the city fought on the Catholic side and lost. A memorial of the battle is found just outside the city centre [read more].

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