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Knights' House, Stockholm

Riddarhuset - the Knights' House or House of the Nobility - is one of Stockholm's most beautiful buildings. The 17th century Baroque house was the main meeting place for the nobility.

For almost two centuries noblemen gathered here to take political decisions. After the abolition of the Estates and the creation of a parliament in 1866 the nobility lost its political power but even today representatives of the Swedish nobility meet here once every three years to discuss the activities of the Riddarhuset institutions.

The Building

In the mid 17th century count Axel Oxenstierna, Lord High Chancellor of Sweden, commissioned the construction of the Riddarhuset. Construction started in 1641 after a design by Simon de la Vallée, but the architect died shortly after and he was later succeeded by his son Jean de La Vallée. The design of the beautiful façade with red bricks and sandstone pediments is attributed to the Dutch architect Justus Vingboons. The two pavilions at the north side of the Riddarhuset were built later, in 1870. Sculptures of Mars, the god of war and Minerva, goddess of wisdom rest above the north entrance of the Riddarhuset. The roof of the building is decorated with several allegorical statues.

Coats of Arms

The interior of the Riddarhuset is as impressive as its exterior. A monumental staircase leads to the Riddarhusalen, the great hall. In this hall hang some 2330 copper plates with the coats of arms of all the noble families that have been represented at the Riddarhuset.

Stockholm

Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden. It is the site of the national Swedish government, the Riksdag (parliament), and the official residence of the Swedish monarch as well as the prime minister. Since 1980, the monarch has resided at Drottningholm Palace outside of Stockholm and uses the Royal Palace of Stockholm as his workplace and official residence. As of 2009, the Stockholm metropolitan area is home to approximately 22% of Sweden's population, and contributes 28% of Sweden's gross domestic product. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden with a population of 829,417 in the municipality (2009), 1.25 million in the urban area (2005), and 2 million in the metropolitan area (2009).
Founded circa 1250, Stockholm has long been one of Sweden's cultural, media, political, and economic centres. Its strategic location on 14 islands on the south-central east coast of Sweden at the mouth of Lake Mälaren, by the Stockholm archipelago, has been historically important. Stockholm has been nominated by GaWC as a global city, with a ranking of Alpha-.In The 2008 Global Cities Index, Stockholm ranked 24th in the world, 10th in Europe, and first in Scandinavia. Stockholm is known for its beauty, its buildings and architecture, its abundant open water and many parks. It is sometimes referred to as Venice of the North. Stockholm is the second most visited city in the Nordic countries, with around one million visitors in 2006. (Source: aviewoncities/Stockholm)

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Additional Photos by George Rumpler (Budapestman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 8900 W: 3 N: 20435] (82620)
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