Världsarvsresenären / The World Heritage Traveler: Drottningholm

The World Heritage Traveller Drottningholm I often visit Drottningholm myself for the simple reason that I actually live quite near by Maybe for a walk in the beautiful park or to enjoy the warm summer months in Sweden Many tourists come here to visit what is sometimes referred to as the Versailles of the North but likely also because the Swedish King and Queen live here In the 1500s it was King Gustav Vasa who owned the land here and built a royal estate named Torvesund But in 1579, his son King John the Third instead decided to erect a stone house that he simply named Drottningholm (“The Queens Islet”) after his Polish wife and Queen Katarina Jagellonica But it was not until Queen Hedvig Eleonora that the present castle was built started in 1662 until 1750 after drawings by the architects Nicodemus Tessin the Older and his son Nicodemus Tessin the Younger later appointed Sweden’s first city architect Drottningholm is considered the foremost Swedish castle from the time of the Swedish Empire and in addition to the castle s also beautiful parks a French baroque garden and an English park perfect for a summer picnic with family or friends In a corner of the park waits a little surprise At least it was a surprise for Queen Lovisa Ulrika who on July 24 1753 was given the Chinese Pavilion as a birthday present from her husband King Adolf Fredrik The Chinese Pavillion which also is included in the World Heritage Site of Drottningholm was built in the China-inspired style that was very popular in Europe in the mid-1700s a style then named ”chinoiserie” Around the main building are several pavilions in the same style Which together with the castle breathes distant memories of long voyages to the Far East the East India Company spices and porcelain An absolute must is also a visit to the Drottningholm Palace Theatre considered the best-preserved 1700s theatre in the world It was during the days of King Gustav the Third when the theatre had its heydays during the late 1700s and sometimes he is referred to as the “theatre king” because of his great interest in theatre At that time plays were performed here every summer with the Swedish nobility as amateur actors and it is rumoured that also the King himself sometimes participated Most of this is original from the 1700s both furnishing, back drops, decorations and wallpapers and also the wind- and wave machines used during performances And up at the fly loft is a tangle of ropes and wheels that keep the 250-year-old machinery running And in a corner here in the fly loft one can also find names of the many stage managers who’s worked here over the years Even to this day there are performances at the palace theatre so just have buy a ticket and wait for the curtain to raise In the French baroque garden you can round off the day and perhaps dream oneself back to the days of King Gustav III when the gardening ideals were that nature should be chastened into something strict and symmetrical Today it’s not as strict anymore so one just have enter the labyrinths for an art experience But then you also have to find the way out… Well, no worries… Filmed, edited and narrated by Christer Sundberg, World Heritage Traveller

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