Our first stop in Sweden‘s capital city, Stockholm, was at the popular tourist destination of the City Hall. While it’s possible to visit City Hall on your own you can’t tour the building alone and must either be part of a public tour group or a private one. We had a private tour as part of our excursion and because any groups of more than ten people are required to go privately.
The Blue Hall
We weren’t the only people wanting to look around the building and so initially had to gather together inside the Blue Hall (or Blå Hallen). As you can probably tell from the photographs there isn’t a lot of what you might consider blue in the hall. The architect, Ragnar Östberg, had initially planned to decorate the hall in blue but changed his mind after seeing the bricks; the name, however, stuck. The Blue Hall serves as the location for the Nobel Prize banquet every year.
Tour groups were permitted to start their tours at staggered intervals for obvious reasons and we only had to wait a few minutes before proceeding from the Blue Hall and up the stairs to the next level of Stockholm’s City Hall.
The City Hall was originally designed to be used by the city’s politicians and it still serves that function today. The Council Chambers are where the Stockholm Municipal Council meet to discuss business. The meetings are open to the public and to journalists, both of whom have allocated seating to permit proceedings to be viewed.
The chamber gallery ceiling was designed to resemble a Viking building because, well, it’s Sweden.
From the Council Chambers we proceeded through a number of rooms including the Oval Room and the Prince’s Gallery on our way towards the Golden Hall.
Clearly the most impressive of the large spaces in City Hall was the Golden Hall. Following the Nobel Prize banquet each year a ball is hosted in this huge room. Mosaic design covers every surface, made from over 18 million pieces of gold and glass.
The mosaic images depict elements from Swedish history, the largest piece of work being reserved for the far wall from the entrance where a large personification of Stockholm as a woman (The Queen of Lake Mälaren) gazes down on the rest of the world.
Outside City Hall
We then exited City Hall through the gift shop and inner courtyard. With about ten minutes to kill as we waited for members of our tour group to use the toilet facilities or peruse the gift shop in more detail than we had I wandered out towards Lake Mälaren to take some photos of Stockholm and City Hall from that vantage point.
While the City Hall hadn’t been the focus point for our day in Stockholm it was still a very interesting place from a functional and architectural perspective and it’s well worth a visit if you’re in Sweden’s capital. More information about the building can be found here: The City Hall.