Drottningholm Palace History
The original building was destroyed by fire in 1661, right after it had been
purchased by the Dowager Queen Hedvig Eleonora. In 1662 Nicodemus Tessin was commissioned to
build a new palace in its place. The palace was completed by his son Nicodemus Tessin.
Nicodemus Tessin was also mainly responsible for the large pleasure gardens
that surround Drottningholm Palace which were first planned in the 1660s. The
sources of inspiration for the strictly formal layout include André Le Nôtre’s work at the
châteaux of Versailles and Chantilly.
A notable feature of the garden is its rich sculptural ornament. Here Tessin
had access to a large collection of bronzes by the Dutch sculptor Adriaen de Vries, which had
been taken as war booty, some from the Wallenstein Palace in Prague and others from
Frederiksborg Slot in Hillerød, Denmark.
The palace’s dynamic Baroque profile was radically altered by the addition
of a new storey to the low outer wings, in which were housed the Queen’s large collections of
art and natural history. In 1753, the work was completed by Jean Eric Rehn, who, among other
things, created the exquisite library , which beautifully combines Rococo and classical
The Kina Slott (Chinese Pavilion) in Drottningholm park was
created as a birthday surprise for Louisa Ulrica in 1752, but the original building was
replaced between 1763 and 1769 by C. F. Adelcrantz, with assistance from Rehn.
The new building was a Rococo maison de plaisance of French inspiration,
with Chinese influence restricted to a combination of pastiche details and authentic Chinese
material in the decoration. The exception is a pair of interiors that can be associated with
William Chambers’s Designs of Chinese Buildings (1757). The pavilion’s decoration and
furnishings are largely intact.
The present Drottningholm Court Theatre was also built by
Adelcrantz for Louisa Ulrica, after its predecessor had been burnt down in 1762. Within an
unpretentious Neo-classical exterior Adelcrantz created a very personal and unconventional
theatre, in which the structural plan and decoration create an intimate relationship between
the very deep stage and the auditorium.
In 1777 Louisa Ulrica sold Drottningholm to the Swedish State. This resulted
in various changes, including the laying out of extensive landscaped gardens around the formal
garden, by order of Gustav III. These were planned from 1780 by the English-trained architect
F. M. Piper.
Drottningholm was also used by the royal family during the 19th century,
when some of the interior was renovated. During the 1980s the palace was converted for use as
the permanent residence of King Karl XVI Gustav and Queen Silvia.
Drottningholm Palace is situated on the island of Lovön in Lake Mälaren, about 10 km west of
Stockholm. Get help with directions using the map provided
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