Stockholm, Sweden

Riddarholmen Church, Stockholm, Sweden

One of the most distinctive buildings of Stockholm, the Riddarholmskyrkan (merely the Church on Riddarholmen Island) is the burial church for the majority of the monarchs of Sweden whose Royal Palace is nearby in Gamla Stan.

The oldest parts of the structure date to the late 13th Century when the church was built as a Franciscan monastery. After the Protestant Reformation, which in Sweden happened in the 1520s under King Gustav Vasa, the monastery was closed and turned into a Protestant church. A spire was added in the 1560s which survived until it was destroyed by lightning in 1835 when it was replaced with the distinctive cast iron spire that is the church’s best known feature.

The majority of Sweden’s monarchs from Gustavus Adolphus (d. 1632) to Gustaf V (d. 1950) are buried here, with one or two exceptions. Since 1950 all Royal burials have been at the Royal Cemetery. The congregational side of the church stopped in 1807 and it continues only as a site for important burials and ceremonial purposes.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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