Stockholm, Sweden

HomeStockholm, Sweden
26th of June 2017

Stockholm is known today as Gamla stan, the Stockholm Old Town. This is simply because the development of Gamla stan coincided for many centuries with the history of Sweden and not just because it is the capital city.

Stockholm splits into two distinct parts – Stock-holm, “Log-islet”, the most established explanation for which is that logs once driven into the strait passing north of today’s old town were examined through dendrochonological examination during the 1970s to have dated back around 1,000 years ago. Or that, in search of a new settlement the Vikings determine its location with a log bound with gold drifting in Lake Malaren that landed on present day Riddarholmen where today the Tower of Birger Jarl stands. But, as there have been no solid proofs found to sustain this myth, it was assumed that the Three Crown Castle which originated from these wooden structures that expanded around in the mid 13th century is rather the location probably found by the Vikings. The Three Crown Castle is what has preceded the present Stockholm Palace. The name Stockholm though first appeared in historical records in letters in 1252 written by Birger jarl and king Valdemar.

It was known that German merchants invited by Birger jarl played an important role in the foundation of the city as they have contributed in its fast growth as the largest city in Sweden around the end of the 13th century when it was then the de facto Swedish political center and royal residence. This made it also the most important Swedish city inseparable from and dependent of the Swedish government.

This actually made Stockholm very crucial to those who aspired to be in control of Sweden. The city was repeatedly besieged by various Swedish-Danish fractions during the Kalmar Union (1397-1523). This started in 1471 at the Battle of Brunkeberg where Sten Sture the Elder defeated Christian I of Denmark, but in 1947 lost the city to Hans of Denmark. Eventually Sten Sture again seized power in 1501 which resulted to a short peace with the Danish blockade that lasted to 1509. Then, in 1520 Christian II of Denmark, Han’s son conquered it in the so called Stockholm Bloodbath where many leading nobles and burghers were beheaded. It was three years later when King Gustav Vasa finally conquered back the city. By the end of the 15th century with an estimated 5,000-7,000 population Stockholm was a small town though far larger than any other city then in Sweden. It was during the reign of Gustav Vasa that the privileges of city were restored.

 The people of Stockholm also adapted a Swedish culture that has by large been drawn from its early Viking influence as a world power in the 17th century. Through this they developed a distinct culture free from outside influences and were able to sustain peace and neutrality throughout the entire 20th century, increasing Sweden’s economic strength. With this freedom and richness its people, who speaks English as a second language aside from being much like the Danish and Norwegian in speaking the Germanic language, can effectively communicate across country lines leaving their mark on the rest of the world.