Stockholm is an amazing capital to visit, a perfect city-break destination for every season. The city is divided into well-defined areas, including for example the famous Gamla Stan, the medieval part of the city, Djurgården, the green oasis or Södermalm, the hipsters paradise. I’ve talked to you about what we could do in these areas previously, and today, I will finish my Stockholm series by this borough, Norrmalm, the downtown part of Stockholm.
It is is connected to the Royal Palace through the Norrbro bridge, the first bridge in Stockholm built with stones. Norrmalm is a busy and commercial city centre, full of restaurants, hotels, antique shops,…
The best way to enjoy and discover this part of the city is to join a free tour. We had so much fun, it was so nice ! I learnt that H&M was from Sweden (I honestly thought it was from Holland) and the highlight of the tour was when our guide explained to us the origin of the Stockholm Syndrome ! To understand it, you have to go back in 1973. There was a bank robbery, known as the Norrmalmstorg robbery, where a man took 4 people as hostages. The guy locked himself in the bank vault, with an accomplice and 4 hostages. It ended well, the robbery was prevented and no one was really hurt. What is really strange, is that the hostages repeatedly claimed they were more frightened of the policemen than the bad guys during their six days of confinement…. !! They had empathy for their captors and even sympathized with them… Our guide told us that one of the hostages even invited the captor to her wedding a few years later. This is the origin of the Stockholm syndrome, and it was just fascinating. If you want more details, I invite you to read the full story on the wikipedia page.
There are a lot of interesting buildings in Norrmalm, and of course, a lot of museums, like everywhere in Stockholm ! We visited a few of them…
The Royal Swedish Opera building is stunning and the staircase looks very impressive. The grandiose neoclassical front façade was under restoration but we managed to have a quick look at the marble staircase leading to the foyer. It is apparently based on the famous grand staircase of the Garnier Opera in Paris. Unfortunately, it was impossible to join a tour and our visit stopped there as it was busy with performances and the access was restricted.
The City Hall
The city hall is famous and well-known as the venue of the Nobel Prize banquet (held on 10 December each year). It can only be visited with a guided tour. And since the City Hall is open only when a tour is available, there are no general opening hours..We were there around new year, not the best time to visit it as it is often closed for holidays ! We were a bit disappointed but we enjoyed the surroundings, and had a look around. The views of Gamla Stan were amazing ! That was such a nice light :-)
Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities
It’s a bit randomly that we decided to visit this museum, as part of our Stockholm card. It contains collections about Asian archaeology, classical arts, …. I have mixed feeling about this museum. I wouldn’t spend an entrance fee on it, but as part of the Stockholm card.. why not. It opens until quite late (on the contrary to the other museums) but it’s a bit cold and old-fashioned, dusty with a lack of information. The shop was interesting though.
I’m always very interested to visit natural history museums, and of course, we didn’t miss it ! We arrived there for lunch. The food was really nice, such good quality for such low price. After a wonderful lunch, we visited the exhibits. We really appreciated the way the animals were stuffed. It looked very natural ! We also loved the geology exhibit, it was very well displayed.
This trip was full of good memories, we really enjoyed ourselves ! And I hope you enjoy the virtual visit :-)