The Royal Stables: A history

The Royal Stables are located at Väpnargatan 1, right at the beginning of Stockholm's Strandvägen. The Royal Stables have existed since the time of King Gustav Vasa. Today, horses and carriages are used in connection with state visits, the opening of the Parliamentary Session and when The King receives new ambassadors.

The history of the Royal Stables stretches back hundreds of years to when King Gustav Vasa had stables built for the royal horses in 1535. Then, as now, the main role of the Royal Stables was to meet the king's transportation needs for both everyday purposes and special occasions. Noble horses and majestic carriages have always added to the splendour of the monarch and royal power.

Beginnings on Helgeandsholmen

The first Royal Stables were built on the island of Helgeandsholmen, very close to the Tre Kronor Palace and on the site where the Riksdag building stands today. These stables soon proved to be too small, and new stables were built towards the end of the 16th century at St Jakob's Church, where the Royal Swedish Opera now stands.

The devastating fire of 1696

Despite the fact that extensive plans to relocate and expand the Royal Stables were drawn up by both King Gustav II Adolf and Queen Kristina, it was not until King Karl XI commissioned Nicodemus Tessin the Elder to build magnificent new stables on Helgeandsholmen that they were finally moved. These stables had room for 60 horses, as well as a manège, a coach hall and an armoury. Unfortunately, the stables were destroyed by fire in 1696, the year before the dramatic blaze at the Tre Kronor Palace.

Tessin the Younger takes over

The task of building new stables on the existing site now passed to Nicodemus Tessin the Younger. The stables were modernised and became more palatial, with room for 150 horses. A pumping system enabled water from Strömmen to be led directly to each stall. Two wings were built to house a manège and a coach house. For almost two hundred years, this building served as the Royal Stables.

The Royal Stables leave Helgeandsholmen

In the 1870s, proposals were put forward to construct two state buildings – the Riksdag building and the Riksbank central bank – on Helgeandsholmen. King Oskar II offered to vacate Helgeandsholmen free of charge if another suitable location could be provided for the Royal Stables. In 1888, the Riksdag made more than a million kronor available for the construction of the new Royal Stables at the current location of Artilleriplan at the beginning of Strandvägen, which now has the address Väpnargatan 1.

A widely criticised building

The architect was palace official Ernst Jacobsson. He was assisted by Fritz Eckert, and together they designed the Royal Stables in the form of a mediaeval fortress, a castle-like creation with towers and walls surrounding a grand stableyard. In 1894, the new Royal Stables were completed. The building aroused strong negative reactions, and was one of the most widely criticised buildings of its time.

Today, this coherent building is an irreplaceable cultural environment that still fulfils its duties as a provider of royal transportation. The number of horses has reduced significantly since the 1890s, as most transportation takes place by car, but it retains the role of preserving the elegant art of riding and maintaining the culture of the royal equipage.

Meeting modern-day needs

In addition to meeting The King's transportation needs, the Royal Stables have had – and still have – important symbolic value, which is underscored by monarchs throughout history having shown a strong personal commitment to the Royal Stables' functions, equipment and equestrian care, and by the nation's leading architects having been engaged to design and construct the various buildings.

The Royal Stables were traditionally a male-dominated environment. King Carl XVI Gustaf's interest in the work of the Royal Stables has also resulted in it becoming an equal organisation that increasingly shows a strong environmental awareness.

Today's strict requirements in terms of security and efficiency have also lead to the introduction of an operational management system for planning, carrying out and evaluating the Royal Stables' transportation duties.

Copperplate engraving of the Royal Stables by the draftsman Erik Dahlbergh, from the folio Suecia antiqua et hodierna. Photo: The Royal Library

The inner courtyard of the Royal Stables. The Royal Stables represent a significant cultural asset in the form of the classic art of riding and the culture of the royal equipage. Photo: Sanna Argus Tirén

Horses and carriages are used on ceremonial occasions such as state visits, the opening of the Parliamentary Session and when The King receives new ambassadors. Photo: Alexis Daflos

In 1894, the new Royal Stables were completed. The building aroused strong negative reactions, and was one of the most widely criticised buildings of its time. Photo: Anna Östergren

The Royal Stables, May 2014. Coachman Marcus Henriksson carries out training with horses Lillegut and Cardinal. Photo: Sanna Argus Tirén

King Carl XVI Gustaf's interest in the work of the Royal Stables has resulted in it becoming an equal organisation that increasingly shows a strong environmental awareness. Photo: Sanna Argus Tirén

The role of the Royal Stables is to maintain and develop this heritage, and to show it to the public. Visitors are welcome all year round to see the carriages, the stables and the harnesses. Photo: Alexis Daflos

Visit us

Take a tour through the Royal Stables, with its harness room, cars and carriage houses. During the summer season, the inner courtyard, it...

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We recommend that large groups pre-book a guided tour. For groups of at least 20 people, you can order coffee, sandwiches and/or pastries.

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The Royal Stables are located at Väpnargatan 1 in central Stockholm.

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Events

Relax in the leafy garden of the Royal Stables for musical entertainment this summer. Three concerts will be held in the inner courtyard....

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Welcome to Royal Stables Day. There will be exhibitions, historic cars, horses, carriage parades, guided tours and refreshments. Take the...

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Discover more at The Royal Stables

The Royal Stables have around twenty horses. The horses are trained to lead cortèges and carriages on occasions such as state visits and ...

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Among the oldest cars in the Royal Stables is a Daimler DE27: Limousine from 1950. It can seat up to eight people and is still in use . ...

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The current Royal Stables buildings were completed in 1894. The architect was the palace official Ernst Jacobsson, assisted by Fritz Ecke...

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See the Royal Stables coach sheds, which are home to around forty carriages and sleighs for various occasions. Most of them date back to ...

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Discover the Royal Stables' summer café, serving home-baked treats in a unique setting in the heart of Stockholm.

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The history of the Royal Stables dates back many hundreds of years, to 1535 when King Gustav Vasa had stables built for the royal horses....

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Articles and movies

During the summer, all ten royal palaces and their museums, parks, chapels, shops and cafés will be open.

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What was life like at the Royal Stables during the times of King Karl XIV Johan and King Oskar I? An exhibition in the coach shed describ...

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The Royal Stables are located at Väpnargatan 1, right at the beginning of Stockholm's Strandvägen. The Royal Stables have existed since t...

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Customer service

Opening hours: Closed

FAQ

  • Can I take my bag into the royal palaces?

    Small bags are permitted at our visitor attractions. Rucksacks should be carried in your hand or on your front. Do not leave any bags unattended. Bags and cases with wheels are not permitted.

  • Can I take a pushchair into the royal palaces?

    Pushchairs are not permitted indoors.

  • Are there any pushchair parkings at the royal palaces?

    The Royal Palace of Stockholm: At the entrance to the Reception Rooms, in the Outer Courtyard there is a limited amount of space for pushchairs. Under cover, but unmonitored and no locking facility.

    Riddarholm Church: At the entrance to Riddarholm Church. Under cover, but unmonitored and no locking facility.

    Drottningholm Palace: Outside the entrance. Under cover, but unmonitored and no locking facility.

    Other visitor attractions: No pushchair parking.

  • Which royal visitor attractions can I explore at my own pace?

    The Royal Palace of Stockholm, Riddarholm Church, Drottningholm Palace, the Chinese Pavilion, Gripsholm Castle, Strömsholm Palace and the Orangery at Ulriksdal can be explored at your own pace.

    The other palaces are by guided tour.

  • Is it possible to hire rooms at the royal palaces for dinner functions/events?

    Strömsholm Palace: The dining room in the Stone Kitchen can be hired for dinner functions.

    The other palaces: Room hire is not possible.

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