12.14 Tisdag, 13 Februari, 2013
On Sunday, I went to a reception for new international students in Stockholm that was held at the City Hall, or Stadshuset. Although it is not very old – it was completed in 1923 – the Stadshus is probably the most famous building in Stockholm, as it is where the Nobel Banquet is held every year in December, along with over 200 other events throughout the year. The Stadshus is not just place for receptions and banquets, however; it is actually the main government building for the city of Stockholm.
At the reception, we sat in the Blue Hall and some representatives from the city council and other organizations in Stockholm welcomed us to the city and told us about the Stadshus. The room we were in, the Blue Hall, is a very large and grand room that is not, in fact, blue – it is red! It was originally supposed to be painted blue, but the architect changed his mind at the last minute and decided not to paint it, but he kept the name because he liked the way it sounds in Swedish (Blå hallen). The Blue Hall also houses the largest organ in Scandinavia, which hangs on the wall near the ceiling and has over 10,000 pipes.
The stairway in the Blue Hall
Half of the organ is visible at the top right
After listening to the presentations, we went upstairs to Gyllene salen, the Gold Hall, where we had dinner. The Gold Hall actually is golden – very golden. The entire room is gilded with mosaics made of gold-plated tiles, although the gold layer is so thin that the entire room contains only 11 kilograms of gold. The mosaics portray different scenes from Swedish history, and at the end of the hall is a large mosaic called Mälardrottningen – “The Queen of Lake Mälar.” Lake Mälar is the lake that empties into the Baltic Sea in Stockholm and is the body of water that the Stadshus overlooks. The name Mälardrottningen was used as a nickname for Stockholm long ago, so the mosaic depicts this queen as a symbol of Stockholm. To either side of her are famous monuments from around the world, such as the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty – Stockholm is thus the “center of the world.”
A doorway in the Gold Hall
After the reception, I went outside and took some pictures of the Stadshus and of Stockholm.
The tower of the Stadshus
Me standing next to Lake Mälar with Gamla Stan (left) and Södermalm (right) in the background
The outside of the Stadshus
Stadshuset and the EU flag
Stadshuset overlooking Lake Mälar