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Definition: Stockholm from Philip's Encyclopedia

Port and capital of Sweden, on Lake Mälar's outlet to the Baltic Sea. Founded in the mid-13th century, it became a trade centre dominated by the Hanseatic League. Gustavus I (Vasa) made it the centre of his kingdom, and ended the privileges of Hanseatic merchants. Stockholm became the capital of Sweden in 1436, and developed as an intellectual centre in the 17th century. Industrial development dates from the mid-19th century. Industries: textiles, clothing, paper and printing, rubber, chemicals, shipbuilding, beer, electronics, metal, machine manufacturing. Pop. (2005) 1,729,000.

Summary Article: Stockholm
From The Columbia Encyclopedia

(stŏk'hôlm´´), city (1995 pop. 692,954), capital of Sweden and of Stockholm co., E Sweden, situated where Lake Mälaren flows into the Baltic Sea. It is Sweden's largest city and its economic, transportation, administrative, and cultural center. Manufactures include machinery, textiles, clothing, paper, chemicals, communications equipment, motor vehicles, rubber, processed food, printed materials, porcelain, and liquor. The city also has a large port and an important shipbuilding industry. It is the seat of Sweden's principal stock exchange.

Landmarks and Institutions

Architecturally, modern Stockholm is one of the finest cities in the world, with broad streets, many parks, and well-planned housing projects. Often called the “Venice of the North,” it is built on several peninsulas and islands (including Städsholmen, Riddarholmen, Kungsholmen, and Södermalm islands). Its large bodies of water contribute to a feeling of spaciousness in the city.

Stockholm's most famous landmark is probably the new city hall (1911–23), which faces Lake Mälaren; designed by the Swedish architect Ragnar Östberg, it is an impressive modern interpretation of the characteristic Scandinavian Renaissance style. Also well-known are the large residential districts of cooperative houses that have helped make Stockholm a virtually slumless city.

On Städsholmen, which has retained much of its medieval character, are the Church of St. Nicholas or Storkyrka [great church], dating from the 13th cent.; the Church of St. Gertrude, or the German Church, originally built for the Hanseatic merchants; and several old Hanseatic houses. Also on the island are the Great Square, where the Stockholm massacre began; the Riddarhuset [assembly hall of the nobility], a 17th-century structure in the Dutch Renaissance style and with heroic statues; Tessin Palace (18th cent.); and the Royal Palace, built (1754) in Italian Renaissance style.

Stockholm is the seat of a university (founded 1877), a technical university, a school of economics, and royal academies of music, science, art, and medicine. A Nobel institute is also located there, and the Nobel prizes (except the Peace Prize) are awarded in the city. Also of note are the opera house (opened 1898); the Royal Dramatic Theatre (opened 1908); numerous museums, including the large Skansen open-air museum, a modern art museum (1998), the Vasa Museum (which houses a partially restored 16th cent. warship raised from Stockholm harbor), and the Museum of National Antiquities, with its collection of gold and silver artifacts; and a zoological garden. Stockholm has a lively musical, theatrical, and literary life.


Founded in the mid-13th cent. on the site of a fishing village, Stockholm became an important trade center, dominated by the Hanseatic League (especially Lübeck). In 1520, Christian II of Denmark and Norway proclaimed himself also king of Sweden at Stockholm; a large number of Swedish nobles had gathered to attend the coronation, and Christian instigated the massacre of about 100 of the anti-Danish nobility. The Stockholm massacre led to the successful uprising of Swedes under Gustavus Vasa, who became king of Sweden as Gustavus I (1523–60). Gustavus made Stockholm the center of his kingdom and ended the privileges there of the Hanseatic merchants. Stockholm was made the official capital of Sweden in 1634, about the same time that it became a European intellectual center under Queen Christina, whose court attracted the philosopher Descartes and others. Stockholm's modern industrial development dates from the mid-19th cent.; it grew from a city of about 100,000 inhabitants in 1850 to one of about 300,000 in 1900. The 1912 Olympic games were held there.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, © Columbia University Press 2018

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