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Denmark, Norway and Sweden are constitutional monarchies. They can all be traced to the Viking Age around AD 1,000.

Understand[edit]

Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden
Vikings & Old NorseHistoryMonarchiesSamiWinterRight to accessBoatingHikingCuisineMusicNordic Noir

Denmark[edit]

Denmark has been a continuous monarchy for 1,000 years. Denmark proper forms The Danish Kingdom (Kongeriget Danmark) together with the Faroe Islands and Greenland, a personal union under the same monarch; Margrethe II as of 2021.

Norway[edit]

The royal family returns in 1945 after exactly five years in exile.

Norway became a unified monarchy in AD 872. Norway was a subject to Denmark until 1814, and then in a personal union with Sweden until 1905. Since then, Norway is an independent monarchy. Harald V is monarch since 1991. The first monarch after 1905, Haakon, was a Danish prince and brother of king Christian of Denmark. While the king is constitutionally the head of state and supreme commander of the armed forces, the executive power in practice rests with a cabinet headed by the prime minister. The most important decisions are made in cabinet meetings headed by the king, the King-in-Council, usually every Friday at 11:00 in the Royal palace. The king appoints the prime minister based on an understanding of the political situation in the parliament, often after consulting the outgoing prime minister or the speaker of the parliament. The King's only real prerogatives are regarding medals, honours and orders. King Harald is a 4-star general and admiral. The King enjoys sovereign immunity and cannot be prosecuted or held legally accountable. Only a minority of voters and politicians (known as republicans) want to replace the king with an elected president. While frequently the subject of jokes and satire, the royal family is generally highly regarded for their low-key style, sound morals and symbol of unity and freedom during the second world war.

Sweden[edit]

The current monarch is king Carl XVI Gustaf, reigning since 1973. Sweden has eleven Royal Palaces (kungliga slott), most of them open to the public, to some extent.

Since 1973, the King of Sweden is Carl XVI Gustaf. His motto is För Sverige - I tiden, "For Sweden, with the times". Among other things, the motto is found on Swedish currency.

Since 1975, the title brings no political power, and a purely ceremonial role. The title is hereditary without respect to gender.

One of the King's most famous assignments is to award the Nobel Prize annually in Stockholm, as the ceremonial protector of the Nobel Foundation.

Finland[edit]

Finland was part of the Swedish Kingdom from the Middle Ages until 1809, and then a Grand Duchy of the Russian Empire, with the Russian Czar as the Head of State. Since its independence in 1917, Finland has been a republic.

Iceland[edit]

Iceland has had a parliamentary government since it was settled in the Viking Age. It was a subject of the Kingdom of Denmark, and became a formally independent republic in 1944.

Destinations[edit]

Map of Nordic monarchies

Denmark[edit]

  • 1 Amalienborg, Amalienborg Slotsplads (Copenhagen). Amalienborg is the Royal residence and consists of four identical classical mansions, each facing an octagonal courtyard. On the Queen's birthday (14th of January) and for other highlights in the lives of the royal family, the square is jam-packed with people waving the Danish flag and greeting the Queen. There is a museum in the Christian VIII Mansion displaying exhibitions of the period 1863-1972, and four generations of the royal family. There is changing of the guards each day at 12:00. (Marches from Rosenborg Castle barracks) Amalienborg (Q211053) on Wikidata Amalienborg on Wikipedia

Norway[edit]

Stiftsgården, the Royal residence in Trondheim, is large wooden building fra 1778.
  • 2 Royal Palace (Slottet) (Oslo). The Palace is the residence and offices of the king, Norway's head of state. Council of State meetings are held there every Friday. When new members of cabinet have been appointed by the king they appear in the front of the palace for photo sessions and interivews. Building of the Palace began in 1824 and completed in 1849. The Palace sits on a small mount at the end of Oslo main street, Karl Johans gate, named after the Swedish/Norwegian king at the time. It was built just outside the city in neoclassical style, after Oslo's rapid expansion the palace is now surrounded by the city centre. Tours inside the palace are arranged in summertime, starting in June 21. Tickets for the tour must be bought in advance from a post office. If there are vacant spots in a tour, they sell the remaining tickets at the Palace to people waiting in line who don't already have tickets. Don't count on getting tickets on the spot unless you are quite ahead in the line since a lot of people buy them at the post offices. There are about 2 tours in English on weekdays. Royal Palace, Oslo (Q863932) on Wikidata Royal Palace, Oslo on Wikipedia
  • 3 Gamlehaugen, Gamlehaugveien 10 (about 10 minutes by car from the city centre, southbound bus lines 525, 60 over Fjøsanger, 20–24, 26, 560 and 620–630 from the bus station). Access to the park is free for all. The villa at Gamlehaugen, built to resemble a castle, was the home of Christian Michelsen, business tycoon and former prime minister who helped free Norway from the Swedish rule through the peaceful dissolution of the "union" in 1905. The villa is the royal family's residence in Bergen. There is a wide and popular park around the villa. Bathing possibilities. Gamlehaugen (Q2722290) on Wikidata Gamlehaugen on Wikipedia
  • 4 Stiftsgaarden, the King's residence in Trondheim. Originally built in 1778 for wealthy citizen, later purchased by the state and used as residence for the governor and the royal family on visit on Trondheim. This is the biggest wooden mansion or palais in the Nordic countries and one of the biggest wooden buildings in the Nordic countries. The building is in the very centre of Trondheim and tours of the building for the public.
  • 5 Regalia of Norway (Archbishop's Palace, Trondheim). The Norwegian royal regalia include the king's crown, the sword of the realm, the king's sceptre, the king's orb, the queen's crown, the queen's sceptre, the queen's orb, the crown of the crown prince and the anointing horn. These are on display in Archbishop's Palace next to Nidarosdomen (Trondheim cathedral) where coronations have been held since 1818. King Karl Johan of Sweden/Norway order the regalia made for his own coronation. Norwegian Royal Regalia (Q2405747) on Wikidata Regalia of Norway on Wikipedia
  • 6 Nidaros Cathedral (Nidarosdomen). This is the biggest church of Northern Europe, the only major Gothic cathedral in Norway and the pride of the city. Nidarosdomen is Norway's national cathedral and one of only three churches owned by the state. It was erected over what was believed to be St. Olav's grave and it became a major pilgrimage site in Northern Europe. The Catholic church named Olav "Norway's eternal king" (Rex Perpetuus Norvegiae). Next door is the Archbishop's Palace, which was partly damaged by fire in the 1980s and has been heavily restored. In the middle ages, the ecclesiastical province of Nidaros (Trondheim) included all of Norway, parts of Sweden, Orkneys, Shetland, Hebrides, Man, Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland. Nidaros Cathedral (Q215023) on Wikidata Nidaros Cathedral on Wikipedia
  • 7 Royal Mausoleum at Akershus castle (Akershus castle). The Royal Mausoleum contains two sarcophagi: King Haakon VII of Norway (1872–1957) and Queen Maud of Norway (1869–1938), née Princess Maud of Wales, and King Olav V of Norway (1903–1991) and Crown Princess Märtha of Norway (1901–1954), née Princess of Sweden. It is located within the Akershus castle compound. The mausoleum was built in 1948. Royal Mausoleum (Q500567) on Wikidata Royal Mausoleum (Norway) on Wikipedia

Sweden[edit]

  • 8 Drottningholm Palace (Drottningholms slott) (Ekerö). While the Royal Palace is in Stockholm's Old Town, the Royal family lives at Drottningholm Palace on the Lovön island in Lake Mälaren. The 18th-century palace is beautiful, and much of it is open to the public. The surroundings are well worth a walk as well. Drottningholm Palace (Q208559) on Wikidata Drottningholm Palace on Wikipedia
  • 9 Stockholm Cathedral (Storkyrkan), Trångsund 1 (Stockholm/Gamla stan). Storkyrkan is the oldest church in Gamla stan. Built in the 13th century in the Gothic style, the exterior was remodelled in Baroque style around 1740. The church is the seat of the Church of Sweden bishop of Stockholm. It contains two pieces of famous artwork: the 15th-century wooden statue of Saint George and a copy of the oldest known image of Stockholm, Vädersolstavlan ("The Sun Dog Painting"), a 1636 copy of a lost original from 1535. Storkyrkan (Q1133075) on Wikidata Storkyrkan on Wikipedia
  • 10 Riddarholmen Church (Riddarholmskyrkan) (Stockholm/Gamla stan). Riddarholm is the ancient core of Stockholm and this is the city's oldest building - though no longer the oldest church, as it's nowadays simply a museum. Built as an abbey in the late 14th century. Fifteen Swedish monarchs are buried here, from Gustavus Adolphus (1594–1632) to Gustav V (1858–1950). One notable absence is Queen Kristina, who abdicated in 1654, converted to Catholicism, and is buried in St Peter's Church in the Vatican. Riddarholm Church (Q657118) on Wikidata Riddarholm Church on Wikipedia
  • 11 Royal Palace (Kungliga Slottet) (Stockholm/Gamla stan). At times referred to by Swedes at the "Royal Castle". Built between 1697 and 1754, dominating the north-eastern part of the Old Town, the Royal Palace is the official residence of the king of Sweden, though only used for state ceremonies, as the Royal family lives at Drottningholm in Ekerö. Entrance ticket includes The Royal Apartments, the Tre Kronor Museum, the Treasury, and Gustav III's Museum of Antiquities. Limited opening during state ceremonies. Stockholm Palace (Q750444) on Wikidata Stockholm Palace on Wikipedia
  • 12 Stones of Mora (Mora stenar) (Knivsta). A couple of monumental stones commemorating the election of kings during the Middle Ages, until monarchy became hereditary in the 16th century. Stones of Mora (Q304555) on Wikidata Stones of Mora on Wikipedia
  • 13 Hagaparken (Solna). A Royal Palace park in Solna with a rich history, open to the public, and great for picnics. The palace, Haga slott, is the residence of Crown Princess Victoria and her family, and as of 2021 not open to the public.
  • 16 Ulriksdal Palace (Ulriksdals Slott) (Solna). A Royal Palace open to the public. An orangery with a collection of 18th and 19th century sculptures. A Royal theatre which is occasionally open.
  • 17 Rosendal Palace (Rosendals slott) (Stockholm/Djurgården). Though the beautiful and central location, this Royal palace is little known. Guided tours during summer.
    • 18 Rosendal Gardens (Rosendals trädgård). A historic free-entrance garden, worth a visit for travellers not in a hurry.
  • 19 Rosersberg Palace (Rosersberg, Märsta). A 17th-century Baroque palace built at the height of the Swedish Empire, used as the summer residence of Charles XIV John (named Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, serving as Napoleon's general, before his coronation) during the early 19th century. The palace museum offers guided tours during summer. Textile furnishings are original; this is very unusual, as textiles are normally replaced as they wear out through the years. The palace contains an early replica of the United States Declaration of Independence, gifted from the USA in 1801, as well as other interesting artefacts.

Go next[edit]

Sweden also has several nobility palaces and manors without direct connection to the Royal family.

See also[edit]

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