About Riddarholm Church
Riddarholm Church (Riddarholmskyrkan) is one of Stockholm’s oldest buildings, with parts of this imposing historic structure having been built in 1270 and completed in around 1300.
History of Riddarholm Church
The church originally belonged to a medieval greyfriars monastery, but following the Reformation in the 16th century, it was transformed into a Lutheran church and the monastery was closed. THe congregation was dissolved in 1807, and since then it has been used solely for commemorative and burial purposes.
Ever since King Magnus Ladulås, who died in 1290, was buried there, Riddarholm Church has been the site in which most of Sweden’s royal family have been laid to rest. Amongst those found at Riddarholm Church are Karl Knutsson Bonde, Gustav II Adolf, Adolf Fredrik, Gustaf III, Gustav IV Adolf and Karl XIII. Some of their tombs and burial chambers are open to the public, whilst others are closed. In fact, the only former monarch not buried at Riddarholm Church up to the mid-20th century was Queen Christina.
A particular highlight of the church is the Bernadotte Chapel, with its beautifully ornate decoration.
Riddarholm Church today
Riddarholm Church is primarily open to the public in the summer and a guided tour is included in the ticket price. Tours take place at noon daily in English during the open months and last around 45 minutes. Look out for the extensive programme of concerts and check the website for unannounced and seemingly random closures: they’re pretty common. Hours are shorter in the winter.
While you’re wandering around, look out for the coats of arms of the Royal Order of the Seraphim on the walls of the church – they’re erected when a knight dies and the day the funeral takes place the bells ring at Riddarholm non-stop for one hour.
Getting to Riddarholm Church
Riddarholm is on Riddarholmen – it’s most easily accessed via Gamla Stan metro station. Buses 3 and 53 stop at Riddarhustorget bus stop, and there’s also a ferry port a short walk away.