Gripsholm Castle

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"Gripsholm" redirects here. For the ships, see MS Gripsholm.
Gripsholm Castle
Gripsholms slott view2.jpg
Water view of the castle
General information
Architectural style Renaissance
Town or city Mariefred
Country Sweden
Construction started 1537
Completed 1709
Design and construction
Architect Henrik von Cöllen

Gripsholm Castle (Swedish: Gripsholms slott) is a castle in Mariefred, Södermanland, Sweden. It is located by lake Mälaren in south central Sweden, in the municipality of Strängnäs, about 60 km west of Stockholm.[1]


Catherine Jagiellon and her son Sigismund in Gripsholm prison (National Museum in Warsaw).

A fortress was built at the location around 1380 by Bo Jonsson Grip, and belonged to his family until the confiscation of mansions and castles by King Gustav I in 1526. The King tore it down, and built a fortified castle with circular corner towers and a wall, for defensive purposes. Of the original medieval fortress, only the façade of a wall remains.

Since Gustav Vasa, Gripsholm has belonged to the Swedish Royal Family and was used as one of their residences until 1713. Between 1563 and 1567, King Eric XIV imprisoned his brother John and his consort Catherine Jagiellon in the castle. This was also one of the castles that King Eric was imprisoned in when John had overthrown him. John's son Sigismund, later the King of Poland and Sweden, was born in the castle on June 20, 1566.[2] Gustav IV Adolf and his family were also imprisoned in the castle in 1809 after his deposition from the throne. He had to sign his abdication document there.

Later years[edit]

Front view of the castle

The castle was again used as a prison between 1713 and 1773, before it was renovated by King Gustav III on behalf of his consort Sophia Magdalena. A theater was also added in one of the towers at this time.

Between 1889 and 1894, the castle underwent a heavy and controversial restoration by the architect Fredrik Lilljekvist during which many of the 17th and 18th-century alterations were removed.[3] The largest change was the addition of a third floor; the planned demolition of a wing did not take place.

Now the castle is a museum which is open to the public, containing paintings and works of art. Part of the castle houses the National Portrait Gallery (Statens porträttsamlingar), one of the oldest portrait collections in the world. [4] The museum includes a badly-stuffed lion which has become infamous in recent years.[5]



  1. ^ "Gripsholm Slott, (The Kingdom of Sweden)". Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  2. ^ "Gripsholm i Mariefred (Bengans historiasidor)". 2008-11-05. Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  3. ^ Hall, Melanie. Towards World Heritage: International Origins of the Preservation Movement, 1870-1930 (Heritage, Culture and Identity) Ashgate Publishing Co. 2011. Page 205. ISBN 978-1409407720
  4. ^ "About the Gripsholm Castle ( Stockholm Museums of Palaces and Castles)". Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  5. ^ "The Lion of Gripsholm Castle". Mentalfloss. Retrieved 22 February 2014. 

Other sources[edit]

  • Eriksson, Eva Den moderna stadens födelse: svensk arkitektur 1890-1920 (Ordfront, Stockholm: 1990) ISBN 91-7324-322-1
  • Strömbom, Sixten Gripsholm: slottet och dess samlingar 1537-1937 (Nordisk rotogravyr, Stockholm: 1937)
  • Tucholsky, Kurt "Schloss Gripsholm"

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 59°15′22″N 17°13′09″E / 59.25611°N 17.21917°E / 59.25611; 17.21917