Stockholm County's

The City of Stockholm is situated on fourteen islands and on the banks to the archipelago where Lake Mälaren meets the Baltic Sea. The city centre is virtually situated on the water.

Islands and islets
1. Beckholmen
2. Djurgården
3. Helgeandsholmen - Location of Riksdag Building.
4. Kastellholmen
5. Kungsholmen
6. Lilla Essingen (Smaller Essingen or The Small Essing)
7. Långholmen
8. Reimersholme
9. Riddarholmen
10. Skeppsholmen
11. Stadsholmen - Virtually synonymous with Gamla stan.
12. Stora Essingen (Larger Essingen or The Large Essing)
13. Strömsborg
14. Södermalm

Historical islands and islets:
1. Barkarholmen (also called Klosterholmen (‘The Abbey Islet’), today part of Helgeandsholmen)
2. Blasieholmen (also known as Käpplingen, transformed into a peninsula during the 18th century)
3. Blekholmen (‘The Pale Islet’, by land fillings made part of Norrmalm during the 18th century)
4. Kyrkholmen (‘The Church islet’, today part of Helgeandsholmen, today part of Blasieholmen)
5. Lilla Stockholm (‘Smaller Stockholm’, also known as Bryggeriholmen (‘The Brewery Islet’) and Slaktarholmen (‘The Butcher Islet’), today part of Helgeandsholmen)

Lakes and watercourses

The access to fresh water is excellent in Stockholm today, in contrast to the historically horrible state of things, when lakes and watercourses were used as refuse dumps and latrines, causing epidemic cholera and many other diseases. By the 1860s things changed, as water fetched from Årstaviken, the waters south of Södermalm, was treated in the first water-purifying plant at Skanstull and from there distributed through water mains.

In modern times the city gets its water from Lake Mälaren purified by plants at Norsborg and Lovön, together producing 350,000 m³ per day, which mean Stockholmers are consuming 200 litres per day in average. Water is purified at three plants at Bromma, Henriksdal and Loudden, together filtering some 400,000 m³ sewage per day from pollution, including nitrogen and phosphorus, before discharging it into the Baltic Sea.

Levels of several pollutants in lakes in the central parts of the city, especially on the western side, are far above average, including substances such as cadmium, copper, mercury, and lead. Decreasing usage of several of these substances have reduced these levels in the upper sediments of the lakes.

The Stockholm area used to contain a lot more lakes and watercourses than it does today, much due to land elevation, but also because of lake reclaims for settlements and health. Historical lakes, such as Fatburssjön on Södermalm and Träsket on Norrmalm, were filthy, stinking, and associated with the high mortality in Stockholm until the late 19th century. Other historical lakes, like Packartorgsviken and its interior part Katthavet, were filled with mud and equally stinky. Other lakes still present today were once much larger - such as Magelungen, Drevviken, Judarn, and Råstasjön - while some bays of today once were proper lakes - Brunnsviken and Hammarby sjö.

Like in many other urban areas, the lakes of Stockholm are directly affected by the city's sewer system and pollution from settlements, traffic, and industry. Sewers often reduces the catchment areas of smaller lakes by redirecting surface water to Lake Mälaren or Lake Saltsjön. While nutritious substances such as phosphorus and nitrogen are mostly derived from agriculture, urban areas produce high amounts of metals and organic compounds. In Stockholm, this mostly applies to central bays - such as Klara sjö, Årstaviken, Ulvsundasjön, Riddarfjärden, and Hammarby Sjö - but also waters surrounded by bungalows and villas - like Långsjön in Älvsjö.

* West Stockholm: Judarn; Kyrksjön; Råcksta Träsk;Lillsjön; Ulvsunda
* Djurgården: Laduviken; Lillsjön, Djurgården; Uggleviken; Isbladskärret; Lappkärret; Spegeldammen
* Tyresån water system: Magelungen; Drevviken; Flaten
* Sicklaån water system: Ältasjön; Ulvsjön; Söderbysjön; Sicklasjön; Dammtorpssjön; Källtorpssjön; Järlasjön
* Others: Långsjön; Trekanten

* Uggleviken

* Igelbäcken
* Sätraån
* Bällstaån-Spångaån
* Magelungsdiket
* Kräppladiket
* Forsån

Bays and Canals
* Lake Mälaren: Ulvsundasjön-Bällstaviken; Karlbergssjön-Klara Sjö; Årstaviken; Riddarfjärden; Långholmskanalen; Pålsundet; Ulvsundasjön; Söderström; Riddarholmskanalen; Klara sjö; Barnhusviken; Klarabergssjön; Karlbergskanalen; Tranebergssund; Vårbyfjärden
* Lake Saltsjön: Lilla Värtan; Djurgårdsbrunnskanalen; Djurgårdsbrunnsviken; Ladugårdslandsviken; Nybroviken; Norrström; Brunnsviken; Husarviken; Hammarby Sjö; Liljeholmsviken; Årstaviken; Danvikskanalen; Waldemarsviken; Beckholmssundet

Bridges and viaducts
The historical name for Stockholm Old Town was ‘The city between the bridges’ (Staden mellan broarna), a name which is still used for the entire city which spans over numerous islands, islets, and hills. During the course of centuries, the city has seen many bridges relieve each other.

In a urban code dated 1350, King Magnus IV (1316-1377) prescribed the bridges leading over Norrström and Söderström to be built and maintained by the city of Stockholm together with six other cities surrounding Lake Mälaren, as they were the only land passage between the provinces Uppland and Södermanland, north and south of the city respectively. Apparently, in the view of the king, the city, a hundred years after its foundation, still couldn't afford to maintain its own bridges.

Still, these first bridges were in no sense technically complicated or physically impressive, but rather simple wooden bridges, either floating bridges or beam bridges resting on poles or stone caissons, in either case with spans of no more than a few metres. The width probably corresponded to the directions for public roads, eight ell or 4,8 metres, which was probably more than enough for many centuries. The long and narrow bridges were easily demolish in case of siege, which besides the drawbridges, also necessary for the passing of ships, was an important defensive strategy. As the accounts of the city tells, spring floods and ice break-ups resulted in the frequent destruction of the bridges.

By the mid 17th century, the population of the city had resulted in settlements north and south of Gamla stan, on Norrmalm and Södermalm, and the number of bridges had grown considerably, if not their dimensions or quality. In a map dated 1640, three bridges connects Stadsholmen to Norrmalm passing over Helgeandsholmen, at the time still a group of islets; while two bridges close to each other lead over to Riddarholmen. Several new bridges of considerable length connected Norrmalm to the islets west and east of it; Blasieholmen, at the time still an islet, was connected to the mainland by a bridge called Näckenströms bro, and northward to present day Strandvägen by Stora Ladugårdslandsbron, a 190 metres long bridge on poles; and to the west a bridge connected Norrmalm to Kungsholmen over Blekholmen, a now non-existent islet. By the end of the 17th century, population growth resulted in an additional bridge north of Stadsholmen.

One of the oldest bridges was located where today Stallbron is found, immediately south of the Parliament Building. The first stone bridge, Norrbro, was built in front of the Royal Palace under Gustav III.

Not until the 20th century, Stockholm was able to surpass the straits and bays surrounding the city. Half of the about 30 bridges in central Stockholm were built 1920–50, most of them during the 1930s. This development was due to increasing traffic loads caused by a fivefold increase of vehicles in the 1920s. At Slussen, passing ships caused stationary rows of trams several hundreds metres long. The situation was solved when a traffic committee in 1930 could present the so-called ‘clover-leaf solution’ of engineer Gösta Lundborg and architect Tage William-Olsson inaugurated in 1935. The modernity of the solution put Stockholm in a state of rapture and impressed even Le Corbusier, who praised the scale of the construction and invited the world to follow the example of Stockholm.

Meanwhile, across the Riddarfjärden bay, construction works had started on Västerbron, the large bridge offering a north-south passage west of the historical city centre. Designed by architects David Dahl and Paul Hedqvist and engineered by Ernst Nilsson and Salomon Kasarnowski, Västerbron became the first large bridge designed by this quartet. Tranebergsbron was inaugurated in 1934, with its span of 200 m, for a few years the world's longest span. These large-scale bridges not only tied various parts of the city together, but their mere size changed the cityscape permanently. Considerably smaller but during the decade equally praised was the small Riksbron designed by Ragnar Östberg.
See also: List of bridges in Stockholm

National parks and nature reserves
The nature reserves in Stockholm involves regulations affecting both landowners and the general public by regulating usage of insecticides and fertilizers, construction of bridges, lighting of fires, camping, anchoring, and keeping unleashed dogs. A plan for the care and development of a nature reserve often means the city as well as private landowners are obliged to guarantee the maintenance of the area.

There is one national park, Nationalstadsparken, and two major nature reserves in Stockholm, Kyrksjölöten and Judarskogen, while Hansta is likely to become one soon. Transforming the other areas listed below into nature reserves is being investigated, as they all are regarded to be of great recreational and biological value.

* Judarskogen
* Kyrksjölöten
* Hansta
* Järvafältet
* Kyrkhamn-Lövsta
* Grimsta-Blackeberg
* Sätraskogen
* Årstaskogen and Årsta holmar
* Älvsjöskogen
* Flaten
* Hammarbyskogen and Nacka Open-Air Area
* Fagersjöskogen and Farstanäset
* Rågsved Open-Air Area

* Riddarfjärden, Riddarholmskyrkan
* Stockholms ström
* Gamla Stan
* Norrmalmstorg
* Sergels Torg
* Djurgården, Gröna Lund
* Norrmalm
* Östermalm
* Södermalm
* Slussen
* Riddarholmskyrkan
* Sager House, Rosenbad
* Stockholm City Hall
* Royal Palace in Stockholm

The city is divided into 18 boroughs as regulated by the City Council. In looser terms, the city is also divided into three major parts:

* Stockholm City Centre (Innerstaden)
* South Stockholm (Söderort)
* West Stockholm (Västerort)

Surrounding the city is the Stockholm Metropolitan Area.


Beckholmen (Swedish: ‘Pitch Islet’) is a small island in central Stockholm, Sweden.

Having served the city's shipping industry for centuries, Beckholmen is now regarded as a historical monument of national interest, and, by its location just south of Djurgården in the vicinity of other similar localities (including Skeppsholmen, Kastellholmen, Djurgårdsvarvet, and Blasieholmen) it also forms part of Ekoparken, the National City Park, and Stockholms Sjögård (literally, ‘Sea homestead of Stockholm’), an area of the harbour of Stockholm containing maritime environments of historical interest.

The original name of the island, Biskopsholmen (‘Bishop's Islet’) and other similar local names such as Biskopsudden (‘Bishop's Point’), is associated with the priory in Klara (formerly located on the eastern part of Kungsholmen) to which the surrounding area was donated by King Magnus Ladulås (1240-1290), who in turn took it over from the archbishop and chapter in Uppsala in 1286.

Set up in 1633, a private pitch boilery started to produce pitch (by boiling tar) on the island, pitch at the time being both frequently used at the city's abundant shipyards and an important national trade item. The operations must have had quite an impact, since Queen Christina (1626-1689) when handing the area over to the city in 1647, explains she wished to see storehouses built on Bäck- eller Tiärholmen (The ‘Pitch’ or ‘Tar Islet’) for ‘the advantage and benefit of the city and the residents’. Thus having both its name and reputation set, the islet was bestowed a tar distilling workshop, originally intended for the north-eastern shores of Södermalm, replacing the boilery during the 1680s. Private entrepreneurs took charge of the island in 1717 and, in spite of a devastating fire in 1723, developed it into an important part of their trading house.

As Sweden lost its last war in 1809 it also lost Finland, the major source of raw material for the capital's tar industry, and during the first half of the 19th century the workshops on the island were passed back and forth between different owners. In 1848 however, the growing number of steamships produced a need for new shipyards, and for the purpose Beckholmen was bought by the city's wholesalers and shipping industry. The first two dry docks, 75 and 45 metres long respectively and provided with a steam-driven pumping-station, were thus burst out of the islands bedrock the following year, while the first bridge connecting the island to Djurgården, Beckholmsbron, was built. The docks were extended in two stages during the 1870s and 1890s to their present length, 102 and 99 metres.

The island was bought by the city in 1918 and subsequently handed over to the Swedish Navy administration who had the third dock built 1923-1925. It was inaugurated by King Gustav V, and thus named ‘The GV-dock’, and extended to 197 metres twenty years later. Two local landmarks, well-known to most Stockholmers, cranes decorated as giraffes, were relocated to Beckholmen in 1988 from their original location at Södra Hammarbyhamnen.

As of 2007, The Royal Djurgården Administration (Kungliga Djurgårdens Förvaltning, KDF) have taken over the management of the island, now included into the National City Park and protected as a historical monument. The large GV-dock is still in commercial use, run by the private entrepreneur GV Varv AB, while the two older docks are operated by a foundation and a society devoted to historical maritime sites and sailing ships, Stiftelsen Skärgårdsbåten and Sveriges Segelfartygsförening. To financially safeguard the continuity of the operations on Beckholmen and the maintenance of quays and parks, the city is expected to set up an agreement of investments with the administration, while the State will be required to finance some of the historical monuments on the island, including the docks. An environmental analysis in 1998-2005 have shown centuries of shipping activities on the island have produced high amounts of excreted lead, mercury, arsenic, and PAHs both on the island itself and on the sea bed surrounding it, and it have been estimated the island alone is responsible for some 10 per cent of the discharge in the outer Stockholm Harbour. The National Property Administration (Statens Fastighetsverk) together with the Djurgården administration therefore have applied for additional funds from the County Administrative Board (Länsstyrelsen) for necessary sanitary operations.

Though most of the shipping trade since long have abandoned the harbour of Stockholm, and icebreakers, until recently stationed in the city harbour, are driven out because they are said to intimidate tourists, Beckholmen remains a living maritime environment, carefully preserving its heritage and throughout the year minding ships of all sizes, ages, and materials.


Ignatiigränd (Swedish: ‘Ignatius's Alley’) is an alley in Gamla stan, the old town in central Stockholm, Sweden. Stretching from Västerlånggatan to Stora Nygatan, it forms a parallel street to Göran Hälsinges Gränd and Gåsgränd.

The alley is called Mårten Klinks gränd (‘Mårten Klink's alley’) in 1606 in reference to a local proprietor and in 1661 it is referred to as Mårten Klinkas eller Ignatij Grendh (‘Mårten Klink's or Ignatius's alley’). The latter was a famous printer named Ignatius Meurer (1589-1672) who was, according to a memorial verse found in the Royal Library, born in Blankenburg, Schwarzburg, Germany, immigrated to Stockholm in 1610 and eventually through marriage became the owner of a printing workshop and settled in the block north of the alley. He is known to have produced the city law of 1628, introducing the Antiqua typeface in Sweden.

The first element of the name, Ignatii-, is the Latin genitive form of Ignatius (e.g. Ignatius's; of Ignatius).änd


Djurgården more officially, Kungliga Djurgården (Swedish: 'The (Royal) Game Park') is an island in central Stockholm. Since the 15th century the Swedish monarch has owned or held the right of disposition of Royal Djurgården. Today the King holds the right of disposition of the area and manages it through The Royal Djurgården Administration which is a part of the Swedish Royal Court. Besides the small residential area Djurgårdsstaden, there are historical buildings and monuments, museums, galleries, the amusement park Gröna Lund, the open air museum Skansen, and extensive stretches of forest and meadows on the island. It is one of the Stockholmers' favorite recreation areas and tourist destination alike, today attracting over 10 million visitors per year, of which some 5 million come to visit the museums and amusement park. A larger area of the city, separated from Djurgården proper by Djurgårdsbrunnsviken is Norra Djurgården (Northern Djurgården), including Gärdet and the major part of the National City park founded in 1995.

Djurgården was until the 16th century known as Valmundsö (spelled Walmunzø (1286), Walmundzø (1288), Walmanzö (1349), Wadhmundzøø (1432), Wadhmalsø (1437), Wadmalsö (1444), Walmundzön (1452), Walmasöön (1511), Walmarsöö (1516), Wallmarsön, Waldemarksön (17th c.)) and this name is still preserved in locations such as Waldemarsudde. Though several proposals to explain this name have been put forward, no authoritative explanation is generally accepted. While the name of King Valdemar (1239 – 1302) was probably associated with the old name during the 17th century, the separate elements of the original variations of the name might be interpreted as etymologically related to either Walm-und-ö - if walm is linked to the Anglo-Saxon words wielm, wylm, this would mean the original name should be interpreted as 'The island outside of which the waves grow large' (an interpretation with no equivalents in other Nordic geographic names) - or Wal-mund-ö - which could possibly be interpreted as walder ('embankment', 'grounds') and mun ('mouth'), i.e. 'the grounds next to the mouth of Lake Mälaren'.

The present name, Djurgården, stems from the game park of King John III, which he declared the intention to realize in February 1579 to keep deers, reindeers, and elks. In the 17th century a baiting arena was built at the location.

In 1667, a few cottages intended for 'paralysed and crippled seafarers' were built forming what was to become Djurgårdsstaden. The Swedish Navy moved to Karlskrona during the 1680s however, and the neighbourhood was instead populated by a diverse crowd. Plans to demolish the 'insignificant shacks' in front of the World Fair in 1897, and for a planned expansion of the naval shipyard in 1918, never were accomplished and the area is today protected as a historical monument.

During the late 18th century, Djurgården transformed into more of a popular recreational area than a Royal game park; in 1801, the theatre Djurgårdsteatern was opened, which was to be one of the most popular establishements there during the 19th century. King Charles XIV John's creation of the Rosendal Palace in the 1820s marked the beginning of Djurgården's development into as a stately residential area, paired with the creation of several entertainment establishment in the late 19th century, including Gröna Lund 1883, and Skansen 1891.

The western water front of the island was a small scale shipyard during the late 17th and early 18th centuries, after which the Navy erected some 30 sheds for the winter quarters of galleys in the area. The operations expanded during the 1870s when a dry dock was constructed. Plans to relocate the shipyard in the beginning of the 20th century were interrupted by WW2, which meant the activities grew considerably instead, culminating in 1945 when 1,280 people were employed. In 1969, the Navy moved to Muskö, and in the early 1970s the area was transformed into the recreation area it is today.

Many structures on the western part of Djurgården date back to the Stockholm World's Fair of 1897, including Djurgårdsbron, the main bridge to the island. One of the most prominent buildings of the exposition, a 16,820 m² exposition hall in wood, design by the architect Ferdinand Boberg and featuring a 100 metres tall cupola and 4 minarets, was demolished after the exposition however, together with many other pavilions built in non-permanent materials.

In what is today the southern part of the amusement park Gröna Lund and east of it, a private shipyard was developed from 1735 by the merchant Efraim Lothsack, who also had several new residential buildings built. The activities grew during the 19th century under the managership of John Burgman and Adolf Fredholm, of which the former had the church, Djurgårdskyrkan, and the school, Djurgårdsskolan, built. The shipyard was sold to the city in 1863 and moved to Södra Hammarbyhamnen in 1979. Another shipyard for pinnaces, built in the strait between Djurgården and Beckholmen in 1868, is still in operation.

The southern portion of the area hosted the Stockholm International Exhibition (1930).ården

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