With its idyllic waterfront location and distinctive brick-red walls and towers, Gripsholm is one of Scandinavia’s most beautiful and famous castles. In Germany, Gripsholm Castle is also known to many for the 1931 story of the same name by Kurt Tucholsky.
The Royal Castle of Gustav Vasa
The castle that was commissioned by Gustav Vasa in the 16th century is located approximately 70 km southeast of Stockholm on a small island in the Mälaren, not far from the city centre of Mariefred. In addition to its function as a defensive structure, the castle served over the centuries primarily as a representative residential building: both for Gustav Vasa himself, but also, for example, as the widow’s residence of the queens Maria Eleonora and Hedwig Eleonora.
Time and again, however, the castle was also used as a prison. One of the most prominent examples is the Swedish King Gustav IV Adolf, who was overthrown in 1809. He was imprisoned here for 8 months and then expelled from the country.
Gripsholm Castle and Kurt Tucholsky
In the German-speaking world, Gripsholm Castle became famous primarily through the novel of the same name by the Berlin-born writer Kurt Tucholsky (1890 – 1935). His love story, published in 1931, is one of the best-known works of the author, who emigrated to Sweden in 1931. His grave is also close to the castle: at his own request, his ashes were buried under an oak tree in the Mariefred cemetery in 1936.
The State Portrait Collection
Gripsholm Castle houses the State Portrait Collection of Sweden (statens porträttsamling) with over 5000 exhibits. Founded in 1822, the collection is one of the oldest in the world and, in addition to classical portraits, also includes images of important figures from Sweden’s recent history, such as Olof Palme, Benny Andersson and Astrid Lindgren.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
How do I get to Gripsholm Castle?
Tickets and prices
- Adults 130 kr SEK
- Students 65 kr SEK
- Children (0-6) have free entrance