Sweden

“Stockholm in my Heart…”

The Capital of Sweden has a fresh, lovely atmosphere. Stockholm is situated by the west coast of Sweden, in the “Skjærgård” – the Archipelago – specially know in Sweden. Stockholm is built on 14 island, connected by 57 bridges. The beautiful buildings, the greenery, the fresh air and the proximity to the water are distinctive traits of this city. ("Stockholm in my heart" is a beautiful song written by the famous Swedish singer Lasse Berghagen.)
 

 

Stockholm Royal Palace
The Royal Palace is the official residence of His Majesty the King of Sweden, with over 600 rooms, and one of the largest in Europe.
The Palace is open to the public and offers no less than five museums. The Palace was largely built during the eighteenth century in the Italian Baroque style, on the spot where the “Tre Kronor” castle burned down in 1697. Visit the reception rooms with splendid interiors from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Rikssalen (the Hall of State) with Queen Kristina’s silver throne, and Ordenssalarna (Halls of the Orders of Chivalry). You can also see Gustav III’s Museum of Antiquities, the Tre Kronor Museum and the Treasury. The Royal Palace also contains the Armory, with royal costumes and armor, as well as coronation carriages and magnificent coaches from the Royal Stable.

Gamla Stan (The Old City)
“Gamla Stan” is one of the largest and best preserved medieval city centers in Europe, and one of the foremost attractions in Stockholm. This is where Stockholm was founded in 1252.
All of Gamla Stan and the adjacent island of “Riddarholmen” are like a living pedestrian-friendly museum full of sights, attractions, restaurants, cafés, bars and places to shop. Gamla Stan is also popular with aficionados of handicrafts, curios and souvenirs. The narrow winding cobblestone streets, with their buildings in so many different shades of gold, give Gamla Stan its unique character. Even now cellar vaults and frescoes from the Middle Ages can be found behind the visible facades, and on snowy winter days the district feels like something from a story book.

There are several beautiful churches and museums in Gamla Stan, including Sweden’s national cathedral Stockholm Cathedral and the Nobel Museum. In the middle of Gamla Stan is Stortorget, the oldest square in Stockholm. Stortorget is the central point from which runs Köpmangatan, the oldest street in Stockholm, which was mentioned as early as the fourteenth century. Mårten Trotzigs gränd (Mårten Trotzigs alley) is hard to find. It’s the narrowest alley in Gamla Stan, only 3 feet wide at its narrowest point. Riddarholmen Church is the royal burial church, and was built as a Franciscan monastery for the so-called Grey Brother monks in the thirteenth century.

The Vasa Museum
The Vasa is the only preserved seventeenth-century ship in the world, and a unique art treasure. More than 95 percent of the ship is original, and it is decorated with hundreds of carved sculptures.
The 69 meter-long warship Vasa sank on its maiden voyage in the middle of Stockholm in 1628, and was salvaged 333 years later in 1961. For nearly half a century the ship has been slowly, deliberately and painstakingly restored to a state approaching its original glory. The three masts on the roof outside the specially built museum show the height of the ship’s original masts. Today the Vasa Museum is the most visited museum in Scandinavia, with over one million visitors a year. There are ten different exhibitions around the ship to tell about life on board the ship.

Skansen Open-Air Museum
Skansen consists of the oldest open-air museum in the world and the Stockholm zoo, with a beautiful location on Royal Djurgården and a view over all of Stockholm.
Skansen is a favorite both among Stockholmers and visitors passing through, and it’s a perfect family outing. At Skansen you can learn about traditional crafts and traditions. This is the place to visit historic Sweden in miniature. 150 farms and dwellings from different parts of the country were disassembled and transported here. You’ll find charming town districts with glass blowing, pottery, a tinsmith’s workshop and a bakery, a gold-colored manor house, the Skogaholm manor house, the beautiful eighteenth-century Seglora wooden church and the The museum shop is a must for fans of traditional handicrafts. You can also see all of the animals native to Scandinavia such as moose, bears, lynxes, wolves, wolverines and seals.
Swedish traditions such as Midsummer, Walpurgis Night and Lucia are celebrated at Skansen. Skansen in the Christmas season is a special event, with a Christmas market, traditional Swedish julbord (Christmas buffet) and hopefully snow.

Swedish Music Hall of Fame & ABBA The Museum
Finally, the music, the clothes, the lyrics, musicals, and films of ABBA have been gathered in Stockholm and will be displayed in a permanent exhibition. Swedish popular music has also been honored with a dedicated museum in the Swedish Music Hall of Fame. Modern, interactive, and – of course – non-stop music. This is a place where you walk and dance out!
ABBA The Museum is part of the Swedish Music Hall of Fame, which opened May 7, 2013.

Denmark

“Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen…”
These words are from the movie “Hans Christian Andersen” from 1952, starring “Danny Kaye”. And Copenhagen is forever Wonderful.
Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark, and the premier capital of Northern Europe. The city is one of Europe’s oldest capitals with a Royal touch – the monarchy in Denmark is the oldest in the world!

   
Amalienborg Palace
Amalienborg Palace is the winter residence of the Danish royal family in Copenhagen. It consists of four identical palace exteriors with rococo interiors that create an octagonal courtyard. A majestic equestrian statue of Amalienborg’s founder, King Frederick V, lies in the center of the courtyard, created by French sculptor Jacques-Francos-Josephy Saly.
Amalienborg was originally built as manor houses for four noble families; however, when Christiansborg Palace suffered fire damage in 1794, the royal family bought the palaces and moved in. Over the years various royal families have resided in the four different palaces.
The change of royal guards every day at noon, you can watch the change of guards in the courtyard. When HM the Queen is in residence, the ceremony is called The King’s Watch (Kongevagt) and the guards are accompanied by the Royal Guards music band.

The Little Mermaid (Den Lille Havfrue)
The Little Mermaid statue rests on a rock in the harbor of Copenhagen. Based on the fairy tale by acclaimed Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, the modest but beautiful statue is a Copenhagen icon and a major tourist attraction. Carl Jacobsen asked sculptor Edvard Eriksen to create the statue, which was unveiled in August of 1913.
The sculpture is made of bronze and granite and was inspired by Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale about a mermaid who gives up everything to be united with a young, handsome prince on land. Every morning and evening she swims to the surface from the bottom of the sea and, perched on her rock in the water, she stares longingly towards the shore hoping to catch a glimpse of her beloved prince.

Nyhavn
Nyhavn was originally a busy commercial port where ships from all over the world would dock. The area was packed with sailors, ladies of pleasure, pubs, and alehouses.
Today the beautiful old houses have been renovated and classy restaurants dominate the old port. Nyhavn is filled with people enjoying the relaxed atmosphere by the canal, jazz music and great food.

No. 9, Nyhavn, is the oldest house in the area dating back to 1681. The design of the house has not been altered since that time. Many of the houses lining the quays of Nyhavn have been the homes of prominent artists. Hans Christian Andersen used to live in no. 20. This is where he wrote the fairy-tales ‘the Tinder-Box’, ‘Little Claus and Big Claus’, and ‘the Princess and the Pea’. He also lived twenty years in no. 67 and two years in no. 18.

Carlsberg Brewery
Carlsberg is among the largest tourist attractions in Copenhagen and now you have the opportunity to get closer to the roots of Carlsberg, the history, and the beer. The Old Carlsberg Brewery from 1847 has been converted into a modern centre for visitors covering 30,000 sq.ft. In the courtyard is a smaller replica of the Little Mermaid Statue that Carl Jacobsen donated to Copenhagen. The unique displays and interactive exhibitions take you on a trip through the world’s largest collection of beer bottles, the history of beer, and the Carlsberg development. The tour also brings you through a sculpture garden, award-winning stables, and a souvenir shop. The tour ends in the bar which is located on the first floor of the brewery and here you can sample some of the products with a view to the characteristic copper vessels.

Kongens Nytorv (Kings New Square)
Nytorv (the new square) is separated from Gammeltorv (the old square) by Strøget, the main shopping street. It was founded in 1606 thus only being ‘new’ compared to the other half of the square. This is where the old pillory and iron collar pole were situated for public punishing of criminals. Both squares were completely demolished by the great fire which destroyed much of the center of Copenhagen in 1795. On the site the present Court Building was erected in classical style and high on the wall of the Den Danske Bank you will find a memorial plaque for the Danish poet and philosopher Søren Kierkegaard – this was the site of the building, no longer in existence, where his flat was situated.

Amagertorv
The square has existed since the Middle Ages when it was a fish market and later vegetables from the farms on the island of Amager. This use as market place ceased in 1868 and today Amager Torv and the Stork Fountain is a popular meeting place for the Copenhageners.

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