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(stŏk`hôlm'), city (1995 pop. 692,954), capital of Sweden and of Stockholm co., E Sweden, situated where Lake Mälaren flows into the Baltic Sea. It is Sweden's largest city and its economic, transportation, administrative, and cultural center. Manufactures include machinery, textiles, clothing, paper, chemicals, communications equipment, motor vehicles, rubber, processed food, printed materials, porcelain, and liquor. The city also has a large port and an important shipbuilding industry. It is the seat of Sweden's principal stock exchange.

Landmarks and Institutions

Architecturally, modern Stockholm is one of the finest cities in the world, with broad streets, many parks, and well-planned housing projects. Often called the "Venice of the North," it is built on several peninsulas and islands (including Städsholmen, Riddarholmen, Kungsholmen, and Södermalm islands). Its large bodies of water contribute to a feeling of spaciousness in the city.

Stockholm's most famous landmark is probably the new city hall (1911–23), which faces Lake Mälaren; designed by the Swedish architect Ragnar Östberg, it is an impressive modern interpretation of the characteristic Scandinavian Renaissance style. Also well-known are the large residential districts of cooperative houses that have helped make Stockholm a virtually slumless city.

On Städsholmen, which has retained much of its medieval character, are the Church of St. Nicholas or Storkyrka [great church], dating from the 13th cent.; the Church of St. Gertrude, or the German Church, originally built for the Hanseatic merchants; and several old Hanseatic houses. Also on the island are the Great Square, where the Stockholm massacre began; the Riddarhuset [assembly hall of the nobility], a 17th-century structure in the Dutch Renaissance style and with heroic statues; Tessin Palace (18th cent.); and the Royal Palace, built (1754) in Italian Renaissance style.

Stockholm is the seat of a university (founded 1877), a technical university, a school of economics, and royal academies of music, science, art, and medicine. A Nobel institute is also located there, and the Nobel prizes (except the Peace Prize) are awarded in the city. Also of note are the opera house (opened 1898); the Royal Dramatic Theatre (opened 1908); numerous museums, including the large Skansen open-air museum, a modern art museum (1998), the Vasa Museum (which houses a partially restored 16th cent. warship raised from Stockholm harbor), and the Museum of National Antiquities, with its collection of gold and silver artifacts; and a zoological garden. Stockholm has a lively musical, theatrical, and literary life.


Founded in the mid-13th cent. on the site of a fishing village, Stockholm became an important trade center, dominated by the Hanseatic League (especially Lübeck). In 1520, Christian II of Denmark and Norway proclaimed himself also king of Sweden at Stockholm; a large number of Swedish nobles had gathered to attend the coronation, and Christian instigated the massacre of about 100 of the anti-Danish nobility. The Stockholm massacre led to the successful uprising of Swedes under Gustavus Vasa, who became king of Sweden as Gustavus I (1523–60). Gustavus made Stockholm the center of his kingdom and ended the privileges there of the Hanseatic merchants. Stockholm was made the official capital of Sweden in 1634, about the same time that it became a European intellectual center under Queen Christina, whose court attracted the philosopher Descartes and others. Stockholm's modern industrial development dates from the mid-19th cent.; it grew from a city of about 100,000 inhabitants in 1850 to one of about 300,000 in 1900. The 1912 Olympic games were held there.

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the capital and main economic and cultural center of Sweden. Stockholm is situated on the banks of the Norröstrorn waterway, which links Lake Mälar with Saltsjön, an arm of the Baltic Sea, and with several islands. The climate is temperate maritime. The winter is relatively mild, with an average January temperature of –3°C, and the summer is cool, with an average July temperature of 18°C. Rains and strong winds are frequent during the summer. The annual precipitation is about 600 mm.

The area of Stockholm proper is 186.4 sq km (including suburbs, 453 sq km). Greater Stockholm, which occupies an area of about 3,500 sq km, includes the cities of Solna, Sundbyberg, Nacka, and Lidingö, as well as a number of suburban communes (such as Skärholmen and Sollentuna). The population of Stockholm proper is 670,000 (1976). Greater Stockholm has a population of 1,357,000, which constitutes about 17 percent of Sweden’s total population.

As of 1970, 28 percent of Stockholm’s work force was employed in industry, 22 percent in trade and finance, 10 percent in transportation and communications, 8 percent in construction, and 30 percent in government, science, education, and public health.

Administration. Stockholm’s chief body of local self-government is the city assembly, whose representatives are elected by the general populace every three years. A city collegium is elected from and by the assembly to oversee the general administration of various municipal committees and councils for one year. The various committees and councils, which deal with matters of local finances, public health, and education, report directly to the borgarmd, a city council elected by the city assembly. Since 1968 the central administration has exercised control over local self-government.

History. Settlements on the site of present-day Stockholm arose during the first centuries A.D. There is documentary evidence to show that Stockholm was founded by Birger Jarl in 1252. In the middle of the 13th century, Stockholm obtained city status, and by the late 14th century it was regarded as the principal city of Sweden. In the Middle Ages it was Sweden’s major artisan center and an important commercial port. The first guilds in Sweden appeared in Stockholm in 1356.

During the struggle for the abrogation of the Union of Kalmar, the Stockholm militia played a crucial role in the battle of Brunkeberg (1471). In the early 16th century the Danish king Christian II fought for control of the city, seeking to reestablish the union (see). In the 16th and 17th centuries, Stockholm’s economic and political importance grew. The city’s population increased from 10,000 in about 1630 to 43,000 by the 1670’s. In the late 17th century, Stockholm became a major exporter of iron and cast iron. In March 1848 political disturbances and clashes with troops took place in the city. The capitalist industrialization of Sweden, which began in the 1860’s, was accompanied by a rapid growth in Stockholm’s population. The number of inhabitants increased from 93,000 in 1850 to more than 300,000 in 1900. Large-scale industry developed, private banks were established, and the city was linked by railroad to Göteborg, Malmö, and other cities.

Stockholm has been the site of numerous international congresses and conferences. The fourth (Unity) congress of the RSDLP was held in the city in 1906. V. I. Lenin was in Stockholm several times. The Permanent Committee of the World Congress of Partisans for Peace met in Stockholm in March 1950 and adopted an appeal calling for a ban on nuclear weapons; the committee met again in the city in June 1975, this time adopting an appeal calling for an end to the arms race and for disarmament. The World Conference of Peace Forces on Vietnam was held in Stockholm in 1967, and the Conference for Emergency Action in Defense of Vietnam, with representatives from more than 50 countries, was convened in the city in 1969.

Economy. Greater Stockholm accounts for 10 percent of Sweden’s industrial production; the city proper accounts for about 7 percent. The main branches of industry are machine building and metalworking, which employ more than half of the industrial and office workers of Greater Stockholm. About 15 percent of Sweden’s entire machine-building output is produced by enterprises of Greater Stockholm. Electrical engineering and radioelectron-ics are the main sectors of the machine-building industry, employing one-fourth of the region’s industrial workers and accounting for more than one-third of Sweden’s output of electrical and electronic products. Machine building is also represented by the production of equipment for the food industry, compressors, pneumatic tools, office machinery, and motor vehicles.

Printing is a major industry, employing 10 percent of the industrial workers of Greater Stockholm; the region accounts for more than 30 percent of the country’s printing employment. There also is food industry, light industry, and pharmaceuticals and chemical industry. Industry is located primarily in the northwestern and southwestern suburbs, as well as in the cities of Solna, Sundbyberg, and Nacka. The country’s major banks and the headquarters of the leading corporations are located in Stockholm.

The depth of the Saltsjön ensures passage of sea vessels into the port. Stockholm ranks fourth in Sweden in freight turnover; in 1974 the freight turnover was 5.4 million tons. Stockholm is a junction of electrified rail lines and high-speed highways; it is connected by ferry with Turku, Finland. The city has an international airport at Arlanda and a domestic airport at Bromma. The subway system had 70 km of track in 1973.

Architecture. The historical center of Stockholm is Gamla Sta-nen, or Old Town, whose medieval grid plan has been partially preserved. To the east, in the Saltsjön, are the picturesque islands of Skeppsholmen and Djurgrden. The Skansen open-air museum is located on Djurgrden. Norrmalm, the main commercial, administrative, and cultural center of Stockholm, is the site of the new Riksdag building, the old university building, the headquarters of banks and corporations, department stores, the opera house, the central railroad station, and the city’s main street (Kungsgatan). In the center of Norrmalm—near Hötorget and Sergelstorg—a large complex of commercial buildings, linked by multilevel passages and special pedestrian malls, has been built. The southern part of Stockholm—Södermalm—is primarily residential. Broad expanses of greenery and waterways are characteristic of Stockholm.

Notable examples of 13th-century Romanesque-Gothic church architecture include the Storkyrka (Great Church) and Riddar-holms Kyrka. In the 17th century numerous religious and secular buildings combining elements of the late Renaissance and the baroque were erected, for example, the Tyska Kyrka (German Church, c. 1640, architect H. J. Kristler). The royal summer palace (Drottningholm) near Stockholm (from 1662, architect N. Tessin the Elder) and the Royal Palace (1697–1760, architects N. Tessin the Younger and others) are outstanding examples of the Swedish mature baroque style. In the 18th century the rococo style spread in architecture, as seen in the Stock Exchange (1768–76, architects C. J. Cronstedt and E. Palmstedt). National romanticism was the prevailing architectural style in the late 19th and early 20th centuries (for example, the city hall, 1911–23, architect R. Ostberg), and functionalism became popular in the 1930’s (for example, the forest crematorium and park, 1935—40, architect E. G. Asplund).

A general plan for Stockholm was approved in the 1950’s and is now being implemented under the direction of S. Markelius. The plan is based on semiautonomous districts divided by green belts (Vällingby in the west and Farsta in the south). The suburban communes of Skärholmen and Botkyrka are being developed in the southwest.

Educational, scientific, and cultural institutions. Among the educational institutions located in Stockholm are the University of Stockholm, the Royal Institute of Technology, the Medical University (Karolinska Institutet), the Veterinary College, Stockholm School of Economics, the State College of Music, and the Royal Academy Art School. The most important scientific institutions are the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry, the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, the Stockholm Observatory, the Swedish Academy, the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, the Royal Academy of Music, and the Royal Academy of Letters, History, and Antiquities.

Museums in the city include the National Museum, the Ethnographical Museum of Sweden, the City Museum, the National Historical Museum, the Nordic Museum, the Swedish Museum of Natural History, the National Maritime Museum, Skansen (an open-air museum of ancient village structures and utensils), the Millesgárden Museum, and the Warship Vasa Museum. The largest libraries are the Royal Library (Lenin was a reader here), the City Library of Stockholm, and the library of the University of Stockholm.

As of 1975, there were more than 25 theaters in operation in Stockholm, including the Royal Opera, the Royal Dramatic Theater, the Drottningholm Opera, and the Folkets Dramatic Theater. The city also has concert halls. The largest of them is Kon-serthuset. The city is the site of the Drama Institute, the State Drama School, the State School of Dance, and the Swedish Circus Academy.


Khomutetskii, N. F. Stokgol’m. Leningrad, 1969.
Studier och handlingar rörande Stockholms historia, vols. 1–3. Stockholm, 1938–66.
Andersson, H. O., and F. Bedoire. Stockholms byggnader. Stockholm, 1973.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


the capital of Sweden, a port in the E central part at the outflow of Lake Mälar into the Baltic: situated partly on the mainland and partly on islands; traditionally founded about 1250; university (1877). Pop.: 765 582 (2004 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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