Laser F/X On-line Newsletter - Special Reports
Urström at the 1999 Stockholm Water Festival
Stadshuset is the Swedish name for the Stockholm City Hall. A beautiful building that occupies one end of one of the islands that make up downtown Stockholm. We paid 40 SEK each (about $4.85 US$) for the guided tour. Tours are available in a number of languages. This building is most well known as the site of the annual Nobel Prize dinner and festivities.
This is the working City Hall of Stockholm where politicians and civil servants can be glimpsed in the corridors. The central hall where the Nobel dinner is held contains one of Europe's largest pipe organs with over 15,000 pipes, The hall is also wider at one end than the other although nobody knows if this was intentionally done by the architect or was an accident of construction.
Upstairs, the ornate Stockholm council chambers have open rafters with a night sky painted on the ceiling above them. This is representative of the wooden 'ribs' of a Viking boat so it is as if the council meets each time under an overturned boat.
There are many beautiful hallways with tall windows and alcoves overlooking the city and waters of Stockholm. Some provided an excellent view of the Water Festival fountain.
The ornate "French room" is the only room that contains no Swedish materials since it was designed and built around a gift of French tapestries. This is also the room where civil marriages take place and our guide informed us that there are two versions of the ceremony, the long version lasting 4 minutes and the short version lasting 90 seconds!
The group moved on to the "blue room" which is very well known as it is the room where the Nobel prize winners are interviewed and the frescoes are often seen in the background of the photographs or TV broadcasts.
The last room is the 'gold room' elaborately decorated with mosaics depicting some of the history of Sweden and Stockholm. The background mosaics contain 23 carat gold. One end of the room is dominated by a huge image of a woman who represents a symbol of peace. She sits between figures representing the eastern and western worlds. When this room was completed in 1923, there was considerably controversy over this image proving that the Swedes love to criticize their public art!
After the tour ended, we took a stroll around the grounds and the beautifully manicured gardens of the City Hall.
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