The Hallwyl House

Enter the home of Count and Countess Walther and Wilhelmina von Hallwyl, one of Stockholm's most eccentric and engaging museums. This palatial residence was built as a winter home for the immensely rich couple, completed in 1898.

No 4 Hamngatan

Hallwyl House at No 4 Hamngatan was built between 1893-98 to designs by Isak Gustaf Clason (1856-1930), the most renowned architect in Sweden at the time. Among his other famous works is Nordiska Museet (The Nordic Museum).

Walther and Wilhelmina von Hallwyl wanted a Stockholm home built to their own specifications; Wilhelmina needed ample space for her steadily growing collections, and for Walther there was to be an office wing from which he could run the family business empire. During the years of construction, Wilhelmina kept a close watch on progress and often visited the building site.

No budget restrictions

Clason was, however, entrusted to choose a suitable style for the building, and he opted for a combination of Venetian Late Gothic and Early Spanish Renaissance, creating in effect a Mediterranean "palazzo" in the centre of Stockholm. Clason's eclectic approach is also evident in the interior - the main rooms were decorated in a variety of styles.

Unhampered by any budget restrictions the architect was able to use only the best materials and the most skilled craftsmen. The total building cost in 1898 was more than 1.5 million SEK, making Hallwyl House one of the most expensive private residences ever built in Sweden.

A modern house

In contrast to the architecture of the house, with its references to past styles, all manner of modern technology and conveniences were introduced at the outset - such as central heating (a hot air system) and electric lighting in every room. Hallwyl House was probably the first domestic building in Sweden to be thus equipped.

The house becomes a museum

Wilhelmina always planned for the house to become a museum, and in 1920 Walther and Wilhelmina von Hallwyl donated their Stockholm mansion together with its contents to the Swedish State. The terms of the bequest stipulate that the house must remain essentially unchanged.

Wilhelminas vision became a reality in 1938 when the Hallwyl Museum was first opened to the public, eight years after her death. The house has been preserved exactly as it was left, and situated among the objets d'art are personal peculiarities including a chunk of the Count's beard and a slice of their wedding cake.

Behind the facade of No 4 Hamngatan the wondrously preserved series of rooms, as originally furnished by Wilhelmina von Hallwyl, stands as a unique testimonial of the lifestyle and décor of the late Victorian period in Sweden.