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Kungsholmen  (King's Island) is an island in the Lake Mälaren part of central Stockholm. First founded by Franciscan Friars from Grey Friars Abbey in the 15th century, they lived there farming and fishing until they were expelled during the Swedish Reformation, after which the crown took over. At the end of the 16th century Johan III added a brickyard and later Queen Kristina donated large plots of lands to Generals from the Thirty Years War. It became a center of commerce later, as artisans and manufacturers were allowed to produce goods without having to belong to a guild. The island was now a separate entity renamed Kungsholmen, and industry thrived while the population swelled to 26,000 by 1890. In the early 20th century the industry moved from Kungsholmen and housing and public institutions rose in their place. Today it is largely residential area, and it was our base of operations for most of our Stockholm visit, courtesy of our hosts Lotta and Bo. Our stay afforded us the opportunity to sample the charms of Kungsholmen.

Parkteatern:Kungsholmen's "Theater in the Park"
Elvira MadiganOur first night we took a short bike ride to the south central part of the island to Rålambshovsparken to an outdoor performance of Elvira Madigan, a famous love story about the circus artist Elvira Madigan and the lieutenant and the nobleman Sixten Sparre. The couple was found dead on the Danish island of Tåsinge in July 1889. Next to them was the lieutenant's service gun. In this performance, the tale is updated with a decidedly modern twist, questioning whether the suicide was an act of free will, dying for love? The drama is interspersed with acrobatics and music. The photo to the right shows the posters heralding the performance, while the photo to the left captures the performance from our vantage point.

Stockholm City Hall:
Stockholm City HallThe Stockholm City Hall (Stockholms stadshus) is the building of the Municipal Council for the City of Stockholm in Sweden. It stands on the eastern tip of Kungsholmen island, next to Riddarfjärden's northern shore and facing the islands of Riddarholmen and Södermalm. It houses offices and conference rooms as well as ceremonial halls, and the luxury restaurant Stadshuskällaren. It is the venue of the Nobel Prize banquet and is one of Stockholm's major tourist attractions. Below is a panorama of the building, seen from the inner courtyard.

Panorama of Stockholm City Hall

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Aerial ViewIn the St. Erik area of Kungholmen near where our hosts lived was an interesting architectural development known as the Grubbensringen. The area was originally owned by Hans Vilhelm Grubb in the middle of the 18th century and later by the Commercial Council Michael  Grubb and from there the area derives the first part of its name. The second part of the name derives from the pair of semi-circular set of houses shown in the photo to the left, which enclose a small park. All told, the complex stretches from the waterfront to Fleminggatan, the main street of Kungsholmen. Once an area for housing the indigent and the mentally ill, it is now an upscale residential areas. The history of Grubbensringen and its buildings is recounted in the virtual tour below.

Virtual Tour of Grubbensringen

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