Stockholm's government quarter

Article

January 18, 2022

Stockholm's government quarter, also called the Ministry City, is located on Nedre Norrmalm in Stockholm. The area is gathered around Fredsgatan and Drottninggatan's southern part and consists of ten blocks: Rosenbad, Lejonet, Vinstocken, Johannes greater, Tigern, Röda bodarne, Brunkhuvudet, Brunkhalsen, Björnen and Loen. Drottninggatan divides the Departmental City into a western and an eastern side. The first properties in the Departmental City were acquired in 1906 (Arvfursten's palace) and the last in 2019 (Adelswärdska huset), both in the Lejonet district. In the block's properties, the Government Offices has premises for its various ministries. Several buildings have very high cultural-historical values, most are blue-marked by the City Museum in Stockholm, which means "that the buildings are judged to have extremely high cultural-historical values". Some are protected as architectural monuments. The age of the building stock extends from the 1640s, when the neighborhood was formed, to the renovations of today. Among the famous buildings in the neighborhood are Arvfursten's palace and Sagerska huset in the Lejonet neighborhood and the Rosenbadkomplexet in the Rosenbad neighborhood. The properties are owned by the Swedish state through the Swedish Real Estate Agency. The creation of the Ministry City, which took about 30 years to implement, also illustrates a changed attitude to how urban renewal should be conducted: from total demolition of the building stock and new construction, to conservation and careful refurbishment. In 2020, there were around 4,000 jobs here for the Government Offices' employees.

The older history of the neighborhood

The regulation of southern Norrmalm

Between 1602 and 1635, Norre Förstaden (Norrmalm) was practically an independent city, which rapidly increased in both scope and population. The reason was that Sweden's great power era began under Gustav II Adolf's government with a large influx to the capital as a result. During the years 1635 to 1685, Stockholm's population quadrupled to about 60,000 individuals. It would be the largest relative population increase in the city through the ages. The regulation on Norrmalm began in the 1630s when the governor Klas Fleming commissioned the general quartermaster Olof Hansson Örnehufvud to lay out a tight grid plan over the area. The ideas came from the Renaissance, it would be regular and rectangular grids of streets and neighborhoods. A zoning map from 1636 or 1637 is preserved which shows the first demarcated blocks north of Klara church. Before that, there was a wild system of streets, alleys and irregular neighborhoods. At that time there were only about ten stone houses, concentrated in the southern part of Norrmalm, the rest were wooden houses and half-timbered houses. Larger streets were east and west Sträckegatan which went crooked and hilly east and west of Brunkebergsåsen. During the last years of the 1640s, work was done on the street network south of Klara Church around Malmtorget (now Gustav Adolfs torg). Fredsgatan was stoned in 1648 (the year when the Thirty Years' War ended) and then the last remnants of Sträckegatan also disappeared. In the area around the Björnen block, several potters had their farms and workshops, which archaeological excavations from 1978 could show. Everything was demolished or moved when the new "regularity" came into force.

Early builders

The positions and professions of the early builders show that the attractive plots opposite Tre Kronor Castle were acquired not only by people from the nobility and by high government officials or the military, but also by wealthy craftsmen. One of the first houses built in the new quarters was the Torstenson Palace, which began to be built in 1640 on behalf of Field Marshal Lennart Torstenson. He had his palace erected in the northeast corner of the newly formed Leopard district (now the Lion). Parts of the palace are preserved in Arvfursten's palace in the form of a grand building facing Fredsgatan. There are still p

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