Fascinating Things You Need to Know About Stockholm

| © Vlad Ghiea / Alamy Stock Photo
Judi Lembke

Stockholm is famed for its iconic city hall, the world’s first open-air museum and the fabulous Abba museum. But there are plenty of little-known facts about this city that even some locals might not be aware of – including an unusual story about Frank Zappa.


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World’s First National City Park

The area covering Ulriksdal, Haga, Brunnsviken and Djurgården is the world’s first national city park, and it includes museums, entertainment, four palaces and Stockholm University. What makes it even more special is that it’s right in the heart of the city.

World’s Largest Hemispherical Building

Ericsson Globe, located just south of Stockholm’s Södermalm district, is the world’s largest hemispherical building. It has a diameter of 110 metres, the volume is 605 thousand cubic metres, and the inner height is 85 metres. You can see it from pretty much anywhere in Stockholm.

What’s In A Name?

The first time the name Stockholm appears on record is in 1252, when Swedish statesman Birger Jarl used it in a letter.

The Narrowest Street

Gamla Stan is full of tiny cobblestoned streets, but the tiniest of all is Mårten Trotzigs Gränd, which is just 90cm wide. It’s also a steep – if short – hill, with 36 steps taking you from top to bottom.

Stockholm Syndrome

The term Stockholm Syndrome originated from one of Sweden’s most famous crimes. During this six-day bank siege at Norrmalmstorg in 1973, hostages began to identify with their captors. The enormous charm of career criminal Clark Olofsson is considered a key reason for this happening.

Lots Of Cyclists

More than 70 thousand Stockholmers take to their bikes each day. Even better is that there are dedicated bike lanes throughout the city, and rarely is there a collision between cyclists and cars.

World Heritage Sites

Stockholm is home to three UNESCO World Heritage sites: the Royal Palace at Drottningholm, Skogskyrkogården (The Woodland Cemetery) and the Birka archaeological site.

Clean Water

Stockholm sits on 14 islands that are connected by 57 bridges, and the water is so clean you can drink it, swim in it and even fish in it.

Lots Of Museums

With nearly 100 museums, Stockholm has more museums per capita than almost anywhere else in the world. The National Museum alone has almost 50,000 paintings and objects on display, and many museums are either free or offer ‘free days’.

Frank Zappa’s Legendary Visit

Swedes love Frank Zappa, and in 1971, one fan got the ultimate Zappa bragging story. Two fans approached Zappa during a break in his show at Konserthuset, asking him to come to their house after the show and wake up their brother Hannes. Zappa thought this was a grand idea. He went home with the fans, walked into Hannes’ bedroom and said, “Hannes! Hannes! Wake up! It’s me, Frank Zappa!” The parents, along with Hannes, woke up, and everyone sat up talking until dawn.
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