Curiosities

Our Building

The building dates back to the 1600s and the cellar hides the remnants of the original Stockholm city wall. The front of the house (Österlånggatan) once served as a part of the old docks where ships sailed in to unload their cargo and trade. Needless to say, the harbour quarters attracted all sorts of criminals and loiterers. Rumour has it that several treasures, that needed to be hidden from government official’s eyes, were buried in the cellars of our house. One rumour in particular mentions a large silver treasure that has still not been found. It is even included in the current owner’s sales agreement - if the treasure is found during his ownership it has to be divided with past owners...

The building is located in between Baggensgatan 17 and Österlånggatan 18 with one entrance on each side. Originally it was two buildings that were eventually united and made into one in the 1700s, keeping the old wooden framework. In the mid 18th century it was owned by Anders Sälgström who used the part towards Österlånggatan as a tobacco factory and storage with stables at the bottom and the part towards Baggensgatan as his private residence where he and his wife lived with their 11 children.

Stockholm History

Stockholm is first mentioned in writing 1252, which is most often the year connected to the founding. However, there is highly convincing evidence suggesting that the town had already existed for approximately 50 years or so at that time. It could even have been the case that Stockholm was founded as early as 1187, when Sigtuna, the only town in Sweden at that time, was burned and ruined by a Karelian fleet. The so-called “Visbyannalerna”, some writings from a Franciscan monastery, actually mention the founding of Stockholm together with the year 1187. It is known that both Stockholm and the original city wall already existed in 1252, and it is the remnants of this wall that can be found in the cellar of our house.

Birger Jarl (Earl Birger) is commonly known as the founder of Stockholm and the one most often referred to would be Birger Magnusson, who lived in the mid 1200s. Interestingly however, is that there was another Birger Jarl (Birger Brosa), who lived in the 1100s and who was earl in 1187 and a period thereafter. Is he perhaps the one who should really be called the founder of Stockholm?

The reason to why Stockholm was built on Stadsholmen was to protect the land around Mälaren from attacks like the one directed towards Sigtuna. At that time, the only way to enter Mälaren was south or north of Stadsholmen.

Österlånggatan

Österlånggatan reaches from Slottsbacken (the Royal Palace) to Järntorget (the Iron Square). It used to be one of the town’s main streets and was located, like Västerlånggatan, outside the city wall. It was mentioned already in the 1400s as “Långa gatan” (The Long Street).

Early in the history of Stockholm the street was situated only a narrow beach away from the water and functioned as harbour quarters. The ships’ cargo was lifted up into the attics, which often functioned as storage since there was a severe lack of space in town. Inside apartment Prestige, as well as on the façade towards Österlånggatan, you can see the wooden construction that was used for this.

In the 1600s, Skeppsbron was constructed and overtook the role as the eastern main street. Today Österlånggatan has a more modest role. The pace and atmosphere is calmer and the shops less focused on tourists than on Västerlånggatan. At number 51 you can find the historical restaurant Den Gyldene Freden, which was founded 1722.

Baggensgatan

Baggensgatan goes parallel Österlånggatan and was situated just inside the old city wall. It was named after the admiral Jacob Bagge who was given a house here (now No.30) by famous Swedish king Gustav Vasa in 1536. For starters the street was called “Between the walls, to the east” but the name was changed in 1596 to Jacob Bagge’s street.

There are many famous addresses on Baggensgatan. No.14 used to be the home of Sweden’s first, and very famous, opera singer Elisabeth Ohlin, who according to legend performed when King Gustav III opened the Opera. No.21 was totally renovated in 1971, which led to the findings of brick walls from the 1700s, remnants of the old city wall, wooden sewers and a courtyard from the 1400s.

Baggensgatan 23 (Österlånggatan 24) was between 1762 and well into the 1800s a well-known brothel called Ahlström’s virgin-cage, it was even mentioned by the national skald Bellman. The sea captain Magnus Ahlstrom had bought the building believing that there would be hidden a silver treasure from a nunnery that formerly existed in the same spot.

Baggensgatan 27 is the oldest preserved residential in Stockholm.

Den Gyldene Freden

We highly recommend a visit to the historical restaurant Den Gyldene Freden, situated only a very short walk from our building. Amazing food experiences and an impeccable service are here combined with a historical atmosphere. The restaurant has been honoured with Guide Michelin’s award the “Bib Gourmand”, which is presented to the best restaurants in Europe with price-worthy food of high quality. The food served here is mainly traditional Swedish dishes with a modern take, just as it has been since 1722.

A lot of famous Swedes have been associated with “Freden”. The national skald Carl Michael Bellman was a frequent guest in the 1700s, and in 1920 the famous artist Anders Zorn played a big part in the funding and renovation of the restaurant. The lower cellar vault was found and restored during his time. Sadly, he never got to experience the result of the renovation since he died in the fall of 1920, but all of his wishes and directives were thoroughly met. However, famous Swedes have frequented Freden more recently, for example ballad singers Fred Åkerström, Cornelis Vreeswijk and Evert Taube, whose regular table right next to the door is always set. Today it is the Swedish Academy who owns the building, and the members have dinner at the restaurant every Thursday night.

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