Did you know there is a historically interesting neighbourhood behind the amusement park Gröna Lund on Djurgården in Stockholm? Narrow cobblestone streets with wooden houses dating from the 18th century. Don’t miss out on a short visit to Breda gatan in Djurgårdsstaden – Hidden Streets of Stockholm.
Series: Hidden Streets of Stockholm. Area: Djurgårdsstaden.
Tram 7 from T-Centralen
Tram stop: Skansen
Walk 35 min f/ Sergels Torg
Abba the museum
Getting off the tram at the open-air museum Skansen, crossing Djurgårdsvägen and the small park behind it you are entering the neighbourhood known as Djurgårdsstaden. If you are visiting Gröna Lund, you can also come here by using Lilla Allmänna Gränd, a street that runs through the amusement park, separating the smaller and toddler-friendly park from the larger carousel park. Whichever way you choose to get to Djurgårdsstaden, you are in for a historical treat.
Separated from Kungliga Djurgården in 1646, Djurgårdsstaden was mainly an area of small cottages functioning as hospitals and housing for seafarers. In 1736 it became a neighbourhood with streets and buildings planned by engineers and architects. The area near the water became a shipyard and later on Djurgårdsvarvet was established here.
Gröna Lund - an amusing neighbour?
As quiet as this picturesque area can seem, the next-door neighbour happens to be an amusement park! Open from late April to September, the screams and laughter from the carousels as well as evening concerts from well-known artists echoes across Djurgårsstaden. This year, the year 2020 of the coronavirus, it might be different as the amusement park’s premiere date is subject to restrictions.
Founded in 1883, Gröna Lund is the oldest amusement park in Sweden. It is unique as the houses in the park are old residential and commercial buildings built long before the park which had to be built around these houses.
Breda gatan - Broad Street
Today, around 200 people live in the residential houses in Djurgårdsstaden. The most interesting streets are Breda gatan and Långa gatan. Broad Street and Long Street. Breda gatan starts off at Skampålens Torg, a non-official name for the small square which, in the old days, held a pillory in the shape of a boatswain. It was stolen in 1849. The red house in the picture below was built in 1749.
Breda gatan is not particularly broad. However, in the mid-1700’s it probably was very broad compared to other streets of the time. The street and the square looks quite similar in character to when it housed shipbuilders, tar boilers and boatswains. The row of panelled houses have fine details, sculpted doors and window shutters. At the end of the street, you find the yellow house of Djurgårdsbageriet, a bakery from 1852. It is now a residential house.
Långa gatan - Long Street
Långa gatan is the longest street in the area, 150 metres. In this block, simple cottages housed sick and elderly seamen who had served in the Swedish navy. Walking down the street, you will come by the yellow house in the picture below, which used to be an inn called Lübeck.
As there used to be a graveyard in this area, one needed a gravedigger. He lived in the low red wooden house at Långgatan 10B, the Gravedigger’s House. Behind this house, in the yard, lies a granite house which used to house the corpses. It cannot be seen from the street.
Further down Långa Gatan, lies the old entrance to Gröna Lund. The red wooden house at the bend of the street is the former old inn called Gröna Lunden (Green Grove). Frequented by national poet Carl Michael Bellman, it was later named Bellmanshuset. (House of Bellman). It dates from the years around 1750. In the mid-1800s, the inn was closed and became housing for workers at the shipyard and poor people. Up until 1999, employees at the amusement park Gröna Lund lived in Bellmanshuset. During its renovation, wall paintings from the 18th century were found and restored.
Djurgårdsvarvet - the docks
Having experienced the historical streets and houses of Djurgårdsstaden, it is time to walk down to Djurgårdsvarvet. Previously a renowned shipyard it is now mostly a small marina with a very cosy café, Skroten, and the fine-dining restaurant Oaxen awarded two Michelin stars in 2015.
Opposite the wharf, lies the tiny island of Beckholmen. The island held a pitch boilery, hence it’s name; pitch in Swedish being beck. Protected as a historical monument and part of the Royal National City Park, Beckholmen holds three dry docks, two from the mid-1800s and the last one built in the 1920s.
Although Djurgårdsstaden and Beckholmen are close to the city and Gröna Lund, most people know nothing of this beautiful and interesting area. Make sure to visit it and have lunch at Skroten. Or perhaps bring a picnic. Sit an hour or two at the docks of Djurgårdsvarvet or on top of the small hill on Beckholmen, catching the view over the blue waters of Stockholm.