The Haunted Stockholm tour visits buildings and places in Gamla stan and Södermalm said to be haunted, or remembered in horror stories.

Walking tours in Stockholm
Map
Map of Haunted Stockholm tour

Understand

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This article is based on excerpts from Stockholms spökhus (Stockholm's Ghost Houses) by Stig Linnell, which is a comprehensive guidebook for places in Stockholm's inner city said to be haunted or, which have inspired Nordic folklore, as well as sources in the public domain.

Daylight in Stockholm varies a lot between seasons. While summer is the most comfortable time to visit Stockholm, the white nights of June only offer the atmosphere for a ghost tour from midnight until 2 AM. As daylight saving time ends at the end of October, evenings get pitch dark from 7 PM or earlier; a ghost tour however turns the darkness from a nuisance to a sublime experience.

Sweden celebrates All Saints' Day on the Saturday past 30 October, with lighting candles on graves. Halloween is celebrated in Sweden since the 2000s, and can be a good occasion for a ghost tour.

Get around

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The itinerary goes around the less-visited back alleys of Gamla stan and Södermalm. It is practical to get round on foot, though some streets are less accessible for visitors with disabilities. Strollers and bicycles might also have difficulties to get through.

Destinations

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The 1835 Riddarholmen fire.
 
Stortorget facing west. Schantzka huset in the middle. The Nobel Museum to the right

The tour starts at Riddarholmen (the Knight Island), which is full of nobility palaces, today used as courthouses and government offices. As they close down at evening, the island gets dark and quiet.

  • 1 Friar Gideon (Old Parliament building), Birger jarls torg 5. Home to Friar Gideon, Stockholm's oldest ghost. He was a Benedictine Friar who lived his earthly life in the 9th century, born in Amiens, arriving to Sweden to support Ansgar. His ship was lost, and since then he haunts the island. The first building on the spot was a monastery, which was later replaced by the Parliament building. Today, the building is used as a courthouse.    
  • 2 Riddarholmen Church (Riddarholmskyrkan). The city's oldest building, built as an abbey in the late 14th century, today used only for funerals and special events. Among the 200 people buried here are fifteen Swedish monarchs, from Gustavus Adolphus (dead 1632) to Gustav V (dead 1950). Queen Kristina is notably absent; she abdicated in 1654, converted to Catholicism, and is buried in St Peter's Church in the Vatican.    
  • 3 Lynching of Axel von Fersen (Supreme Court). Axel von Fersen was a well-travelled Swedish diplomat and military leader, a favorite of French King Louis XVI, rumoured to be the lover of queen Marie Antoinette. In the American War of Independence, he interpreted between George Washington and Jean-Baptiste de Rochambeau (see Washington–Rochambeau Revolutionary Route). Back home in Sweden, Crown Prince Karl August had died during an army drill, and the von Fersen house was wrongfully suspected for his death. As von Fersen led the Crown Prince's funeral procession towards the palace on 20 June 1810, a mob assaulted and killed him in the street. His ghost has been said to haunt the courthouse.  
  • 4 The Legend of Mr. Måns, Västerlånggatan 24. On the portal is a cat, said to be a shapeshifting human named Måns, known from a folk legend, written down by celebrity writers August Strindberg and Claës Lundin. A Swedish ship heading for Stockholm had been stuck in a lull for three days. The first mate threw a coin into the water. The sea opened, and a woman came out of the sea, giving the first mate a letter, which should be delivered to Mr. Måns at Västerlånggatan 24 on arrival, without delay. The ship got wind in the sails, and reached Stockholm within five days. In port, the first mate became busy with unloading the ship, delaying the delivery of the letter. He arrived to the house a couple of days later, asking for Mr. Måns. The only one named Måns in the building was the cat. The cat began talking like a man, read the letter and wept. Then, the cat said that it would have been better if the first mate had kept his promise, and shredded the man to death. As the cat left the building, it was turned to stone.  
  • 5 Helvetesgränd, Prästgatan. This cul-de-sac was since the Middle Ages known as Helvetesgränd, "Hell Alley", due to its location north of the cathedral. As the land north of the church was seen as condemned, it was the home of people with despised professions, such as thieves and the executioner. Many executioners were condemned criminals who received clemency by taking the profession. He was typically assigned to execute his predecessor.
  • 6 Stockholm Palace (Kungliga Slottet). Since the 13th century, this was a site of the Three Crowns Castle. With the rise of the Swedish Empire in the 17th century, the castle became obsolete. King Charles XI commissioned a Baroque palace to replace owns Castle, and had most of the northern wing done by 1697, as a fire destroyed much of the old castle. The new palace was finished in the mid-18th century. There are several ghost stories about the old castle, and the new palace. The most notorious one is the White Lady, vita frun, observed in diaries and letters since at least the early 19th century. She tends to appear when a Royal is on their deathbed.    
  • 7 Stockholm Cathedral (Storkyrkan), Trångsund 1 (next to the Royal Palace). Storkyrkan ("the Great Church") is the oldest church in Gamla stan, with the first elements built in Gothic style in the 13th century.    
  • 1 Café Sten Sture, Trångsund 10. A café in a 14th century cellar vault. The building used to be a monastery, which just like the others was dismantled during the Reformation. The cellar was later used as a prison; the most notorious inmate was Johan Jacob Anckarström, sentenced to death for assassinating King Gustav III in 1792.
  • 8 Iron Boy (Järnpojke). The boy watching the Moon is one of Stockholm's smallest public statues is said to fulfill wishes for coins. For winter, the boy is dressed up in warm clothes.    
  • 9 Schantzska huset (Stockholm Bloodbath), Stortorget 20. Stortorget (the Great Square) is Stockholm's oldest square, dated back to the 13th century. With the former courthouse located where the Nobel museum is now, it was used for corporal punishment, including whipping, public shaming and occasional death sentences. The most notorious event was the 1520 Stockholm Bloodbath (Stockholms blodbad). Stockholm had just surrendered to Danish king Kristian II (who since then has been known as Kristian the Tyrant) and he had at least 80 Swedish noblemen and dignitaries beheaded for heresy. Beheading by sword was considered painless, and a privilege for the nobles; Stockholm's mayor and a few judges were hanged, totalling at least 92 deaths. The massacre sparked the liberation war against Denmark, and Sweden's indpendence three years alter. The white stones in the red building (built for Johan Schantz, secretary of King Charles X Gustav) are said to commemorate the victims.  
  • 1 Stockholm Ghost Walk, Tyska Brinken 13. Do you look for a more immersive experience? This is a tour company for ghost walks.
  • 10 German Church (Tyska Kyrkan), Svartmangatan 16A. Officially named Sankta Gertrud, this church is the home of the first German-speaking parish outside Germany, giving some clue to the importance of German merchants in medieval Stockholm. The first building on the site was a German merchants' guild hall from the 14th century. In the 1570s, it was torn down (though some pieces remain) to build a Protestant church for the growing German population.    
  • 11 Storkyrkobadet, Svartmangatan 20-22. A small bathhouse which is said to be haunted by the dispersed monks.
  • 12 Ahlström's nunnery, Baggensgatan 23. The location of a medieval nunnery. In the 18th century it was a tenement for prostitutes, rumored to be a brothel (which hardly existed in Stockholm at the time, as prostitutes tended to find business at parties or in taverns). The owner, Magnus Ahlström, had a vision that a treasure was buried in the building, and announced for mysticists to find it. No treasure was ever found, though.  
  • 13 Stockholm City Museum (Stockholms stadsmuseum), Ryssgården. This building was finished in the 1660s, as Stockholm's Southern City Hall. Over the centuries, it has been used as a courthouse, a jail, an anatomic theatre, and a school. Since 1942 it is a museum; displaying Stockholm's history from 1523 to present day. Georg Heinrich von Görtz, treasurer of King Charles XII, was detained and tried here in 1719, sentenced to death by beheading. His headless ghost is said to haunt the building.    
  • 14 Ebba Brahe Palace. As of 2023, this is the embassy of the Netherlands.  
  • 15 van der Noot Palace. Today a restaurant and a conference centre. Said to be haunted by a friendly ghost who opens doors for ladies, but has the bad habits of moving furniture around. One story says that the ghost is Melusina, a woman known from a French folk tale, who was cursed and transformed to a mermaid. The ghost could possibly be Mrs. Jahnsson, married to jeweller Jahnsson, who owned the palace around 1900. She might haunt the building to avenge her husband's adultery.    

Go next

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  • 2 Gröna Lund ([grønaˈlɵnd]), Lilla Allmänna Gränd 9 (Djurgården). This classic amusement park has its high season at summer, but keeps occasionally open for Halloween and Christmas. There is a House of Nightmares with horror attractions..    
  • 16 Skogskyrkogården (The Woodland Cemetery) (T Skogskyrkogården). A UNESCO World Heritage site, with works by many of Sweden's most famous architects. Around All Saints' Day, the cemetery is full of candles.    
  • 17 Norra Begravningsplatsen (The Northern Cemetery). A large cemetery; beautifully integrated with trees, but without the avant-garde design of the Woodland Cemetery. Among famous Swedes buried here are Prime Minister Per Albin Hansson, actress Ingrid Bergman, humanitarian Folke Bernadotte, and fin-de-siècle writer August Strindberg.    

See also

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