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Drottningholm Palace

Drottningholm Palace has been the seat of the Swedish royal family since 1981. Situated on an island in the middle of Lake Mälaren, eight kilometres west of Stockholm, the enormous palace is reminiscent of Versailles. Its royal origins date back to the late 16th century, when King Johan III built a palace for his consort, Queen Katarina. But in the 1660s - just after it was bought by Queen Hedvig Eleonora - the original building was destroyed by fire. Architect Nicodemus Tessin was commissioned to construct a new building, which was constructed between 1662 and 1686.

Drottningholm remained a royal residence until 1744 when it was given as a wedding present to Adolf Fredrik of Sweden and his new bride Princess Lovisa Ulrika of Prussia. Lovisa redecorated the palace in French rococo style and filled it with works of art.

Evidence of her enthusiasm for arts and letters remains at Drottningholm to this day. As well as building the Drottningholm Court Theatre - the oldest still in use today - she created a huge library where leading scientists of the era were encouraged to gather. This, along with a Chinese pavilion in the grounds and the French baroque park dating back to 1777, made Drottningholm the first Swedish site to be included on the Unesco World Heritage list.

The official royal website can be found at www.royalcourt.se