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The National Museum's facade
Interactive fullscreen map
Coordinates59°19′43″N 18°4′40″E / 59.32861°N 18.07778°E / 59.32861; 18.07778
TypeNational Gallery
Visitors122 133 (2017)
DirectorPer Hedström, Acting Director General, 1 June 2023–

Nationalmuseum (or National Museum of Fine Arts) is the national gallery of Sweden, located on the peninsula Blasieholmen, in central Stockholm.

The museum's operations stretch far beyond the borders of Blasieholmen, including the National Portrait gallery collection at Gripshom, the Gustavsbergporclain museum, several castle collections and the Swedish Institute in Paris (Institut Tessin).[1] In the summer of 2018, Nationalmuseum Jamtli opened in Östersund to exhibit parts of the collection in the north of Sweden.[2]

The museum's benefactors include King Gustav III and Carl Gustaf Tessin. It was founded in 1792 as Kungliga Museet ("Royal Museum"). The present building was opened in 1866, when it was renamed the Nationalmuseum, and was among the buildings that hosted the 1866 General Industrial Exposition of Stockholm.

The current building, built between 1844 and 1866, was inspired by northern Italian Renaissance architecture. It is the design of the German architect Friedrich August Stüler, who also designed the Neues Museum in Berlin. Despite its relatively closed exterior, the building has a spacious interior dominated by a large flight of stairs leading to the topmost galleries.

The museum was enlarged in 1961 to accommodate the museum workshops, and the museum's current restaurant was opened in 1996. The building closed for renovation in 2013 and reopened on 13 October 2018. The $132 million overhaul was undertaken to allow for more of the museum's collection to be displayed and to deliver the security, accessibility, fire safety and climate control of a modern institution.


The museum's early history

As with several other European national galleries, the history of the Nationalmuseum involves a transition in ownership from royalty to the state, and by extension publicly available collections. In Sweden, the foundation was laid for today's state art collections in the 18th century. Several of the works included in the Nationalmuseum collection, such as its 18th-century French paintings, were once owned by Queen Lovisa Ulrika. In 1777, the queen's financial situation became unsustainable, partly the result of her ambitious and expensive pursuit of art. The debts were settled by her son King Gustav III when she agreed to surrender her collections and Drottningholm Palace.

The building

Floor plans for the Nationalmuseum

The project to construct a royal museum in Stockholm was one of the largest and most lavish construction works of all time, taking 12 years to complete with another three years for the interior work. The German architect Friedrich August Stüler was responsible for the design of the building and the Swedish architect Fredrik Wilhelm Scholander was responsible for the interior design. The building was inaugurated in 1866 in conjunction with the General Industrial Exposition of Stockholm. The Nationalmuseum has been a state building monument since 1935. The building is owned and managed by the National Property Board of Sweden.


The museum collection consists of approximately 500,000 drawings from the Middle Ages to 1900, a prominent 17th-century collection of Rembrandt and other Dutch painters and collections of porcelain items, paintings, sculptures and modern art. In total, the collection consists of approximately 700,000 objects. The museum also has an art library that is open to the public and academics.

Nationalmuseum holds the largest collection of portrait miniatures in the world, with more than 5,200 works.[3] The collection features miniatures from many European schools, including works by Nicholas Hilliard, Isaac Oliver and Louis-Marie Autissier. A significant portion of the collection derives from the master collector Carl Fredrik Dahlgren, while the more exclusive works were donated by Hjalmar Wicander, a cork-factory owner. Wicander also donated funds for additional purchases of miniatures.[4]

Notable works


The collection of drawings contains approximately 500,000 sheets spanning the late medieval period to about 1900.[5] The collection includes more than 2,000 old master drawings collected by Carl Gustaf Tessin. The sheets were acquired at the sale of the court banker Pierre Crozat in the summer of 1741. Tessin was one of 14 collectors who bought at bargain prices.[6] Because of financial reasons, the collection was sold to King Adolf Fredrik.

"The new Nationalmuseum"

Joseph Ducreux, La surprise, a self-portrait
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In 2009, the National Property Board of Sweden (SFV) was commissioned to perform a feasibility study for a renovation and refurbishment project, and the group presented a building program to the government in 2011. In 2012, planning began for the renovation and rebuilding project, and in February 2013, the Nationalmuseum began its evacuation of the building.

On 20 February 2014, the SFV was commissioned by the government to perform a renovation and conversion of the Nationalmuseum into a fully modern museum building. During the renovation, the building was closed to the public, but the Nationalmuseum continued to exhibit its collection in other locations in Sweden and abroad.

The museum was reinaugurated on 13 October 2018 by King Carl XVI Gustaf in the presence of other members of the royal family, minister of culture Alice Bah Kuhnke and thousands of visitors. The museum's exhibition space has been expanded and can now receive twice as many visitors and display almost three times as many works than had been possible before the renovation. Previously clogged windows and ceiling lanterns have been modified to create more daylight and views of the city. The noisy restaurant has been moved to a quieter location, with an airy and quiet sculpture courtyard in its former place. The museum has regained a rich color scheme inspired by the original colour palette.

See also


  • Johan Mårtelius (1999). "Norra innerstaden". Guide till Stockholms arkitektur (2nd ed.). Stockholm: Arkitektur Förlag AB. p. 67. ISBN 91-86050-41-9.
  1. ^ "Nationalmuseum collection placement". 2 July 2021.
  2. ^ "Nationalmuseum Jamtli". 7 July 2021.
  3. ^ "Portrait miniature at Nationalmuseum". 12 July 2021.
  4. ^ "About the collection". 12 July 2021.
  5. ^ "Nationalmuseum drawings and graphics". 2 July 2021.
  6. ^ "Tessin collection of drawings". 2 July 2021.
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