The imposing Swedish parliament building, known to locals as Riksdagshuset, takes up around half of the island of Helgeandsholmen. With water surrounding it on all sides and magnificent views of Stockholm, it’s not a bad place to be a politician.
Construction work started on the main part of the building – a grand, columned edifice – in the late 1800s. Later, it was expanded to include the huge semi-circular structure at the back of the building (formerly the headquarters of the Swedish Central Bank). It’s in the chamber here, completed in 1983, that politicians vote on reforms and pass laws that affect everyone in Sweden.
Politicians are elected through a form of proportional representation every four years, with 349 seats up for grabs. Unlike in the British parliament, where opponents face each other directly, the seats in the Riksdagen are arranged in a horseshoe shape facing the Speaker.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the building’s history and how the Swedish parliamentary system works, you can join a guided tour of the building. Sessions last around an hour. Parliamentary debates and votes are also open to the public, if you fancy brushing up on your Swedish.
When you make it to the main chamber, look out for the huge tapestry that hangs behind the Speaker. The piece of art, called Minnet av ett Landskap (Memory of a Landscape), is said to have taken 3,500 hours to make. It depicts a deliberately vague mountain landscape that could be anywhere in Sweden – perhaps to help politicians contemplate the impact that their decisions are having on other parts of the country.
Free. When parliament is sitting (roughly Oct–early June) English-language tours take place on Saturdays & Sundays at 1.30pm. In the summertime, the same tours take place every weekday (hourly from noon–3pm). Places on the tours are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Take the T-bana to Gamla Stan or Kungsträdgården. Alternatively, bus 43 stops at Gustav Adolfs Torg, a five-minute walk northeast of the parliament building.
Riksdagshuset (the Swedish Parliament Building)
+46 878 648 62