History of the Churches in Stockholm City

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General History


1200 - 1300

There was a village church called Nicolai (built around 1250) that was built on to several times and is now known as Storkyrkan (Stockholm Cathedral). There were rows of chapels around the main nave that had their own priests who were supported by private individuals or various guilds. In addition to the most important chapels, Själakorset and Helga lekamen, there were at the end of the Middle Ages about 30 chapels or altars in the Stockholm area.

On Magnus III´s initiative, the Franciscans (the Gray Friars) built an abbey on Riddarholmen, of which the church is still standing. The establishment for the nuns under the Poor Lady of Clare´s (the Franciscan Order's female branch), built in the 1280´s, also on the initiative of Magnus Eriksson, was situated slightly south of Klara kyrka (The Church of Saint Clare), which was rebuilt during the reign of Johan III.

1301 - 1400

Bromma Parish is already listed in 1314 and is supposed to have been a part of Solna Parish. The old granite round church from the latter part of the 12th Century is partly preserved in the present Bromma church building.

In 1336 Magnus Eriksson bestowed a plot of land in the southern part of the city on the Dominicans (the Black Friars), together with funds to build the abbey that was consecrated in 1344. The church is no longer there, and only a few basement ruins remain of the monastery that was situated above Järntorget. It is this abbey that gave its name to the street Svartmannagatan, which used to lead down to the abbey.

1401 - 1500

1501 - 1600

The Knightly Order of Saint John, in actual fact a branch of the main abbey in Eskilstuna, settled in the 1330's on the northwestern part of Helgeandsholmen. Due to defense logistics, they relocated to an empty plot between present day Johannesgränd and Pelikansgränd, where they in 1514 consecrated S:t Johannes kyrka (The Chapel of St. John), which was demolished after the reformation.

S:t Görans spetälskekoloni (The Leprosy Colony of St. George) also had a chapel.

In 1558, Gustav Vasa gave the Germans in Stockholm the right to hold their own church services. In 1571 they were given permission to build their own church and set up a cemetery. They and Finska församlingen (the Finnish Church) shared the guild hall of S:ta Gertrud (The Church of Saint Gertrude), a church from the Middle Ages, until 1607.

Finska församlingen was established in 1533 and was given worship premises in Svartbrödraklostret (The Abbey of the Black Friars). After the abbey was demolished in 1547, services were held in various places. The City Archives has published a DVD titled Finnar i Stadsarkivet (Finns in the City Archives).

During the reign of King Johan III (1537-92) Klara kyrka (The Church of Saint Clare) was the first one to be constructed in 1577-90, followed by Jakobs kyrka (The Church of Saint Jacob) in 1588-92. Construction started for Maria Magdalenas kyrka (The Church of Saint Mary Magdalene) in 1588.

1601 - 1700

The population of Stockholm in 1630 is estimated to have been 9,000 maximum. Stockholm became independent in 1634 under a Governor. At that time the city districts (malms) lacked proper street systems and structured settlements. The earliest dates for birth, marriage or death records in preserved parish registers are listed in the first column below and the second column refers to the first year for household examination rolls.

In 1656, Katarina kyrka (The Church of Catherine) was built. The parish was founded in 1654 when the parish of Maria Magdalena was split. Kungsholmen’s Parish was originally a part of Solna Parish, but became its own in 1671. Klara Parish originally covered all of Norrmalm, but was in 1643 divided up into Jakob and Klara Parishes. In 1671 Kungsholmen was separated out. Svea livgardet (Guards) originated out of Gustav Vasa’s guards. In 1655 the guards were organized with both cavalry and footmen. The guards were lost at the battle of Poltava on June 28, 1709, but were reinstated by and by. During the Middle Ages, abbeys and chapels were used as care centers for needy children. In 1633, Barnhuset, a public care institution for poor father- and motherless children was established.

Parish Earliest Birth, Marriage or Death Husförhör Begins
Sankt Nikolai 1546 1667
Riddarholmen 1636 1689
Sankt Gertrud (German) 1639 --
Jakob 1643 1672
Johannes (removed from Jacob) 1643 1672
Hovförsamlingen 1648 1692
Katarina 1654 1707
Finska [Finnish] 1664 1783
Hedvig Eleonora 1668 1730
Kungsholmen 1672 1689
Maria (Magdalena) 1678 1737
Klara 1680 1787
Fransk-Lutherska [French Lutheran] 1690 --
Holländska [Dutch] 1693 --
Svea Livgardes södra bataljon 1694 1735
Svea Livgardets norra bataljon 1697 1772
Barnhuset 1697 1753

The population in 1676 is estimated to have been 42,000-43,000. By royal decree in 1672, Amiralitetsförsamlingen (for employees in the navy, now Skeppsholmen) became a territorial parish that covered all of Ladugårdslandet under the inspection of the vicar of St. Jakob. Church services were held in the old Ladugårdskyrkan until 1680, when they moved to the church on Kyrkholmen, where Nationalmuseum (the National Museum) is situated today, until 1822.

1701 - 1800

About 1/3 of the city's population died from the plague in 1710 during the Great Northern War, 1700-1721. A large fire in 1751 in the Klara District rendered many homeless. By 1757 the population had increased to 71,900. After that the population increase stagnated.

Parish Earliest Birth, Marriage or Death Husförhör Begins
Spånga 1702 1710
Svea Livgardes livbataljon 1706 1858
Skeppsholmen 1714 1770
Svea Livgardes grenadjärbataljon 1717 --
Svea Artilleri 1720 1713
Bromma 1721 1753
Adolf Fredrik 1741 1693
Brännkyrka 1761 1772
Finska gardesregementet 1774 1774
Livregementet 1774 --
Svea Livgarde 1790 1791
Svenska gardesregementet 1791 1791
Livgardet till häst (cavalry) 1792 1832

Adolf Fredrik Parish originally belonged to Klara. It was given its own chapel, St. Olof, in 1674, which was built on the spot where the church Adolf Fredrik now stands. It became its own parish in 1773. Allmänna barnsbördshuset (Public maternity house) was established in 1775. Any woman in confinement could receive care at that facility during her pregnancy without charge and give birth to her child anonymously.

1801 - 1900

The population in 1820 was still as low as 75,600. The population did not increase significantly until the industrialization during the first half of the 19th Century, but after that the increase continues into the 20th Century.

After 1822, a hall at the shipping yard was used for the church services of Skeppsholmkyrkan until June 24, 1842, when the present day church Skeppsholmskyrkan was consecrated. The Skeppsholm cemetery that has been used since 1742 is situated within the shipping yard, towards Djurgården.

Parish Earliest Birth, Marriage or Death Husförhör Begins
Sabbatsbergs fattighus (poor house) 1808 --
Göta livgarde 1810 1811
Livgardet 1810 --
Centralfängelset (Central Prison, 1815-1896) on Norrmalm 1827 --
Allmänna barnsbördshuset 1847 1775
Långholmens fängelse (Långholmen prison, 1853 - 1931) 1829 --

1901 - 2000

The population of Stockholm City grew rapidly after 1900 as seen below:

  • 1900, 300,624
  • 1920, 419,440
  • 1930, 502,213
  • 1940, 583,621
  • 1950, 733,615

Several new parishes were created during this expansive period.

  • Engelbrekt (from Hedvig Elenora 1906)
  • Gustav Vasa (from Adolf Fredrik 1906)
  • Matteus (from Adolf Fredrik 1906)
  • Oskar (from Hedvig Eleonora 1906)
  • Sofia (from Katarina 1917)
  • Sankt Göran (from Kungsholmen 1925)
  • Högalid (from Maria Magdalena 1926)
  • Enskede (from Brännkyrka 1931)
  • Västerled (from Bromma 1955)
  • Essinge (from Enskede 1957)
  • Farsta (from Enskede 1957)
  • Hägersten (from Brännkyrka 1957)
  • Vantör (from Brännkyrka 1957)
  • Hässelby (from Spånga 1962)
  • Skarpnäck (from Enskede 1967)
  • Skärholmen (from Hägersten 1968)
  • Vällingby (from Spånga 1974)
  • Kista (from Spånga 1980)

Brännkyrka Parish (originating in the Middle Ages) was incorporated into Stockholm in 1913. Spånga Parish joined Stockholm on Jan 1, 1949.