Drottningholm slott och slottspark.

The World Heritage Site of Drottningholm

Drottningholm is an unusually well-preserved royal palace setting. It is so unique and popular that in 1991 it was named Sweden's first World Heritage Site.

Drottningholm Palace, on the island of Lovön near Stockholm, has been a royal residence since the 1660s. The palace and its surroundings are exceptionally well-preserved, with parks featuring stylistic ideals from different eras and buildings with their original interiors that showcase Swedish and European architectural history.

Over the centuries, the palace and its grounds have been a place for peaceful recreation and entertaining, and for important meetings – including internationally. From the 17th century, when the present palace was built by architects, craftsmen and artists from across Europe, to today's tourism, with hundreds of thousands of visitors coming to Drottningholm from near and far. With its 18th century theatre (the only one of its kind in the world), its extensive nature-rich parks and a palace that still serves as a royal residence, the area's royal heritage is kept very much alive to this day.

Sweden's first World Heritage Site

In 1991, the Royal Domain of Drottningholm was named Sweden's first World Heritage Site. The area is thereby included on the UN body UNESCO's list of particularly valuable landmarks that are deemed to be of irreplaceable significance for humanity.

UNESCO's reason for including Drottningholm in the list is that:

"The ensemble of Drottningholm – palace, theatre, Chinese Pavilion and gardens – is the best example of a royal residence built in the 18th century in Sweden and is representative of all European architecture of that period, heir to the influences exerted by the Chateau of Versailles on the construction of royal residences in western, central and northern Europe."

The World Heritage Site of Drottningholm, which has also been designated a state historic building, includes the palace, the palace theatre, the Chinese Pavilion, the palace park, Canton Village and part of Malmen. As a World Heritage Site, the area is guaranteed protection and care for all time.

The World Heritage Site of Drottningholm is managed by three main bodies: the National Property Board of Sweden (SFV), the Drottningholm Theatre Museum Foundation and the Drottningholm Palace Administration. These bodies cooperate closely with authorities at local, regional and national levels.

What is a World Heritage Site?

A World Heritage Site is an area of such exceptionally high natural or historic value that it should be preserved as part of humanity's shared heritage. This could be a site, a place, an environment or an object that bears unique witness to the history of the earth and of mankind.

In order to protect such environments, the UN body UNESCO designates these as World Heritage Sites.

Today, more than 1,000 sites are inscribed on the list of World Heritage Sites, including 15 in Sweden.

World Heritage Convention

The Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage was adopted by UNESCO's General Assembly in Paris in 1972.

The 193 states that signed the convention have voluntarily undertaken to protect, conserve, present and transmit to future generations their national cultural and natural heritage.

The convention requires the signatories to use legislation, organisation, education and research to guarantee that their national natural and cultural heritage is protected and cared for.

The member states shall provide information about the convention and the World Heritage Sites, and shall also use respect and cooperation to protect World Heritage Sites in other countries.

Sweden ratified the convention in 1984.

The list of World Heritage Sites

All nations that have signed the convention can nominate natural and cultural environments within their own country for UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites. These suggestions are reviewed by experts, after which the UNESCO World Heritage Committee makes a decision. Each year, between 20 and 30 sites are added to the list.

In Sweden, it is the Government that submits applications to UNESCO following proposals from the Swedish National Heritage Board for cultural objects and the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency for natural objects. 

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Top image: The Baroque Garden. Photo: Royalpalaces.se

The Green Salon begins the main apartment's suite of state rooms, and offers a taste of the reception rooms that follow. Photo: Lisa Raihle Rehbäck/Royalpalaces.se

The Chinese Pavilion. Inside the pavilion, Chinese-inspired Swedish Rococo furniture stands alongside imported Chinese objects. Photo: Raphael Stecksén/Royalpalaces.se

The Yellow Room. To the left is the Embroidered Room, named after its embroidered wall panels. To the right is the Green Gallery. Photo: Alexis Daflos/Royalpalaces.se

The Yellow Room. To the left is the Embroidered Room, named after its embroidered wall panels. To the right is the Green Gallery. Photo: Alexis Daflos/Royalpalaces.se

Drottningholm Palace Theatre was built in 1766 for Queen Lovisa Ulrika. Photo: Drottningholm Palace Theatre

The opera “Siblings of Mantua” at Drottningholm Palace Theater. Photo: Sören Vilks

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International cooperation

The World Heritage Site of Drottningholm is involved in cooperation with a number of international players. World Heritage Journeys is one example. This is a collaboration between the EU, UNESCO, National Geographic and 33 other European World Heritage Sites, and aims to promote Europe as a destination for tourists from around the world. It involves a focus on sustainable travel, under the slogan "Travel differently, travel deeper", and encourages tourists to travel sustainably, stay for longer and discover more sides to each location they visit.

All 34 World Heritage Sites and projects are presented at visitworldheritage.com/en/eu External link, opens in new window.

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Guided tours Open today 10.00-17.00

You can explore Drottningholm Palace by yourself, but a guided tour will ensure that your visit is particularly memorable.

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Childrens Drottningholm Open today 10.00-17.00

Take your children and grandchildren on a trip to Drottningholm. Here, you can go on a lion safari or hunt for gold.

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App with guides Open today 10.00-17.00

The Swedish Royal Palaces app includes a number of features to enhance your visit to the Royal Palaces.

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Take the chance to see the world’s largest collection of Adriaen de Vries sculptures. The museum at Drottningholm has on display a unique...


Discover more at Drottningholm Palace

Drottningholm's Reception Halls Open today 10.00-17.00

Two queens have left their mark on Drottningholm: Hedvig Eleonora, who built the Palace during Sweden's Age of Greatness, and Lovisa Ulri...

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Drottningholm Palace Park is open all year round. Here, you can wander through historic stylistic ideals from the 17th century Baroque to...

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The Chinese Pavilion Open today 11.00-17.00

“He took me to the side of the pleasure gardens, and I was surprised to find myself suddenly standing in front of a real fairy tale palac...

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The Royal Chapel at Drottningholm Open today 10.00-17.00

Drottningholm Palace Chapel was opened in 1730, and has been in continuous use ever since. The architect was Tessin, and the interior was...

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The artist Evert Lundquist had his studio in the old machine house at the Chinese Pavilion. The studio is now a highly atmospheric museum...

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Welcome to a boutique that is something out of the ordinary. The Royal Gift Shop is a unique present and souvenir shop offering products ...

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Articles and movies

The summer season at the Royal palaces begins in May. This is when several of the summer palaces – where royalty have spent many spring a...

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“Full of life, spirit and fire”. For much of Sweden's period as a great power, Karl X Gustav was on the battlefield. And his queen didn´t...

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In Sweden, we divide the Baroque into two periods: the Caroline Baroque, with its Northern European influences, and the later Tessin Gold...

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