Stockholm, the capital of the Kingdom of Sweden, is situated on Lake Maelar at the spot where it opens into the Saltsjö, a rocky bay of the Baltic 59° 20′ N. lat. The city, through which flows the short but fine river the Norrström, is built partly on islands, partly on heights, on both banks of the river, from which there is a view over Maelar and the Saltsjö. It is claimed that Stockholm was founded by Birger Jarl (d. 1266), and the coat of arms of the city still bears the picture of King St. Eric (d. 1160). The city has a population of 341,986 and is the court residence of the king and the seat of the government, of the diplomatic corps, and of the vicar Apostolic. The entrance to Stockholm is defended by the fortresses Oscar Fredriks Borg and Waxholm. It is the seat of the chief military authorities of the fourth and fifth military districts, including artillery, cavalry, infantry, and transport, and is a station of the fleet. As the capital it is the seat of the central administration of the kingdom, and contains the supreme court, the Svea upper court, the national royal bank, the mint, and exchange. As regards administration the city of Stockholm forms a separate district, which is ruled by a governor and is distinct from the Province of Stockholm (Stockholms län). The city has burgomasters, magistrates, and a common council of one hundred members. The importance of the city in regard to commerce, manufactures, and shipping is shown by the following statistics of the year 1908: value of imports, 157,966,681 kronen; value of exports, 45,934,890 kronen; factories, 732, with 29,948 workmen and an output of the value of 166,540,075 kronen. The shipping trade of the city is carried on by 249 ships of 124,037 tons. The vessels over ten tons which call at the port of Stockholm number 36,338.
Schools of higher learning in Stockholm are the Högskola, a free college founded in 1878, the Caroline medico-surgical institute, founded in 1815, the military academy, the academy for the artillery and engineering corps, the academy for music (1771), the academy of fine arts (1773), the technical high school, and the commercial high school. The learned societies are the Swedish Academy, with eighteen members, founded by Gustavus III in 1786; the Academy of Sciences, founded in 1739; the Nobel Institute, which has an endowment of over thirty million kronen; the Royal Library, containing over 300,000 volumes; and the observatory. The most important public buildings are the royal castle, built in the Renaissance style, one of the finest works of the celebrated Swedish architect Count Nicodemus Tessin the Younger (d. 1728); the Parliament building; the House of the Swedish Nobility, where the council of nobles formerly met, built in the Renaissance style of 1661; the royal opera house and royal theatre; the national museum, with picture and sculpture galleries; the Northern Museum, with collections to illustrate the ethnography and development in civilization of the Scandinavian peoples the Skansen, a large open-air museum and zoological garden. The Northern Museum and the Skansen were founded by Dr. A. Hazelius (d. 1901). The chief public statues are those of Birger Jarl, Gustavus Vasa, Gustavus II Adolphus, Charles XII, and Charles XIII, both of these last mentioned statues being in the “Kungsträdgärden”, Gustavus III, Charles XIV a statue of Linnaeus in a park bearing his name, and one of Berzelius.
Stockholm has very few buildings belonging to the Middle Ages, as the finest of this era, the monasteries and churches, were either disfigured or torn down at the introduction of the Reformation. Thus, for example, Gustavus Vasa had the churches of St. Mary Magdalen, St. Clara, and St. Jacob torn down; after his death they were rebuilt in the style of a later period. This king also caused the choir of the Church of St. Nicholas (Storkyrkan) to be shortened. This church, founded about 1260, is one of the finest monuments still in existence of the Catholic period of Stockholm. The Riddarholm church, originally the church of a Franciscan monastery, is the burial place of the Swedish kings. The Protestant church buildings of Stockholm belong to a large number of different Protestant denominations. The State Church is Lutheran; among the other denominations represented are: the followers of Waldenstrom, Baptists, Methodists, Irvingites, Adventists, the Salvation Army, Mormons, etc. Many of the adherents of these sects have not withdrawn officially from the State Church.
There are in Stockholm about 1800 Catholics, for whom there are two Catholic churches, that of St. Eugenia, in Norra Smedjegatan, and that of St. Eric, in Götgatan. The Catholic cemetery has a chapel called St. Joseph‘s. The vicar Apostolic for Sweden lives at St. Erics; the present vicar Apostolic is Dr. A. Bitter, titular Bishop of Doliche. Catholic elementary schools are connected with both churches. A higher school for girls is under the care of the French Sisters of St. Joseph. The Sisters of St. Elizabeth devote themselves to the care of the sick and have also charge of two asylums, Oscars Minne and Jozefinahemet. It was not until recent times that the two Catholic churches of Stockholm were built, St. Eugenia in 1837 and St. Eric in 1892, and schools established. From the introduction of the Reformation to the edict of toleration issued by Gustavus III in 1781 public Catholic worship was forbidden. Mass could be said only in the private chapels of the foreign ambassadors at Stockholm, and attendance at these services was forbidden to Lutherans under severe penalties. Conversion was punished by expulsion from the country and confiscation of goods. As late as 1858 six women who had returned to the Catholic Church were expelled from the country. It was not until 1860 that a restricted religious liberty was granted in Sweden. Thus, for example, institutions and foundations of denominations not belonging to the State Church cannot hold real estate in the country without royal permission. Monasteries are forbidden. By the royal edict, of 1910 the names of Catholics are to be entered in the Lutheran Church books by the Lutheran pastors of the State Church, and Catholics must apply to these pastors for their marriage certificates.