2023 is a momentous year for the city of Stockholm. The Swedish capital is bursting at the seams with anniversaries and celebrations, and we – like so many who have come to love the city and its people for their warm and welcoming stance towards all travellers – are fizzing with excitement for what’s to come. From Vasa Kings to Dancing Queens, this is the year to visit (or re-visit) Stockholm.
This year in Stockholm, they are honouring a myriad of royal figures, from the Vasa Kings of Sweden to our favourite ‘dancing queens’, otherwise known as ABBA. 2023 also marks the 25th anniversary of Stockholm Pride, a historic milestone for Scandinavia’s LGBTQ+ community. So, whether you’re a royalist, history buff, ABBA fanatic, or somebody looking to imbibe Stockholm’s rich cultural heritage and progressive queer scene, here are some events to celebrate in the Swedish capital this year.
Royalty redefined, Stockholm style
It truly is a golden jubilee year for Stockholm in every sense. Not only does 2023 mark the 50-year reign of Sweden’s current king, Carl XVI Gustaf, but it also marks the 500th anniversary of the year King Gustav I ascended to the throne after liberating Sweden from Danish rule – thus launching the Vasa Dynasty.
So, how will Stockholm be celebrating? A multitude of public events and exhibitions will be taking place throughout the year in various locations, such as the incredible Vasa Museum and His Majesty The King’s official residence, the Royal Palace. That said, the entire archipelago of Stockholm will be alive with festivities. The largest celebrations will occur in September, marking the King’s 50th year on the throne, during which the Royal himself will be present to witness the Changing of the Guard in the outer courtyard of the Palace.
All of this royal rumble wouldn’t be complete without a mention of one particular jewel in the crown: LGBTQ+ icon and Vasa monarch, Queen Kristina. Her infamous silver throne is a centrepiece in the Hall of State opposite the Royal Chapel, open for the public to admire.
Dance through the decades with ABBA
It turns out that the Vasa’s aren’t the only royals celebrating a milestone in 2023. This year marks the 10th anniversary of ABBA the Museum, an interactive visitor attraction on the island of Djurgården, dedicated to one of the most iconic bands in music history.
Since its opening in 2013, ABBA the Museum has been a source of joy for millions of fans from all around the world. With interactive displays featuring some of the band’s most iconic songs and exclusive memorabilia, ABBA the Museum is an ode to one of Sweden’s greatest exports and a reminder of their timeless music that will continue to be loved by generations to come.
After you’ve spent the day dancing, jiving, and ‘Voulez Vous’-ing at ABBA the Museum, why not take the party over to Backstage Hotel? Situated directly opposite the museum, this luxury address is owned by none other than Björn Ulvaeus (one of the ‘B’s in ABBA) and offers guests a backstage experience of Stockholm’s vibrant world of arts and entertainment.
Clockwise from top: 1. The luxurious Nobis hotel is right at the heart of the city and sits on the site of an old bank where in 1973, a world-famous robbery birthed the notion of ‘Stockholm Syndrome’. A long supporter of Stockholm LGBT, they’re one of the most popular hotels to stay in during Stockholm Pride. 2. The Royal Apartments of the Royal Palace is the opulent and majestic seat of the 500-year old Vasa crown. A visit here during Stockholm Pride could unearth its queer secrets. 3. The Vasa Museum is home to Sweden’s most famous historical ship, albeit famous for the ‘wrong’ reasons. 4. Your backstage pass to endless fun – let the good times roll at the Backstage Hotel, Stockholm… just above ABBA the Museum, who is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. 5. Knowing me, knowing you. ABBA the Museum is a ‘thank you for the music’ that welcomes all.
Stockholm Pride: 25 years strong
Dust off your queer calendars, because this year marks a particularly special milestone for Sweden’s LGBTQ+ community: 25 years of Stockholm Pride. For a quarter century, Stockholm Pride has been a source of inspiration and hope for Scandinavia’s queer population, attracting upward of half a million spectators each year.
This year’s Pride will take place from July 31st to August 6th in the height of the summer season, during which the entire city will be steeped in rainbow flags, parties, and events such as a 4.5km parade running from Mariatorget to Östermalm. If you work up an appetite walking through Stockholm’s busy streets, be sure to stop by our favourite gay-owned, waterside oasis, Mälarpaviljongen, for some delicious food, a refreshing beverage or two, and heaps of drag entertainment.
Stay right in the heart of the Pride festivities at the luxurious, five-star Hotel Nobis, or the stylish Hotel Hellsten – a unique and somewhat campy cosmopolitan place to stay in central Stockholm. Both hotels are a walking distance away from all of the action. For further details on Stockholm Pride 2023, be sure to check out the official event program.