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The region's and city's name can have two different meanings, depending on whether you use the Swedish or old German translation of the word “stock”. In Swedish it means “Stick” and in old German it means “fortification”, while the word “holm” is translated as islet and it is assumed that this refers to the old center of Stockholm.
Today, about 2.2 million people live in the greater metropolitan region of Stockholm. But of course, Stockholm has not always been such a populous place. It was populated since the Stone Age, but only turned into an official city in 1252. Unlike other parts of Sweden, Stockholm never had massive problems with invasions, and managed to grow constantly. The city turned into a very important Hanseatic center over the century and has never lost that position of importance.
There is a lot Stockholm is known for, so it's hard to make a start. Stockholm is the biggest city in Scandinavia and the most important center in Scandinavia. In addition, some of the world's top ranked university call Stockholm their home. Stockholm is quite a rich city, constantly amongst the top ranks of cities with the highest GDP per capita in the world. It is the home of the Swedish monarch and the Swedish government. It also is the place where the Nobel prize ceremonies take place. Another famous thing in Stockholm is the Metro system because it is so nicely decorated and often called the world's longest art gallery. Basically, Stockholm is a great place to be, whether it's just for a holiday or for some research into Swedish heritage and culture.
You can spend many days in Stockholm and not see it all, so it is important that you have an idea about what you would like to achieve while you are in this fascinating city.
The National Historical Museum is the best place to go if you would like to learn about Stockholm's history throughout time in just one place. You can learn about the prehistoric history up to the modern history, and the museum also has English displays, so you don't have to worry about not being able to understand it.
The Vasa Museum is the right place for people who are interested in the seafaring history of Sweden. The Vasa herself is a very well preserved ship from the 17th century – and she's the only one of her kind. Over 95% of the ship are original, and it is a unique ship, you could almost call it a piece of art because of the hundreds of sculptures that were carved to decorate it. Unfortunately, the Vasa sank during her first voyage, so that wasn't really such good luck. It took half a century to restore the ship to what she looks now, and visitors can now admire her in all her beauty. The ship is surrounded by a variety of exhibitions that will teach about life on a ship like the Vasa. The museum is very popular and the most visited museum in all of Scandinavia!
It's a rather special place, and you can only get to the Vaxholm Fortress by boat as it is its own little island off Stockholm. Once you have arrived at the fortress museum, you can learn about the importance and history of the fortress.
Stockholm's City Hall is one of the most prominent buildings in Stockholm, and whether you plan on going inside (check the times of the tours as those are your only option of getting inside the building) or just want to have a look at the outside, a visit is well worth it. The City Hall is also the place in which the Nobel prize ceremonies take place. This alone makes it very worthwhile to go on one of the guided tours. The interior of this building is quite interesting, and you will be able to learn more about the history of the Nobel prize, too!
And for the people who would like to have even more in-depth information about this prestigious prize, the history and how it all works on the days of the actual ceremony, the Nobel museum is one place not to miss!
If you are interested in cultural history, then this is a place you can spend a whole day in as the Nordiska museum is Sweden's largest museum of this kind. You will learn about how people worked, what they wore, how they ate, how their tables were set, how their furniture was made, and much more. It is a museum that can give you a very good insight into the life of Swedish people of the past and present.
For a bit of peace and solitude, you could go to the Woodland Cemetery, a UNESCO World heritage site which covers 250 acres. There is a visitor center in which you can learn more about the cemetery which was designed by some famous architects, and there are some lovely chapels you can have a look at.