Monday, 10 August 2009

What to see: The former barracks of HM the King’s Norwegian Guard, Stockholm

The changing of His Majesty the King’s Guard outside the Royal Palace in Oslo at 1.30 p.m. is always a happening which attracts a crowd, many of the spectators being tourists. Although the Guard was founded in 1856, it did not settle in the Norwegian capital until 1888.
Being the King’s personal guard naturally meant that it should be close to the monarch, who in the days of the Swedish-Norwegian union mostly resided in Stockholm. They were therefore housed in the so-called Northern Barracks at Storgatan at Östermalm, which had actually been built as a brewery by the brewer Lars Malmborg in 1738.
The wing towards Skeppargatan was added in 1749 and in 1812 the building was bought by the city of Stockholm for use as barracks. On 1 November 1856 His Majesty the King’s Norwegian Guard took possession of the building. They remained until 1888, after which the building housed Östermalm’s fire brigade 1891-1927 and then became a police station during the years 1894-1977.
With the King’s Norwegian Guard stationed in Stockholm, the King was accompanied by Christiania Royal Citizens Guard for ceremonial events in his Norwegian capital. The Citizens Guard, popularly known as “the Yellow Choir”, was however dissolved in 1881 and by a political decision in 1888 the King’s Guard was relocated to Kristiania, as Oslo was then called.
The Guard left Stockholm on 30 September 1888 and 100 years later a commemorative plaque was unveiled on the wall of its first “home”. Today the Guard’s main barracks are at Huseby on the outskirts of Oslo, but the uniforms (seen in the second picture, showing the Guard marching past the statue of King Carl XIV Johan on their way to the changing of the Guard) are the same as in the Stockholm days.

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