If the gate in the wall at Götgatan 16 at Söder is open, one will be able to see Louis De Geer’s Mansion, one of Stockholm’s hidden treasures.
It is the earliest building in Dutch Palladianism to be found in Sweden, a style which would eventually leave deep marks on Swedish architecture. The mansion was built between 1646 and 1651, probably after designs by a master bricklayer named Jurgen Gesewitz, who worked for Louis De Geer.
De Geer was born in Liège in what is now Belgium and his family was, like my own ancestors, among the many Walloons who immigrated to Sweden to work in the iron industry following the Dutch-Swedish friendship pact of 1614.
De Geer came to Sweden already in 1615 and soon acquired rich estates. He settled in Stockholm in 1642, where work on the mansion started four years later. Two branches of the family have later been ennobled and the De Geers have produced two Swedish prime ministers. In 1914 Baroness Marianne De Geer af Leufsta married into the Bernadotte family when she became the daughter-in-law of Prince Oscar Bernadotte – her niece Gunnila is the second wife of the former Prince Carl Johan.
Two years after Louis De Geer’s death in 1653 his mansion was bought by Ebba Brahe, the great love of Gustaf II Adolf’s youth and mother of Magnus Gabriel De la Gardie, who rose to be one of the leading figures in the reign of Queen Christina. The arms of Ebba Brahe and her husband Jacob De la Gardie can be seen above the gate to the courtyard.
In the 18th century the mansion was turned into apartments. It was restored in the 1960s and these days this Dutch mansion serves, very appropriately, as the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.