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Skogskyrkogarden

Skogskyrkogarden
Skogskyrkogarden is an early-20th century cemetery known for its landscape and architectural design.

The cemetery was built between 1917 and 1920 by the architects Gunnar Asplund and Sigurd Lewerentz. They got the job of designing a new cemetery for Stockholm after an international competition was held.

The landscape they could use as their raw material consists of pine trees, gravel and small hills. The two young architects added several chapels, a crematorium and a large granite cross.

Year Decision Comments
1994 Inscribed Reasons for inscription
1993DeferredBureau - await ICOMOS study into 20C Architecture. Also consider "Cultural Landscape"?
1991ReferredBureau - pending comparative study of this type of property



Visit December 2000

Well, this hobby of visiting world heritages really takes you off the beaten track: to a cemetery in this case. As it is a public place, you can just walk in and roam around freely. Most remarkable is that the graves are hidden in the pine forests. The rest of the place impresses as a series of monuments. line

Reviews

Frederik Dawson (Netherlands):
Similar to other reviews, my visit to Skogskyrkogården or the Woodland Cemetery in Southern Stockholm was surprisingly enjoyable. When I reached the T-Bana station I also surprised the pronunciation of this place similar to Ian Cade did, and when I arrived the main entrance I really surprised again for the landscape design that totally different with other cemeteries. The entrance pathway dictates every eye sights to the big granite cross and the crematorium. And when my eye at the crematorium I saw smoke come up, a sign of cremation took place. Since I saw smoke I decided to change my intention to the mediation grove which was located on the right hill of the whole landscape. As I visit in early spring time, all trees were leafless and quite spooky; however, the grove was really amazing. I was really admired the architect for this genius landscape design, simple but easily inspired for spiritual meditation. After the meditation grove I went to see some part of the real cemetery, all the grave sites were well organized in the pine forest.

Actually I planned to visit the famous Woodland Chapel, but I saw some ceremony in the area, so I decided to walk back to the Crematorium to see the building, the lotus pond and the big cross. The building looked very modern and functional; the view was also stunning especially toward the meditation grove. Overall Skogskyrkogården was really a masterpiece of landscape design, and I hardly believed that this place was a cemetery, but a great public park that nice for picnic. Another highlight was the big cross, it was a very simple cross but really special that it made the landscape to be not to vast or empty. Skogskyrkogården, in my opinion, was the best World Heritage Site in Stockholm area; it was also a place to understand the contemporary Nordic landscape design which cannot be found in other World Heritage Sites of Scandinavia.
Date posted: May 2012
Klaus Freisinger (Austria):
This is one of the more unusual sites on the list (probably the only cemetery, apart from ancient necropolises), as well as one of the most easily accessible: just get off at the Skogskyrkogarden stop of Stockholm's metro system, walk a few hundred metres, and there you are. I must say that I didn't expect too much of it - I went there after a long and rainy day on Birka and Hovgarden, just to tick off another site. In the end, however, I liked it quite a lot. The weather improved, and walking through the large cemetery was a great way of ending the day. It is a fantastic combination of an idyllic city park and interesting modern architecture, while never forgetting that it is an active cemetery. As I had gone there on one of Scandinavia's long summer evenings, the visitor centre had already closed, but you can still pick up a map in a box at the entrance and find your own way through the immaculately landscaped grounds (and go find the grave of Greta Garbo). This is one of Stockholm's (and the WH list's) underrated sites (a friend of mine has been living in the city for over 4 years and never gone there), but definitely worth a visit in this great city full of interesting sights.
Date posted: August 2011
Ian Cade (England):
This probably isn’t top of most people’s lists of Stockholm’s ‘must sees’, even down to the name which I thought I had managed to get my tongue around until the train dropped us of at the station and the announcement sounded nothing like what I had imagined.
I had tried to do a little background reading on Gunnar Asplund who co-planned the cemetery; he has a really restrained approach to classicism that veers towards later modernist developments. The Stadsbibilotek in Stockholm is a great example of his work. Walking around the crematorium and chapels you can see that this is a very restrained architectural undertaking, the few grand monuments that do exist are very understated and simple, most notable it the huge granite cross. This worked really well with the tall pine trees, under which lay the graves of those interned here. It made it feel like a very contemplative place to walk around. I especially liked stumbling upon the Skogskapellet, it was very understated but very nice.
I am sure that I don’t have to point it out, but this is not really a place to visit with a flippant attitude, as it is still very much in use as a cemetery so a significant amount of respect is due, however it is a nice place for a meditative walk.
As Christer has said the Cemetery is easy to get to just a short 10-15 minute hop on the underground from Gamla Stan or the über-cool botiques of Södermalm, this makes it a worth while short trip and although it may not be a highlight of the list it is certainly a place worth experiencing.
 
Adam Truran (England):
WOW! This was my first impression of walking up the entrance drive from Sockenvagen and immediately confronted with a beautiful black granite cross. The landscape was covered with a blanket of white; the Meditation Grove, Chapels and the tops of pine trees only visible. I felt apart of everything here; as though it welcomed me here. To have such an instant welcoming offers warmth to those who have come to say goodbye to their loved ones. I visited the cemetery as part of a study trip with university. We are currently designing a cemetery/ crematorium, and I would recommend this place as a great precedent study. This is truly a magnificent piece of landscape and architecture, fused together to offer an essential place of departure.
 
William K. Hayes (USA):
I visited in June of 1993, to see the gravesite of my great grandfather Jakob Nilsson Friborg and great grandmother Sigrid sophia Andersen Friborg. I bought flowers just outside the T-bana and put them on their grave. At that time, there were no entrance fees. It was a very hot day and it was a very long walk from the entrace up the long hill past the buildings on the left and then down the slope at the far end to the grave. It was a wonderful experience. I felt like I was coming home to them and closing a circle. Jakob wasan important building contractor in Stockholm in the latter half of the 19th century. He lived from 1838 to 1922
Date posted: October 2005
Christer Sundberg (Sweden):
It's not just a cemetery, it is also a nice park for an afternoon stroll whilst you are contemplating and solving the world problems. And if you are into architecture you’ve probably already learned that the cemetery was planned and laid out by the Swedish architects Gunnar Asplund and Sigurd Lewerentz in the 1920:ies and has been an inspiration for cemeteries all around the world. The site is easily accessed via the Stockholm underground (station: Skogskyrkogården) and once there you turn right and just walk through the gates while you are facing the Chapel of the Holy Cross on your left side. Since I have a few of my relatives buried here, I usually visit the site once a year or so and in the spring and summertime it’s a nice walk under the tall spruce trees that populates the cemetery. During All Saints Day (Halloween) the cemetery is lit up by thousands and thousands of candles and it’s likely to be the day of the year to best visit the site.
 
Anders Westerlund (Sweden):
Hi! My name is Anders. I have grown up in the area around this cemetery. In high school, my six-kilometer walk to school included a shortcut through the cemetery. It was, in spite of what you think, a wonderful walk (perhaps because of the nice weather in May 1993). When I and my friends were young, we used to play in the forests. It's still the place I think of when having a long walk when I visit my parents, who still live in the area. I could go on and on about childhood memories experienced at Skogskyrkogarden. We played hide and seek there, we've played soccer and land hockey there. In our teens, we crossed the forests a few times because we were drunk and wanted to reach "Daisy's" (burger place) at the other end. Once, on Halloween some ten years ago, I was dressed in a robe and held pitch torches in my hand (we'd had some drinks that evening...). As I said, I could go on and on, Skogskyrkogarden will always bring back memories to me...
 


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