Countess Wilhemina and her Collections at Hallwyl House

This was one of the richest Swedish family of the period – the von Hallwyls. The von Hallwyls were a family of wealthy timber merchants from the Ljusne-Woxna AB. The owners of the company had one child, a girl named Wilhelmina. And she was to be heiress to all the wealth of the company. To ensure the family line, Wilhelmina was betrothed to a Swiss-born Count Walther who was raised to help run the family. He later succeeded his father in running the business and became a member of parliament in the Riksdag.

Countess Wilhelmina von Hallwyl (Source)

The couple commissioned a one of the most famous architects of the time, Isak Gustaf Clason (who designed the Ostermalm Saluhall and Nordiska Museum in Djugarden among other works) to design their home. Home is a deceptive word. It was a palace.

It might not look like much on the outside, but on the inside…

The exterior of the palace was designed to look Renaissance, but the completed building had all the amenities of the time – electricity, central heating, telephones, bathrooms and eventually an elevator.

Born into luxury, Wilhelmina was able to enjoy the finer things in life. She cultivated a passion and interest in arts and antiques of all sorts from Europe and the Far East. Her collections amounted to almost 50,000 items.

Although house was completed in 1898, Wilhelmina willed her entire estate to the state in 1921, a will that took effect in 1930. And the house was turned into a museum. A museum that would make you wonder at the sheer opulence of the haves a century ago.

Although a museum with free entry, the Hallwyl is not a free for all. There is a queue and a visitor limit at any point in time, so if you come at the wrong time, be prepared to queue.

But once you get in, be prepared for something else. An exercise in stopping your mouth from dropping.

This is not a museum designed to make you think. It’s a museum designed purely to make you feel.

Because, if this is not grandness and opulence of the (non-royalty) super rich, then what counts as opulence?

Oh, random observation but I think I found Sheldon Cooper’s previous life 😉


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