If you visit Stockholm, you are bound to see the German Church (Tyska kyrkan)… or at least its spire, which dominates the Gamla Stan skyline. In fact, visitors sometimes assume that this is the main Stockholm cathedral as it is taller than the cathedral (Storkyrkan) and looks more stereotypical church-like with its thin, 96 meter tall, copper spire. It is also known as St Gertrud’s Church and is dedicated to the German saint. I stopped by the church the other day, to take a look around, on my way to the nearby Jewish Museum.
|Gamla Stan skyline, with German Church on the left and Storkyrkan on the right.|
The neighborhood in Gamla Stan, where the church is located, was populated predominantly with Germans back in the Middle Ages. This was due to the fact that the (mainly German) Hanseatic League controlled most of the trade in the Baltic region at this time and many of its merchants lived in Hanseatic ports, like Stockholm. These merchants, as they were upper class in regards to wealth and influence, were afforded many extra benefits. Before the church was built (consecrated in 1842), the site was the location of the German Guild of St Gertrud.
|The Düben organ|
They do have a church service every Sunday at 11am in German. Otherwise, you can visit the church at other times on your own. The current opening hours are Friday & Saturday (11am to 3pm) and Sundays (12:30pm to 4pm). There is a minor entrance fee of 30 SEK. The interior is not as large as the exterior would have you believe and you can see the highlights in less than 30 minutes. They do have a pamphlet, included in the entrance fee, which explains the architectural and design highlights of the church.
The architecture in the church, with the vaults and ceilings, is beautiful and there are many interesting things to see, including the stained glass windows, organ, altar and pulpit. The beautiful altar, with statues of apostles, is from the mid 1600’s. On the southern side, there is the impressive Düben organ, an exact replica of the church’s original organ (before it was sold to another church in northern Sweden). It is nice just to walk around and enjoy the small interior details, like carvings on the pulpit and paintings on the ceiling.
While I find the interiors of Storkyrkan and Riddaholmskyrkan more impressive, Tyska kyrkan is well worth a visit! It is very easy to get to the church from the Hotel Rival… either a 15 minute walk or else you can take the subway two stops to the Gamla Stan station.