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Exterior of Nationalmuseum, Stockholm
Exterior of Nationalmuseum, Stockholm
Experience the extensive design collections at Nationalmuseum - which is the national museum of art and design, located in Stockholm.
Photo credit: Hans Thorwid/Nationalmuseum

5 design must-sees in Stockholm

Here are 5 design must-sees for your trip to Stockholm, from an art gallery in the archipelago, a national museum established in 1866 to a must-visit cemetery (!)

The historic building housing Nationalmuseum in Stockholm, seen from the water.
Exterior of Nationalmuseum, Stockholm
Experience the extensive design collections at Nationalmuseum - which is the national museum of art and design, located in Stockholm.
Photo: Hans Thorwid/Nationalmuseum


The crown jewel of Sweden’s art museums is the iconic Nationalmuseum in the capital of Stockholm. Since its establishment in 1866, it has served as a premier setting for masterworks in painting, sculpture, art and design dating from the 1500s to the 1900s.

In addition to the extensive permanent collection, Nationalmuseum features regular and temporary exhibitions with top artists from around the globe. 

The Nationalmuseum is a landmark building overlooking the water with stunning views of the Royal Palace. The museum reopened in 2018 after a five-year renovation project and enjoys the best of classic architecture combined with modern convenience.

Moderna Museet
Moderna Museet
Moderna Museet, a modern art museum in Stockholm, is one of Europe’s leading museums of modern and contemporary art. It first opened in 1958 and moved into its current building in 1998. More than half a million people visit the museum's collections every year.
Photo: Ulf Lundin/

Moderna Museet

With an art collection comprising more than 130 000 works, Moderna Museet (Museum of Modern Art) is Sweden’s leading museum for modern and contemporary art.

By combining international masterpieces by artists such as Warhol, Picasso and Dali with temporary exhibitions by prominent artists of the 20th and 21st century, Moderna Museet manages to attract many returning visitors for an ever-changing art experience. The original collection was dominated by Swedish and Nordic art, American art from the 1950s and 60s, and French-oriented modernism, however, the collection has been extended to include more female artists and to create a more versatile collection with works from all over the world. 

The exterior of a light yellow building with burgundy mullioned windows and a double door.
ArkDes, Stockholm
The National Centre for Architecture and Design, or ArkDes for short, is a museum of architecture and design and also a study centre.
Photo: Matti Östling/ArkDes


The Modern Museum of Art in Stockholm is also the home of ArkDes, the Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design.

With a heritage going back to the 1950s, Sweden’s national centre for architecture and design, ArkDes, is a museum, a study centre and an arena for debate that shares premises with The Modern Museum of Art ('Moderna Museet') on Skeppsholmen in Stockholm. Aside from the exhibitions do not miss the library, which boasts great glass windows and an appealing functionalist interior. 

Staying true to Scandinavian values of inclusion and accessibility, the centre also arranges seminars and conferences around themes such as the future of the city and exhibitions often highlight young design talent. Spanish architect Rafael Moneo has designed the award-winning buildings at ArkDes, which include two exhibition halls, a library, an office and a café.

Please note: ArkDes is closed for reconstruction and will reopen in June 2024.

The Woodland Cemetery building with pillars visible. Behind the pillars is a cross and then hills and trees in the background.
The Woodland Cemetery
The Woodland Cemetery (Skogskyrkogården) is considered one of the most important creations of modern architecture, and is even included on UNESCO's World Heritage List. Skogskyrkogården is an example of the “designed experience”, meaning that the design is created around the visitor’s experience of the site.
Photo: Cecilia Larsson Lantz/

Woodland Cemetery

A cemetery might not be on the top of the list when you travel, but The Woodland Cemetery ('Skogskyrkogården') in Stockholm offers a unique architectural experience and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Besides being a large green oasis, buildings such as the Chapel and Crematorium are designed by renowned Swedish architects Gunnar Asplund (1885-1940) and Sigurd Lewerentz (1885-1975) after winning an architect competition in 1915. 

Details such as the pattern in the limestone floor inside the Holy Cross Chapel is for mourners to rest their eyes on during grief, and a glass wall can be lowered into the floor after the funeral so that the congregation can step right into the living landscape after the ceremony. Gunnar Asplund was famous for his typical Nordic Classicism and functionalist style – for other examples visit Stockholm Public Library, which is one of his most famous works.

Aerial view of the cultural centre Artipelag in the Stockholm archipelago, surrounded by forest and the archipelago.
Artipelag from above, Stockholm
Artipelag, the great art hall in the archipelago of Stockholm in Sweden, got its name from the words Art, Activities and Archipelago. It is a must-see for anyone who loves both architecture and nature.
Photo: Artipelag


What first strikes you when you get off the ferry at the Artipelag stop on the island of Värmdö in the Stockholm archipelago is the silence.

Just 12 miles from the buzz of central Stockholm, a sanctuary-like landscape unfolds. The rocks, crystal clear sea and pine trees beautifully frame the art gallery that opened in 2012 by the famous “Baby Björn” founder, Björn Jakobson. He decided to use his fortune from the baby design company – and it turned out to be wise. 

The museum covers 32,000 square feet and the surroundings 54 acres. The idea was to choose a location close to the city but with the characteristics of the Swedish archipelago. Architect Johan Nyrén got the mission to design an art gallery in harmony with the landscape. The result was a building covered in pitched-pine planks, grey concrete and a Sedum-plant-covered roof that melts into its surroundings. And it doesn’t stop there: in the gallery, nature moves inside – the large windows facing the trees and sea make the most stunning artworks.