To enter through the gates of the Hallwyl Museum is to travel 100 years back in time. It was here the Count couple Wilhelmina and Walther von Hallwyl lived.
As the daughter of Wilhelm Kempe, founder of successful forest products company Ljusne-Woxna company, Wilhelmina came from the at that time richest family in Sweden. Walther was a nobleman from Switzerland and raised by his future father in law for the two conditions in order to marry Wihelmina: first, he must move to Sweden and then take over the family business.
So it was and after some years in Trosa the couple moved to Stockholm. The Hallwyl house was built in 1893-98 and is located next to the Royal Dramatic Theatre and across from Berzelii park.
The commission to build the Count couple von Hallwyls new home went to the architect Isak Gustaf Clason, who among other things, designed the Nordic Museum. He let the facade go in a style reminiscent of the period between late Gothic and Renaissance.
The interior was done in various styles that were common in the late 1800's. And Wilhelmina von Hallwyl was very involved in the process of decorate the house. Since the family was wealthy they could afford a high quality.
The house also came to include many early technical innovations, such as central heating, electric lighting, hot and cold running water, food and personal elevator and telephone.
For the state of the art can also be counted to the Count Walther skittle alley (bowling today) and the gymnasium where the Countess Wilhelmina daily gymnastics to stay in good physical shape.
From the start, she focused on the house to become a museum after their death. She collected almost everything - art, antiques and porcelain - and was a permanent customer at Bukowski's a stone's throw away. There, she became the respected auction firm's biggest client of all time.
Wilhelmina great life's work was that, along with staff, carefully cataloging their collections. It became as many as 78 bands before the catalog was complete. It included everything. Even common everyday items such as razors and kitchen utensils received their own number in the directory. Nothing was thrown away.
To arrange invitations were considered to be the duty of a lady in the higher social strata at the time. But it didn't interest her. Therefore it became just three dinners a year with relatives, ambassadors and other guests. And as practical as Wilhelmina was, she decided to have the three meals days in succession. In this way she had done her duties and could devote herself entirely to her cataloging work the rest of the time.
In the house worked a ten or so people with everything from cooking in the large and well appointed kitchen to clean, do laundry, guard the gate and drive the car. Most remained throughout their career because they got well paid and was well treated by both Mr and Mrs Hallwyl.
They had three daughters, Ebba, Ellen and Irma, but they were all adults when The Hallwyl house was built and never lived there. Walther von Hallwyl died in 1921 and Wilhelmina lived until 1930. 1920 The Hallwyl house, including furnishings was donated, to the Swedish state and the Hallwyl Museum opened to the public 1938.
A visit to the Hallwyl Museum is an exciting journey into a bygone age. To walk around and look is exciting and there is much to see. The total living space is 2200 square meters and the house has 40 rooms and kitchens. The address is as it always has been, Hamngatan 4
2011 won the Hallwyl Museum the price as the year innovator in the Collector's Award.
Read more about the Hallwyl Museum