20th – 23rd May 2021

Stockholm is an inspiring mix of past, present and future; beautiful old cobbled streets and gabled buildings mix with modern design and contemporary architecture.  The paintings we will study range from Old Masters such as Rembrandt, Rubens and Goya, the Impressionists, much loved Swedish artists Carl Larsson and Anders Zorn, as well as a good body of work by Norwegian Edvard Munch.   We shall travel by boat to visit the Summer Palace with beautiful grounds and Chinese Pavilion, see a wonderful galleon (in far better condition than our Mary Rose) and watch the ballet at the beautiful Royal Opera House.

Not only is there a wealth of culture to visit, but throughout the fourteen islands fabulous shops line up beside excellent restaurants, renowned for their fresh produce.  Our hotel is a perfect mix of Swedish style and hospitality with views over the bay.  Join us for this new exciting venture.

Thursday 20th May

We will arrive in Stockholm in the early afternoon and will settle into our hotel before heading out to explore Gamla Stan, ‘the Old Town’, the most scenic and atmospheric part of the city.  We will focus on two churches, the Stokyrken or Cathedral and the Riddarholms-kyrkan – the church of the adjacent island.  The former, a medieval structure, has been regularly refurbished, but contains one of the most remarkable 15th Century sculptures you will never have heard of; Berndt Notke’s ‘St. George and the Dragon’.  The latter was the burial place of many Swedish Kings and Queens, and will form an ideal backdrop for an introduction to the history of this wonderful place. In the evening we will eat at a relaxed restaurant close to the hotel.

Friday 21st May

The Nationalmuseum has only recently re-opened after a 3-year refurbishment, now the light and spacious interior is the ideal place to compare Western European Old Master paintings with the work of equivalent Scandinavian artists.  The collection contains paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, Goya, Renoir, Degas and Gauguin along with the Swedish artists Carl Larsson, Ernst Josephson, C F Hill and Anders Zorn.  As it doesn’t open until 11am (the Swedes are relaxed about their art) we will travel there by boat and cross the island of Skepsholmen, stopping off at a well-preserved Empire-style church.  We will have lunch at the museum itself, allowing us to break our visit.  We will take a different route home, taking in St James’s church and admire the magnificence of the Royal Palace on the way.

In the evening we will visit the Royal Opera House, which has one of Stockholm’s most spectacular interiors.  We will see the centenary performance of Les Ballets Suédois, which includes three charming one-act ballets with music by Honegger, Debussy and Bizet. Swedish cuisine is ideally suited to light meals and we will be able to eat well during the interval of the performance

Saturday 22nd May

Having seen the outside of the Royal Palace the day before, will have a day trip to the delightful Summer Palace at Drottningholm, travelling there and back by boat.  We will explore the richly appointed palace interiors and elegantly laid-out grounds, making a beeline for the enchanting Chinese Pavillion.  Originally a birthday present for Queen Louisa Ulrike in 1753, the structure wasn’t meant to last, but was rebuilt very soon to become a highpoint of rococo chinoiserie.  We will also have a tour of the Court Theatre, which was put to sleep after Gustav III’s untimely death in 1792, only to be reawakened, perfectly preserved with its working 18th century scenery in the 1920s.

Returning to the big city, we will go just a short distance to one of the more picturesque suburbs on the charming island of Södermalm for dinner.

Sunday 23rd May

By now we will know the importance of travelling by sea for the people of Stockholm – and Sweden as a whole – and this will be driven home by visiting one of the city’s most fascinating sites, The Vasamuseum.  If you think the Mary Rose is impressive, wait until you see the Vasa!  Although she travelled less than a mile before sinking on her maiden voyage in 1628, her location was lost until 1956.  When she was finally salvaged and brought ashore, the Swedes built a museum around her.  The level of preservation is impressive, and the size and scale of this ship is astonishing, perhaps the clearest demonstration we will see of the wealth and power of a people who are now sometimes unjustly seen as a backwater of world culture.

We will then jump on a public bus to the end of Djurgården where we will have lunch in the Thielska Gallery.  Ernest Thiel was one of the most significant collectors of Scandinavian art at the beginning of the 20th Century and, as well as some impressive examples of work by the Norwegian Edvard Munch, there are also a number of paintings by his lesser-known Swedish contemporary Anders Zorn.  Often mentioned in the same breath as Sorolla and Singer Sargent, you can expect a similar rich use of paint, wonderful colours and glamorous imagery.

Our minibus will collect us from the museum, and drive us back to the hotel to pick up our bags on the way to the airport.

Further Details


Dr Richard Stemp will lead the trip. Richard is one of our most experienced tutors and has led courses for Dilettante for many years.  He is looking forward to exploring a new area with AHA.


We will stay at The First Hotel Reisen, a beautifully renovated 17th century townhouse on the waterfront of the Old Town.  It has a perfect location, within easy reach of all the main sites, restaurants, cafes and also the boat stops.  All our rooms have a sea view.



We do not book the flights thus allowing you to travel to suit your budget, use airmiles, travel between different airports or on different dates. We recommend buying the following flights with British airways:

Thursday 20th May         London Heathrow – Stokholm Arlanda         TBC

Sunday 23rd May        Stockholm Aralanda – London Heathrow        TBC


There will be a private coach for the airport transfer to meet the recommended flights.  We will mostly walk but will also catch public boats, buses, and taxis.


There is quite a bit of walking on this trip, as well as uneven terrain.  There is also stepping on and off boats.  As is the case for all our courses, there is a lot of standing while we discuss the works we are looking at.


The fees are £1700 which includes accommodation and breakfast, all lunches, transfers for the recommended flight, transport when connected with teaching, entrance fees, ballet and supper at the theatre, tuition, reading lists and local advice.  The single occupancy room supplement is £120 (double room for single use).  Please state on the form if you would be happy to share.  Not included are the flights, all other suppers and travel insurance.  The group will not exceed 10 people.

The application form should be returned with a deposit of £600.00. Please note all new deposits paid after 24th March 2020 will be refunded if the current travel disruption continues due to Covid-19.  Please call 01379 871800 or email charlie@arthistoryabroad.com if you have any queries.

NB you must buy your own flights.

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