- German Church, Stockholm
Tyska kyrkan ("German Church"; _de. Deutsche Kirche), sometimes called St. Gertrude's Church ( _sv. Sankta Gertruds kyrka), is a church in
Gamla stan, the old town in central Stockholm, Sweden.
Located between the streets
Tyska Brinken, Kindstugatan, Svartmangatan, and Prästgatan, it is named for standing in the centre of a neighbourhood during the Middle Agesdominated by Germans. Officially named "Sankta Gertrud", the church is dedicated to Saint Gertrude (626-659), abbessof the Benedictinemonastery of Nivelles, in present-day Belgium, and patron saintof travellers.
The German guild of St Gertrude was founded on the location for the present church in the 14th century. While the guild was created by German merchants, their Swedish counterparts were often invited to take part in its activities. For example, King Charles VIII was elected in the guild's building in 1448. The headquarters of the guild was gradually rebuilt into a church starting in the 1580s. Among the architects involved were
Wilhelm Boy, the Flemish architect of King Eric III, the Dutch Hubert de Bescheand also Hans Jacob Kristler, the architect from Strasbourgwho designed the MakalösPalace in present day Kungsträdgårdenfor Jacob de la Gardie.cite book | language = Swedish
title = Gamla stan med Slottet och Riddarholmen | pages = 61-62
author = Béatrice Glase, Gösta Glase | chapter = Inre Stadsholmen
edition = 3rd ed. | year = 1988 | id = ISBN 91 7160 823 0
publisher = Bokförlaget Trevi | location = Stockholm]
Though there was an abundant number of German merchants and craftsmen in Stockholm during the Middle Ages, they didn't possess a separate site for their religious sermons until 1558 when King Gustav Vasa permitted them to hold separate sermons.cite web
url = http://runeberg.org/nfcj/0308.html | date = 1920
title = Nordisk familjebok | publisher =
accessdate = 2007-03-26 | chapter = 555-559] In 1571, King John III authorized the German expatriates in the city to form a separate
parish, including summoning priests from Germany, and it thus became the first German ecclesiastical parish outside Germany, It first held its sermons in the Greyfriars monastery on Riddarholmen(today Riddarholmskyrkan) but within five years relocated to the building of the German guild where the king earlier had a chapelbuilt for the Finnish parish. The two parishes shared the space, with the Germans managing the maintenance of the chapel and also inaugurating a German school in 1580, soon relocated to Tyska Skolgrändand still in existence until 1888.cite web
url = http://www.st-gertrud.se/schwed/svindex.htm | date =
title = Tyska församlingen i Stockholm | = author =
accessdate = 2007-03-26 |publisher = German Parish Stockholm]
In 1607, however, King Charles IX transferred the premises exclusively to the Germans. Hans Jakob Kristler enlarged the chapel in 1638-1642 to the present two-nave church. During the 17th century, while the choir of the school participated at the royal concerts, the church became an important centre for
church musicin Sweden. A crypt, construction on which was started in 1716 but was interrupted 1860-1992, is still in use by the parish. By 1800, the German congregation had dwindled to a mere 113 people, and in 1878 a fire destroyed the tower. Today the German parish sorts under the Church of Swedenbut as a so called non-territorial parish, the approximately 2,000 members of which are found all around Stockholm. Sermons in German are still held every Sunday at 11 am, and the church is open daily during summers and at weekends during winter.
The brick steeple and the copper covered
spire, together 86 metres tall, where completed in 1878 to the design of Julius Carl Raschdorff(1823-1914), an architect based in Berlin. For the commission he chose Neogothic gargoyles featuring grotesque animals, indeed unusual in Swedish architectural history but today recognized as 'natural features' of the old town. The elaborate carillonis heard over the old city four times daily: 8 am and 4 pm psalm "Nun danket alle Gott" is played, and at noon and 8 pm the psalm "Praise the Lord".
Over the northern gate facing Tyska Brinken is a gilded images of the patron saint and the exhortation "Fürchtet Gott! Ehret den König!" — "Fear God! Honour the King!". Flanking the eastern gate facing Svartmangatan are two tables carrying gilded inscriptions. The southern
sandstoneportal is flanked by statues of Jesusand Moses, in the context symbolizing the New and the Old Testaments, accompanied by Love, Hope, and Faith. The statues were cut by Jost Henne from Westphaliain the 1640s; he later became the aldermanof the city's masons guild.
The interior is
Baroquein style, the large windows of which makes it overflowed by light, highlighting the white vaults and their many angels heads. The wine cellars of the original guild building are still found under the current marble floor. In the atrium is a window featuring St Gertrude herself holding a chalice in one hand and a model of the church in the other. The ten metres tall altarwas created by Markus Hebel, a Baroque master from Neumünster, Schleswig-Holstein.
The so called "king's gallery" crowned by the
monogramof King Charles XI was designed by Nicodemus Tessin the Elder. The green and golden structure, at the time resting on pillars seemingly suspended over the floor, was reached by a magnificently carved flight of stairs used by generations of royal families, often of German descent, attending the sermons. The ceiling displays a painting by David Klöcker Ehrenstrahl, born in Hamburgand a member of the German parish. The lower part of the gallery was later glazed and today contains the sacristy. The painted windows are all from the turn of the century 1900. The southern windows, arguably, retell the benefits of living a devoted life. By the entrance is a commemorative plate reminding of the restaurateur Peter Hinrich Fuhrman (-1773), one of the church's most important donors.
List of streets and squares in Gamla stan
* [http://www.st-gertrud.se/ Official site] sv icon de icon
* [http://www.gamla-stan-stockholm.se/tyska-kyrkan.php Gallery of images] sv icon
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