Malmö – The oldest Renaissance castle of Scandinavia

Malmö is the third largest city in Sweden, and is the gateway to the country if you are visiting from Denmark. I’ve been through Malmö for a few times to visit Stockholm and South-East Sweden, but I never really stopped there, except for changing trains at the station. A friend previously told me that there was nothing to do or to see in Malmö, that it was an uninteresting city. As I decided that each place had a story that was worth discovering, I decided to give Malmö a try!

Malmo is a half-hour train ride from Copenhagen. I left early in the morning for the central station of the Danish capital, I bought my ticket, lost some time trying to find the platform on which I had to take my train, found the platform, found the train and 30 minutes later, after crossing the Öresound, I was in Sweden. As simple as that!

I decided to explore Malmö on foot. After strolling aimlessly in its old neighborhood (including a medieval square called Lilla Torg), I finally decided to go for a walk in one the nearby parks, and that’s when I came across Malmö Castle.

Malmö Castle
The entrance of the castle

There is a castle in Malmö? Apparently yes! In fact, it is even the oldest Renaissance castle in all Scandinavia, and has been of paramount importance during the wars between Denmark and Sweden. The whole area where Malmö is located has long belonged to Denmark. It is also the Danish king who built the present castle-fortress around 1530 and the place had great strategic importance for Denmark to defend its possessions.

Inside Malmö Castle
The king’s room (and his little bed)

The castle passed to Swedish hands in the 17th century when the region of Malmö came under the control of Sweden. Even if a peace treaty had been signed between the two countries, Denmark tried to take over Malmö again by besieging the fortress, but without success (the Danes may have regretted building it so well…). The castle was later used to lock up and execute prisoners.

Malmö Castle
In the tower of the guns

Today the castle is home to the Malmö Museum and an art museum. There are various exhibitions on the history of the city and of the fortress and it is even possible to visit some parts of the castle, restored to give a glimpse of what they looked like in the 16th century (the visit of the tower of the guns is a bit frightening, especially when you’re alone). There are some descriptive panels in English, but this is unfortunately not the case for all exhibitions, where several descriptions are only available in Swedish. Lovers of castles, history and art will still find something they like there. The proof that Malmö is not that boring!


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