Every December, acclaimed prize winners, government officials, academics and royalty gather for the Nobel Prize winners’ banquet. It is a lavish affair hosted by Stockholms Stadshus. – the Swedish capital’s iconic City Hall. During the evening, around 1,200 guests enjoy a gourmet meal in Blåhallen (the Blue Hall) before dancing in Gyllene Salen (the Golden Hall) after dinner. Meanwhile, it’s not uncommon for Swedes to dress up and invite friends over to watch the televised event.
Newcomers to Stockholm will notice Stadshuset’s distinctive tower immediately – it is one of Kungsholmen’s iconic towers, alongside – amongst others – Riddarholmen church’s latticed spire. Not only is Stadshuset the seat of Stockholm municipality, but this monumental red-brick building is a popular tourist attraction. Certainly, it’s a far cry from Europe’s prettiest City Hall; nevertheless, it is a striking building, with some exterior features even resembling a Venetian waterfront.
Luckily for me, Stockholm Stadshuset is available for hire, and it’s where my boyfriend’s workplace, Consid, hosts their annual gala. Yes, I experienced a full Nobel-style banquet at Stockholm Stadshuset as an invited guest.
And, I can honestly say, it’s the best way to visit the City Hall.
Celebrity treatment at Stockholm Stadshuset
Stadshuset looks best when the three golden crowns at the tower’s apex shine brightly against the dark Nordic sky. Walking through the courtyard on a red carpet, feeling like celebrities, the building looked impressive against disaster-movie worthy clouds. But walking into the Blue Hall took the evening to a whole new level. Decorated for the party’s ‘Great Gatsby’ 1920s theme, it felt like the Oscars – this feeling was helped, no doubt, by being photographed by celeb photographer Bingo Rimér.
I don’t know if our meal was the same as the Nobel menu, but it was undoubtedly high-quality fine dining. Furthermore, we experienced the Nobel Dessert parade, where streams of serving staff cascade down the stairs bearing desserts on flaming platters.
With prizes and musical interludes between each course, our banquet experience took almost 4 hours. We even heard from a few Swedish celebrities (David Hellenius and Carola, for any curious Swedish readers). And after dinner, we danced in the Golden Hall, a vast ballroom allegedly decorated with 18 million golden tiles.
Attending an event at a European City Hall is not something you often do, and as far as company parties go, this was the most impressive I’ve ever seen. It’s the closest I’ll ever get to dining with prestigious Nobel Prize winners.
Want to read more about Stockholm? Check out my other posts.
Thanks for stopping by. Why not start a discussion in the comments below? Tell me about European City Halls you’ve visited, or the best party you ever attended. Or just tell me how your day’s going!