Last Saturday Mr Lifecruiser and I went to Långholmens Crown Prison in Stockholm, Sweden, to be locked into a double cell for the night.
No, we didn’t get arrested for doing something naughty in public, I swear! *giggles*
I got one of my “Let’s do something fun spasms” and booked a night at Långholmen, an old prison.
Afterwards I’ve come to realize that we did a very trendy thing: so called dark tourism, visiting places where bad things has happened. It seem to be very popular at the moment.
We found a special weekend package deal on the internet including a two course dinner and prisoners hats, which of course were impossible to resist for crazy peeps like us…. *giggles*
From the beginning the island were just pasture with a customs station. In 1724 there were buildings built for forced labor, to get to terms with all the vagabondism in Stockholm and later on it turned into a jail.
I guess we have the vagabondish blood from the vikings…
It was converted to a combined hotel and hostel in 1989. The name Långholmen is mentioned for the first time in the 1400s, but must have been used much longer since a silver treasure with German coins from the 900s has been found on the island.
It got it’s name from the long island where it’s situated. It’s about 1400 m long, 400 m wide and is located a couple of km from the city kernel.
This jailhouse has hold some of Swedens most wellknown criminals, like the spy Stig Wennerström and the author Lasse Strömstedt, as well as other guests to the warden, like the old famous Swedish poet and composer Carl Michael Bellman.
The Crown Prison was built in the early 19th century, but in the middle of the building is the gallery from 1866, which makes it very bright and striking appearance despite the fact that it’s the typical jail look.
What’s so cool about this hotel is that the rooms actually are the old prison cells. Though you get two cells as one room today, since one of them is the shower and toilet which of course, didn’t exist for the poor real prisoners before… but some of the furnitures actually are from the late prison time.
Just think about it for the moment, wouldn’t it have been really cool if you got to lay in a really old authentic prisoner bed for the night? (By the look of it, I should probably be thankful that so was not the case…)
I do look a bit nervous in the photo, biting myself in the lips, don’t I? *giggles*
Were there knocking on the walls to communicate with the neighbors in the other cells?
No, we couldn’t hear any knocking on the walls – maybe our neighbor prisoner had died from the rough times there? I mean, 15 hours hard work per day, only bread and water on the menu, isolation, dark cells in the cellar and corporal punishment is enough to break down even the strongest…
Or maybe he had been executed? Because it was here the absolutely last execution were done in Sweden, performed with a new guillotine from France (of course, where else?), but I’m really pleased by the fact that it was the first and last time it were used!
So really, were we served anything apart from bread and water?
Yes, and quite delicious dinner with a very compliance waitress serving on us, who also had a very good sense of humor on top of the very good service.
Kalix vendace roe with cheese waffles
Petit Chablis 2005
My Main course:
Pikeperch with asparragus and white wine sauce
Petit Chablis 2005
Mr L’s Main course:
Grilled veal entrecote with tomatoes and walnuts,
sage bouillion and mojo rojo
The restaurant as well as the pub Finkan (The Nick/Lock-up), are situated in the old prison hospital, but I sure can tell you that it’s nothing left of the hospital feeling!
Especially the nick is very cool decorated! I just love the old vintage images and the fact that a safeblower has been working on the safe. They really got the right details there.
In 1840 new ideas with cells for the prisoners and open exercise yards came along, which meant that Långholmen had to be changed to the similar form it has today. It weren’t particularly difficult to escape from there in the beginning, but on the other hand wasn’t the city so big and the underworld wellknown at that time and the jailbreakers could rather easily be found again.
Personally I was kind of surprised though, that this had been a functional jail up to the seventies – the last prisoner left as late as in 1975.
Today it’s used as a recreation area for the Stockholmers as it is very green and lush. We have to thank the prisoners during the 1800s for that, since this was a desolated island covered in stone, which they covered with mud dredged from the lake Mälaren and planted vegetation.
The old exercise yards is used as a café in the summertime, opening in the middle of May, so it was too early in the season for us to enjoy it.
Instead we went to the nearby café “Lasse i Parken“, which is very popular among the Stockholmers. Prepare to stand in a long line to order there!
Funny thing was: we were having excellent weather until we had started to eat our sandwiches out in the garden there. Dark, dark clouds appeared from no where and before we knew it, it was thunder and rain! We got stucked there for a while longer than planned due to the heavy rain….
So, do you think it was my bad weather curse this time too? *giggles*
In the same building as the hotel there also is a small Museum, opened every day, which tells some of the history of the prison life there.
They also have different arrangements suitable both for team-building and for kick-offs. Of course some kind of jail-themed and sounds like great fun to me!
You can even hold your wedding there – no need for a striped wedding dress though – with the dinner at the Banqueting hall located in the oldest building in the complex, dating from 1670, the former spinning-house or women’s prison.
Would we recommend this hotel for others? Yes, without doubt, this is a very unique place to stay!
Of course, when going to jail, you don’t expect a 5 star rated stay there, but I must say that these 3 stars they got, felt like at least 4 stars. I assure you, I haven’t been whipped to say this
Actually it was soo good that we tried to get us thrown back in jail again when we were supposed to check out… *giggles*
OK, the real story was that the receptionist had to phone us, he thought we had left the hotel already without checking out or paying our bill which should have been done around twelve o’clock and this was around one o’clock. I guess you really have to obey the rules when in jail!
Since the beginning of 2006 it has been undergoing another renovating project to even lift it up a level higher and I must say that they have succeeded very well. Very neat, fun, interesting and above all: captivating!
The only disappointment though, was that there were no leg-irons waiting for us (even though we saw some there) and no ghosts clanking with their chains in the corridors at the night… but of course that was compensated by the other night activities.
What other night activities? Well, you do know what the prisoners are doing in the cells at night, don’t you? *giggles*
Lifecruiser Långholmen photo slideshow