Our history

Villa Fridhem was built in 1909 as a summer residence to Prince Carl and Princess Ingeborg. Prince Carl, also known as the “Blue Prince”, was the son of Oscar II and Queen Sofia. He had three brothers, Prince Oscar, Prince Eugen, known as the “Painting Prince”, and Gustav V, who is our present king’s grandfather’s father. He married the Danish princess Ingeborg, daughter of king Fredrik VIII.

Prince Carl and Princess Ingeborg had four children. Princess Märtha, who later married Olav of Norway, Princess Astrid, who married Leopold of Belgium, and Princess Margareta, who married Prince Axel of Denmark. They also had a son named Prince Carl Jr., with the nickname Samuel.

The name Villa Fridhem came from that Prince Carl, who was Chairman of the Red Cross, wanted this to be a residence of peace. Ferdinand Boberg was hired as an architect. His previous work, among others, was the NK-house and Valdemarsudde where Prince Carls’s brother lived, both in Stockholm. Boberg’s intention with Villa Fridhem was to build a real Swedish mansion, but he departed from the symmetrical position of the windows, the main entrance and the porch which are located by the side of the center of the house. As a model for the house was the childhood home of Princess Ingeborg “Charlottenlund” located outside of Copenhagen (see the painting in the blue salon) and their former summer residence “Parkudden” at Djurgården, Stockholm.

In the big hall/lobby you meet the huge fireplace in green marble, from close surroundings in Kolmården, which is still frequently used. On the main floor was the family’s dining room and Prince Carl’s workplace, which now is an office space and reception. In the blue salon is a big portrait of the three princesses Märtha, Astrid and Margareta. This painting was a gift to Prince Carl and was painted in 1934 by the Danish painter Saltoft. The special thing about this painting is that it took six month to finish, because the princesses lived in different countries, and the painter had to travel to paint them separately.
On the second floor was the family’s private bedrooms. The Princess’s bedroom was decorated in white and purple wallpaper with carnival motif. Prince Carl Jr. room were decorated with white and blue with chrysanthemum patterns. Prince Eugen, Prince Carl’s brother, had his own room since he visited Villa Fridhem often.
On the third floor were all guest rooms. All rooms were decorated in different colour schemes, including everything from the walls and textiles of the room to the small soap at the washbasin. In total Villa Fridhem, at that time, had 30 rooms.
Over the front door, that is the original, you see the beautiful royal ornaments with the Swedish and the Danish National Weapons and the initials of the Prince couple.

Prince Carl 1861-1951
Princess Ingeborg 1878-1958
Princess Ingeborg with the children. Princess Margareta, Prince Carl Jr, Princess Astrid and Princess Märta
Buildt in 1909

The children were very hard raised but at Villa Fridhem they got to play and walk barefoot in the summer just as any other children. The princesses little green and white playhouse is still left in the park and there is the original little iron stove where the princesses made pancakes with their nanny. The popular Swedish layer cake Princess cake (Prinsesstårta) was featured in the cookbook Prinsessessornas kokbok and it got its name from the three princesses because they were said to have been especially fond of the cake. The cookbook was first published in 1948 and you can find it in the bookshelves and corridors here at Villa Fridhem.

” A summer without Villa Fridhem

is not a summer”

Princess Astrid

During 45 fantastic summers, Villa Fridhem was hosted of royals from all over Europe. Princess Ingeborg celebrated her 75th birthday here in 1953. It became the last summer at Villa Fridhem which then was sold to Östergötland County Council. Here was convalescent center for 35 years before it became privately owned in 1987.

A large renovation work took place and the old bedrooms were turned into conference rooms and lounges. On the side of the main building there were two wings built with 54 hotel rooms and a highly appreciated relaxation area. All this was clear in January 1990 when Villa Fridhem reopened as a conference hotel. The main building has since then gone trough further renovation. The terrace was built in and a wine bar created below it and on each short side of the house two additional wings was built during 2016/2017 to get a bigger kitchen and storage on one side and an extra dining room and meeting room on the other.

Today, the family Dahlin, are the primary owners of Villa Fridhem and the son Magnus is the CEO and a big part of the day-to-day activities.