• Photographer: Jenny Kjellgren Schönning

Gävle Castle

Gävle Castle stands majestically on the south side of Gävle River. The castle dates back to the early 16th century but after an extensive fire its interior is today characterised by the fastidious French classicism of the 18th century, signed architect Carl Hårleman.

Johan III, who was perhaps the biggest construction enthusiast among Swedish kings, ordered the building of a powerful “church castle” in 1583. It was to become a castle building with the church room as its central focus, as Johan III was deeply religious. At that time the castle had a completely different appearance. Like other Vasa castles it had towers with spires and ornate gables. The architect was Willem Boy and the construction workers finished the job in 1597. After several years of decay, the castle was renovated during the 1650’s and 60’s and the building became the headquarters for the County Governor and other government authorities.

A fire destroyed the Vasa castle

In 1727 fire erupted in the castle on the fifth day after Easter and left the castle church in ruins and the castle’s top floor completely burned down. The castle was abandoned for a few years but in 1741 it was decided that it was to become the County Governor’s Residence again. Superintendent Carl Hårleman was commissioned to create drawings for the renovation and reconstruction. It is Hårleman’s drawings that have given Gävle castle the appearance that it mainly has today. In 1754 the first County Governor, A.J. Gripenhielm, was able to move in.

Original floor plan

In its interior, the basement and ground floor have basically maintained the character from the 16th century. The floor plan of the upper floors is also characterised by the original floor plan. You can clearly see the division in three parts with the location of the former castle church in the middle. The representation floor upstairs has preserved some of the character from the 18th century reconstruction.

Recent restorations

In the years 1988-90, an extensive restoration was done of the castle facades. Before the work commenced, a thorough technical and antiquarian examination was performed. It revealed information about the appearance of the facade after Hårleman’s reconstruction, and what interventions had been done after that.

During the first half of the 1990’s, the National Property Board of Sweden renovated the wall and fence surrounding the castle. Interiors and fittings in the County Governor’s Residence were renovated in the beginning of the 21st century.

Place on map

Stor karta



Timmermansgatan 1

802 66 Gävle
60.672275, 17.144079


Year of Construction:
Construction year: 1583-97, 1754
Architect: Willem Boy, Carl Hårleman