German – History of Stockholm – Part 2

Germanys influence on Sweden

Gamla Stan

Gamla stan (the Old Town) was all of Stockholm back in the days. The Old Town dates back to the 1200s and consists of medieval alleyways, cobblestone streets and archaic architecture.

You can’t deny that Northern-German architecture has been a strong influence and been a huge inspiration in the Old Town’s construction. Having all of Stockholm (at the time) being influenced by German architecture must have been a pretty big deal, right? It wasn’t just the German architecture that struck the Swedish people.


During the period of the Old Swedish, Fornsvenskan (1225-1526), the German language made a huge impact on the Swedish language.

Why? It is because of the economic and political power of the german trade type of alliance, called the Hanseatic League, that was mentioned in the last guest post by HistoryofStockholm, that took care of most of the trades between different countries along Östersjön, the baltic sea and Nordsjön, the north sea, which lead to quite much German inspiration.


The Hanseatic League started with a few north German towns in the 1100s, (which later became Swedish from 1648 to 1815), the league came too, as written above, dominate the Baltic maritime trade. The Hanseatic League territories stretched from the Baltic, to the North sea and inland, and slowly diminished, three centuries later, around 1450.

During this time, German people immigrated to Swedish cities and worked in trade and administration. Accordingly, loanwords from Niederdeutsch or Low German, entered the Swedish language in a fast pace.

Tyska Kyrkan

Most of the loanwords that Sweden loaned during that time was of course influenced by all the trading that took place. Loanwords relating to warfare, crafts, trade and bureaucracy was the loanwords that the Swedish people got. For example, the word window and kitchen was replaced.

Eldhus (kitchen) was replaced with kök as it is today. Betala (to pay) was replaced with gælda. Some of these words still exist in the modern Swedish but are often considered archaic or dialectal. The influence of Low German was so strong that the inflectional system of Old Swedish was largely broken down.

Here are some Swedish word that has its origin from the German language: handla (to buy) , jungfru (mermaid) , mynt (coin) , omständighet (circumstance) , anhörig (relative) , befäl (command) , belopp (amount) , bödel (executioner) and förhöra (to interrogate).

Albert III

Sweden also had a German king (Albert III), who was a king of Sweden from 1364 to 1389. He was the second son of Duke Albert II of Mecklenburg and Euphemia Eriksdotter, the daughter of Duke Erik Magnusson of Södermanland and sister of King Magnus IV of Sweden, Magnus VII of Norway.

As mentioned in the previous post, the Old Town is filled with buildings named “The german _”, such as Tyska kyrkan, consecrated
in 1571, Tyska brinken, and Tyska stallplan. Stockholm is even filled with many german restaurants.

Tyska Kyrkan

The things we see today, as the restaurants all over Stockholm, streetnames, buildings with names including “the german) etc, is a result of the strong influence and power the german people and language had on Sweden back in the early days.

This Blog Post was made in Cooperation with History of Stockholm Follow them on Instagram for more historic facts about Stockholm.

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