Dardel_Bellmansfestw.jpgA Bellman festivity on July 26 in the mid-19th century. Fritz von Dardel. Stockholm City Museum.Grafiskt element

Amusements and popular festivals

On Sundays, city dwellers came in droves to Djurgården. During the 19th century Djurgårdsslätten developed into the major amusement venue on southern Djurgården. Picnics were enjoyed in the shade of oak trees to the tones of the barrel organ. For those with the means, there was a visit to one of the many taverns and cafés. Variety shows, music and dance salons were on offer. The first Tivoli opened in 1850, at the site where Skansen´s main entrance is currently located. Gröna Lund was opened in 1883 and Cirkus in 1891. As today, it was possible to take the boat, then operated by strong oarswomen (the roddargummor), from Skeppsbron in the Old Town to Allmänna Gränd on Djurgården.
The 1st of May was the classic day for festivities on Djurgården, even before the Labour Movement was established. Everyone assembled in the open to celebrate the arrival of spring. Until the 1870s, a royal cortège drove along Storgatan to southern Djurgården, accompanied by cheering and waving crowds.

The large military stations that Gustav III and later Karl XIV Johan had situated at the Ladugårdsgärdet also affected the entertainments in the park. Under Gustav III’s rule, the military camps would become motley public festivals, in which exercises and amusements would go hand in hand. The exercises usually took place in June-July, during the peak of Midsummer. Maypoles were erected, music was played and people would eat and drink together; the troops were treated to beer, bread, tobacco and herring.

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