Skogskyrkogården with the newly built Chapel of Resurrection to the right. Photo: C G Rosenberg, 1926.

The History of Skogskyrkogården

Follow the history from competition, proposals and revisions to the construction of what is now called Skogskyrkogården.


At the end of the 19th century, Stockholm city was responsible for new cemeteries in the municipality. In 1895, Södra begravningsplatsen was completed. As only one of two municipalities in Sweden, Stockholm has  responsibility for cemeteries. In the rest of the country, it is the Christian Swedish Church that is responsible for cemeteries and burial sites.

In the early 1900s, Stockholm got many new residents. More land was needed for graves. Stockholm city decided to make Södra begravningsplatsen larger. The city also decided to hold a competition for the design of the new area.

The competition

In the fall of 1914, the city presented an idea competition for the new cemetery. The responsible parties thought completely new about the design of the site. The most important idea was that visitors should be able to experience that life and death are constantly ongoing, as an eternal process, life-death-life.

The task in the competition was also:

  • The site should be aesthetic and artistic.
  • The area should be dignified, without monuments and with equally large graves for everyone.
  • Forest and nature should be preserved as much as possible.

Inspiration for the new ideas came from various sources: Romanticism in the 1800s, modern design, and even thoughts about equality.

The competition attracted many architects and landscape designers, and the city received many proposals. The young architects Gunnar Asplund and Sigurd Lewerentz won with their proposal “Tallum”.

During the 1910s, there were difficult economic times. Among other things, this is why architects had to redo and simplify their proposal several times. It wasn’t until 1917 that construction of the landscape could begin.

An early proposal for landscape and buildings closest to today’s main entrance.



Stockholm city decides to expand Södra begravningsplatsen (Southern Funeral Site).


Competition for the new Södra begravningsplatsen. Architects Gunnar Asplund and Sigurd Lewerentz win with their proposal “Tallum”.


Södra begravningsplatsen is inaugurated with the small Skogskapellet, designed by Gunnar Asplund.


Södra begravningsplatsen is divided and gets new names: Skogskyrkogården and Sandsborgskyrkogården.

Gunnar Asplund’s drawing of Skogskyrkogården’s staff and service building Tallum Pavilion (now Visitors Center) 1921—1922. Archive: Architecture and Design Center.


The staff and service building is completed. It is also called Tallumpaviljongen and today houses Visitors center. The wall around the area begins to be built.


The Resurrection Chapel is inaugurated, designed by Sigurd Lewerentz.


The wall is completed after 10 years of hard work by the unemployed.


The open landscape at the main entrance and Almhöjden are completed, designed by Sigurd Lewerentz.

The Woodland Crematorium. Architect Gunnar Asplund shows the new crematorium to Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf, Prince Eugen, and councilor Yngve Larsson. Unknown photographer.


The large Woodland Crematorium is built and inaugurated. With this closure of the project, Gunnar Asplund is the sole architect remaining. He dies in October.


Remembrance Garden is inaugurated, designed by Sigurd Lewerentz who return to the site.


Skogskyrkogården becomes a world heritage site.

After her death in New York in 1990, Greta Garbo was buried at Skogskyrkogården in 1999. Photo: Mattias Ek.


Greta Garbo is buried south of Woodland Chapel.


A new crematorium is planned, built, and put into operation. The architect is Johan Celsing.