The Woodland Chapel

The Woodland Chapel is a small wooden house in the forest without windows. Instead, the light comes through an opening in the roof.

Photo: Mattias Ek.

Gunnar Asplund designed Skogskyrkogården’s first chapel. His proposal was revised several times. Eventually, it became a small wooden building in the middle of the forest, the Woodland Chapel.

Unusual and beautiful

In 1920, the cemetery was inaugurated with the Woodland Chapel. It was perceived as unusual and beautiful but also small.

The light comes from above

The chapel is intimate, without windows to look out through. An inner dome lets in daylight through an opening at the top. Candles light up the rest of the room. The floor in red limestone is carefully designed — a support when we can’t bear to look at each other or the coffin. The chapel has few and discreet symbols. It is designed to welcome different philosophies of life.

Indirect light flows through a circular skylight into the chapel. Photo: Mattias Ek.

Skulls and an Angel of Death

The chapel’s decor includes skulls, a historically common symbol of death. On the roof Carl Milles’ sculpture “Angel of Death” was placed. Some people were provoked and protested against the sculpture at first.

Snakes can symbolize both death and eternal life. Photo: Mattias Ek.

Explore the chapel online

With panoramic photography in Google Street View, you can explore the chapel.