Gamla Riksbanken (The Old National Bank)
One of the world's first dedicated bank buildings in the world is now the oldest one.
The history of banking is very long, dating back thousands of years. Many cultures independently came up with ways to facilitate barter and store riches over the ages, but it took very long for the first dedicated “banks” to start popping up. It was only in the mid-to-late-17th century that it happened, and one of the first such buildings was built in 1675 in Stockholm.
The bank was built in three stages from 1675 to 1737, and served as the head office for the Riksbank—the country’s central bank—until 1905. It was the first of its kind in Northern Europe, at least the first intended solely for banking.
Interestingly enough, all of its contemporaries seem to have been demolished over the years, by city planning or bombings during war. This has made the first bank building in the world the oldest bank building in the world—a title that it proudly displays on a plaque next to the main entrance.
Today the building is owned by the state and maintained as a monument, though it still houses several companies that use it for office space.
Know Before You Go
It is generally not possible to go inside the building, but that does not stop anyone from admiring the architecture. The iron bars and shutters on the lower level give it a very odd look, not unlike a prison.
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