Lidköping’s most iconic building
Hunting lodge from Kållandsö
The building is said to have originally been Count Magnus Gabriel de la Gardie’s hunting lodge which stood out on Kållandsö near Traneberg. Some also say it could have been a summer house. In the late seventeenth century, the building was moved across the lake to Lidköping to serve as the town hall when Magnus Gabriel de la Gardie founded the New Town. Work to reconstruct the building in its new location began in 1672 and ended four years later in 1676. As part of the move, and its change of status, the building gained a new ground floor, an entrance staircase leading to the first floor, a balcony on the second floor and a tower clock with chimes.
Many different uses
The Town Hall was the seat of the town court and magistrate until 1883, after which the building was put to various uses, including as a police station, a fire station and a museum. The Old Town Hall also served as the town’s first telephone exchange in 1884–1888. On 11 February 1960, the Old Town Hall caught fire and the upper storeys were completely destroyed. A decision was quickly made to rebuild it and the Old Town Hall was reopened on 12 December 1961. Today the ground floor houses tourist information and a café, while the top floors are used for special events and conferences.
History of the building
The Old Town Hall used to be a greyish yellow but in 1972 it was repainted red, as it is to this day. Many people think that red was its original colour. The coats of arms of the Old and New Town are set into the stone wall next to the steps. The tower is topped with the goddess of justice, Justitia. The statue fell off the roof in the fire but escaped being destroyed as it was caught up in a cable several metres above the ground. The roof of the Town Hall consists of about 25,000 oak shingles cut by hand. These were cut from an oak log the traditional way, cutting through the tree rings at right angles. The roof is coated in tar at regular intervals, which accounts for the scent of tar that often surrounds the building.
The bells and their music
At 9 a.m., midday, 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. the bells of the Old Town Hall play different tunes. The carillon was added after the fire of 1960 and was funded by money collected to rebuild the town hall after the fire. The tunes played are “Klanger” by Birger Telander from Lidköping at 9 a.m., a sixteenth-century melody researched by Telander at midday, “Town Hall Melody” by Telander at 3 p.m. and “Norna” a 9-note tune by cantor Otto Andersson from Rackeby at 6 p.m..