114 55 Stockholm, Sweden
T: +46 77 145 04 50
Hours: Sun - Closed
Mon - 9AM–6PM
Tue - 9AM–6PM
Wed - 9AM–6PM
Thu - 9AM–6PM
Fri - 9AM–6PM
Sat - 10AM–3PM
Sweden’s most beautiful dispensary
Apoteket Storken is a pharmacy in the corner Storgatan 28 and Styrmansgatan 24 in Östermalm, Stockholm. The house was built between 1897-1899 by the architect and builder Hans Jacob Hallström (1840-1901) according to his own drawings.
Back in antiquity, the serpent was taken as a symbol of the art healing. Here, rather than coiled around the Aesculapian staff it is shown inside the beak of a stork. The golden bird enjoys pride of place above the entrance to the Storken Pharmacy, putting visitors in the mood for its opulent interior.
The preserved original interiors, designed by the furniture maker Carl Fredrik Allard and made by carpenter Petter Nilssonmade from noble polished rosewood, ebony, and jacaranda date back to 1899 and give the place a near-sacral appearance. Portraits lining the intricately carved shelves in the neo-Gothic style immortalize Swedish doctors and scientists: Jöns Jakob Berzelius for instance, who introduced a system of symbols for chemical elements. Depending on their level of fame, the researchers are commemorated with a small medallion or an impressive golden bust. Below them, 100-year-old pharmacist’s jars with Latin inscriptions stand next to discreet modern products. The walls are made of Swedish marble, the ceiling of painted stained glass by German artist Fritz Rosenthal. They show allegorical representations of illness and good health, life, and death: a sick man is writhing in the arms of a woman, while the Grim Reaper is waiting in the background.
Small wonder that the Swedish conservation authorities listed this pharmacy as the one with the greatest cultural and historical significance in the country. Apart from the brown glass apothecary bottles, the back room preserves further instruments in their original state, but most of all jars with a rather peculiar content. There is a small bowl with dried green iridescent flies. Contrary to popular belief the Spanish Fly was not an invention of the sex industry, as one can find out here. Ground to a powder in a mortar the insect works as a potency enhancer. Overdosed, the Spanish Fly leads to circulatory collapse and renal failure, leading to its use in the past for executions or secret assassinations.
Also in this house, there is a well-preserved electric lift, which was among the first in Sweden.
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