The Stockholm Witch Trials

Explore Södermalm with a self-guided audio tour based on the true story of Malin Matsdotter

2.9 km
Start location
Olle Adolphson's park
End location
Anna Lindhagen's garden
1.5 hour(s)
Age rating

79 kr

Read this in — Svenska

Who was Malin Matsdotter?

The Swedish witch trials, commonly referred to as “The Great Noise”, culminated in Stockholm in 1676. Malin Matsdotter was one of many women sacrificed when government officials tried to keep citizens calm with public executions. Just a few months previously, a group of children and young maids managed to incite panic throughout the local parish. They were playing witch sabbath games, suffered mysterious seizures and claimed to have seen things not visible to adult eyes. Eventually, terrified parents were chasing witches around every street corner. Neighbors turned against each other.

Malin Matsdotter was an eccentric lady with a Finnish accent, which was a good-enough reason for children to start pointing their fingers at her. But why was Malin’s punishment more severe than anyone else’s? And what happened the day the court discovered that the children’s games were exactly that – just games?

The Stockholm Witch Trials

You’ll meet twelve-year-old Gertrud at one of Stockholm’s beautiful lookout-points at Mariaberget. Gertrud used to live next-door to Malin Matsdotter. She is worried about a conversation she overheard you having with her brother. The Great Noise might be over, but Gertrud believes that people like her brother can ignite the flames of hysteria once again.

Together, you and Gertrud head out for a walk through time. You visit the locations where the true story of Malin Matsdotter’s terrible fate took place. Gertrud tells you everything she knows about what happened while you walk, and in every new location you can actively take part of the story through sound, illustrations and game elements.

The StoryTourist app will show you the way

To walk this tour, you’ll download the user-friendly StoryTourist app. The app is equipped with a map, GPS and a digital guide which makes sure you walk in the right direction. Once you have purchased the tour it is yours to keep. You can use it at any time and as many times as you wish.

Through the StoryTourist-app, you’ll get to know Gertrud, Malin and the other women who were involved in the Stockholm witch trials. The only thing you need to be able to explore Södermalm in a brand-new way is a smartphone with headphones.

This StoryTour is written by Myrna Moström.

Read this in — Svenska

How this tour works

Your smartphone is your guide on this tour! Once you have purchased a tour, this is what you do:

  • Download the StoryTourist app from Apple App Store or Google Play, while connected to Wi-Fi.
  • Log into the app using the same email address you filled in when purchasing the tour. You will create your password the first time you log into the app. The tour you have purchased will be ready to download in the tour library once you have logged in. Make sure you are still connected to Wi-Fi while downloading the tour.
  • Go to the starting point of the tour, open the app, put your headphones on and head out on your StoryTour adventure!

Important information

  • This is a location based experience. You have to be at the tour starting point in Stockholm, Sweden, to start this walking tour.
  • Once the tour is downloaded to your phone, you can use it offline.
  • There is a map, GPS and a digital guide in the app, making sure that you’ll walk the right way.
  • This tour is available in English and Swedish.
  • Once you have purchased the tour, it is your to keep. You can use it whenever you want and as many times as you would like. You can start, pause and end the tour whenever you would like.
  • This tour is pet friendly – feel free to bring your dog on this walk!
  • Public transport is available close to both the tour start point and end point.
  • This tour is not accessible to wheelchair users due to stairs.
  • We recommend participants to be at least 9 years old or over, due to mentions of violence and death.

What to bring

  • Your smartphone, with the StoryTourist app and the tour you purchased already downloaded. 
  • Headphones, for the best possible listening experience
  • Make sure that your smartphone battery is fully charged. If you know that your phone has poor battery capacity, it can be a good idea to bring a powerbank as well.

Olle Adolphson’s park

This area is called Mariaberget, and it has been populated since the 1300’s. This park used to be an empty lot where deceased malaria victims were left awaiting their funeral. This is where Malin Matsdotter

A view of Maria Magdalena

The Maria Magdalena church was built from 1588 and finished in 1625. The church was restored to its present look after the Maria fire in 1759, when the church and 300 buildings burned.

Stockholm City Museum

The Stockholm City Museum is located in the building which was once the southern city hall. It was built in 1663, and housed courtrooms and the district jail. This is where Malin Matsdotter and the other women faced the court.

Anna Månsdotter's home

One of the accused women, hatmaker Anna Månsdotter, lived in the Mosebacke area. The area got its name from the Mosis windmill, which was located here during the 1600’s.

Lisbet Carlsdotter's home

Lisbet Carlsdotter, the young girl who testified at several witch trials, lived at Pelarbacken at Högbergsgatan, only a stone's throw away from where Anna Månsdotter lived.

The Katarina church

The Katarina parish was at the epicenter of the witch trials at Södermalm during 1675-76. Most of the accused, accusers and witnesses belonged to the Katarina congregation.

Cavalry Capt. Gråå's home

Cavalry Captain Gråå lived on this street corner. His home was also a watch house, where worried parents gathered to watch over their sleeping children to keep them safe from witches.

The boy from Gävle’s home

Johan Johansson Grijs was sent from Gävle to stay with a relative here at Åsögatan, after he accused his mother of witchcraft. He testified at several witch trials during the Great Noise.

Climbing Gallows mountain

Stigberget was used as Södermalm’s execution site during the 1500-1600’s. The gallow was drawn in as a navigational mark on several nautical charts from that time.

Gallows mountain

The first documented name for this mountain is Galgebærgith (Gallows mountain). People could see the execution site from far away, which was meant to have a deterrent effect.

Locations you'll visit on this tour:

  • Olle Adolphson's park
  • The Stockholm City Museum
  • Mosebacke square
  • The Katarina church
  • Axel Landquist's park
  • Stigberget (Gallows mountain)
  • Anna Lindhagen's garden
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