The Polman Legacy

Travel back in time to the 17th and 18th centuries — “the Era of Great Power” of the Swedish Empire — in an immersive exhibit that explores the lives of a Swedish noble family in a digital narrative of stories, artefacts, and virtual tours.

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This exhibition is made possible by the generous contributions of Skoklosters slott, the National Archives of Estonia, and Wikimedia Commons.

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The Polman Family

The family Polman can be traced back to the 16th century in the Holy Roman Empire. In 1650, they were knighted in Sweden with the name Påhlman.

Who were the Polmans?

Learn more about the Polman family’s earliest ancestors, later included in Swedish and Estonian nobility.

Swedish nobility in the 17th century

Learn about the golden age of Swedish nobility, during which the number of noble families grew fivefold.

Holy Roman Empire to Sweden & Livonia

The Polmans are connected to Westphalia, from where they migrated across the Holy Roman Empire.

Early 1500s

The earliest known ancestors found in the Holy Roman Empire in present-day Germany.


The Patriarch, Jürgen Polman enters the service of Duke Karl of Södermanland, future sovereign of Sweden.


Johan and his brother, Gustaff, are knighted at Stockholm Castle by Queen Kristina with the name Påhlman

Explore the Different Branches

Originally from a village in the Holy Roman Empire, members of the Polman family were also found in Sweden, Poland, Latvia, Estonia, and Norway throughout the centuries. Explore their movements in the map below. Hover over each tooltip for more information.

Take a trip around Northern Europe

Tour the ruins of the 14th-century Padise monastery or get a close look inside Skokloster Castle,
one of Sweden’s grandest baroque castles.

The Rise of an Empire

Under the reign of Gustavus Adolphus, Sweden entered “Stormaktstiden,” the Era of Great Power, successfully expanding its territories and influence.

Jöran Polman the Younger

A captain in the Swedish military, Jöran Polman is one of 20 soldiers whose portrait adorns the walls of Skokloster Castle.

Gustavus Adolphus the Great

Gustavus Adolphus is widely regarded as one of the greatest military commanders in European history.

Control of the Baltic Sea

The objective of Sweden’s foreign policy was dominion over the coasts of the Baltic Sea, dominium maris baltici.

Baltic-Germans in Livonia

Learn about the Baltic-German nobility who ruled over a manorial system in 17th century Livonia.

The Polman Patriarch

Learn about Jürgen Polman, who charted the course that many generations in his family line would follow.

Karl IX, King of Sweden

Karl IX established the absolute monarchy in Sweden and continued the expansion of the Swedish Empire.

Daily life in 17th century Livonia

The Swedish state enabled a vast network of institutions managed by the local nobility in 17th-century Livonia.

Get a close-up look at the collections

Immerse yourself in 500 years of history through the largest collection
of relics and artefacts related to the Polman family.

The Empire Falls

Sweden was at the height of its power and territory in the early 18th century. Following the Great Northern War and Karl XII’s death at the Siege of Fredriksten, Sweden lost almost all its provinces on the other side of the Baltic Sea. The era of great power was over.

Lionhearted Carl Gustaf Påhlman

From surviving grave battle injuries to being exiled to Siberia for 14 years, Carl Gustaf beat all the odds.

The Madman of the North

The reign of Sweden’s Karl XII was marked by continual warfare against Poland, Denmark and Russia.

The surrender of the Swedish army

In 1709, the once unstoppable Swedish army surrendered, leading to Sweden’s decline as a major power.

Triumph & Disaster

What came to pass when one of the most formidable European rulers in history plotted to protect a princess from the violence of an abusive husband?

Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia

Catherine the Great is regarded as one of the most powerful and influential rulers in European history.

A trusted advisor and friend

Jägermeister von Pohlmann endeared himself to Catherine the Great, who held him in high regard.

The Princess and the Jägermeister

To protect Auguste from a violent husband, Catherine re-engaged the services of Jägermeister von Pohlmann.

360° Tours

Walk around virtually and explore where the Polmans once stood

Stockholm Palace

360° tour of The Hall of State

Gripsholm Castle

360° tour of Duke Karl’s Chamber

Skokloster Castle

360° tour of Skokloster

Ryssby kyrka

360° tour of Ryssby church

Koluvere Castle

360° tour of Koluvere Castle


360° tour of the House of Nobility

Kalmar Castle

360° tour of Kalmar Castle

Padise Monastery

360° tour of Padise Monastery


Get a close-up look at relics and objects between the 16th and 18th centuries

Support us

Become a patron or volunteer. Contribute an item to grow the collection. Or donate to help keep the lights on. Find out how you can support Polmanarkivet.

Contributions by

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Lansstyrelsen Kronoberg
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