Långholmen is a green oasis in the city, and a popular spot for walks, picnics and swimming. The small beaches, located right outside the former prison, are usually crowded in summer. However, up until 1975, Långholmen was used as a prison island. Since 1989 Långholmen Prison has been a 112-room hotel and hostel, renovated in 2007/2008. In the former prison hospital there is now a restaurant and pub.
Långholmen was originally rocky and barren, but in the eighteenth century, prison inmates covered the island with mud dredged from the surrounding waterways. After several years, the fertile soil transformed much of the island into lush gardens with a somewhat exotic flora, due to the introduction of various seeds that were spread via trade and merchant ships passing by the island. This peculiarity still persists, and today the island is considered a lush retreat.
In 1993 a JAS 39 Gripen fighter aircraft crashed on Långholmen during a display at the Stockholm Water Festival. The plane caught fire on impact, but the fire could soon be put out. The pilot successfully ejected, and despite large crowds of spectators, only one person was injured. A sculpture in stainless steel by Thomas Qvarsebo, depicting a paper plane with its nose drilled into the ground, was placed on the spot in 1994.
Långholmen Prison, officially Långholmen Central Prison (Swedish: Långholmens centralfängelse), was historically one of the biggest prison facilities in Sweden with more than 500 cells, located on the island of Långholmen in Stockholm. It was built 1874-1880 as the central prison of Sweden, and was in use until 1975. Today the building is being used as a hotel/hostel and museum, as well as to accommodate a folk high school. Part of the prison was demolished in 1982. The prison is also noted for being the location of the last execution in Sweden prior to the abolition of capital punishment in 1921. The execution took place in 1910, by guillotine.
The island itself was originally rocky and barren, but in the 19th century, the then current prisoners were made to cover the island with mud dredged from the waterways around it. After a few years, the fertile soil had turned the island into a lush garden with a somewhat exotic flora compared to its surroundings, caused by various seeds accidentally brought and spread by the trade and merchant ships from other places and countries that passed by the island. This peculiarity still persists, and today the island is known as a lush oasis.