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Nicodemus Tessin was born in Stralsund in Pomerania and came to Sweden as a young man. There he met and worked with the architect Simon de la Vallée. He worked for the Swedish Chancellor Axel Oxenstierna before he travelled for further studies to Germany, Italy, France and in the Netherlands, where he got to know the new Baroque style in architecture. Back in Sweden he rebuilt Borgholm Castle, then built Skokloster Castle and the Wrangel Palace in Stockholm. His most important work was Drottningholm Palace, now a world heritage site.
Upon his death his son Nicodemus Tessin the Younger continued his projects.