The strongest meanings of many capital cities are embodied in historic or modern buildings, urban landmarks and planned spaces dating from different historical periods. New York and 11th September have recently shown what strong symbols buildings can be (in this case the WTC towers). Castles and market places, cathedrals and churches, palaces and parliament buildings, bridges and canal systems, opera houses and theatres, trade centres and Olympic stadiums, towers and glass palaces, statues and monuments are essential in constructing urban images. The capital city is at once an imagined community and an interaction of planning history, present time and future dreams. The different systems for representing a city’s identity form a complex set of social, economic and cultural relationships. They are surprisingly similar in many capital cities, as will be shown here in the Scandinavian context.