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Helsingborg is a town and the seat of Helsingborg Municipality, Scania, Sweden. It had 132,989 inhabitants in 2013. Helsingborg is the centre of the northern part of western Scania. There is no formal metropolitan area, but the municipality of Helsingborg City and its neighbouring five municipalities (within Scania) had in spring of 2013 a population of 269.489 inhabitants at an area of 1.353 square kilometres (0.522 square miles), a population density of 200 people/km2. This makes Helsingborg the fourth largest population area in Sweden. The city is also Sweden's closest point to Denmark, with the Danish city Helsingør clearly visible on the other side of the Øresund about 4 km (2 mi) to the west, closer than to the city's own remoter areas. If including all population around the northern part of Øresund, as a Helsingborg-Helsingør metropolitan area, its population increases to 732.450 at an area of 2.802 square kilometres (1.082 square miles). The busy ferry route, known as the HH Ferry route has through history been operated by several shipping lines. As of 2014 more than 70 car ferries departures from each harbour every day.
Following the Swedish orthography reform of 1906 many place names in Sweden got a modernized spelling. In 1912 it was decided to use the form Hälsingborg. In preparation for the local government reform 1971 the Hälsingborg city council proposed that the new, enlarged municipality should be spelled with an "e". This was also the decision of the Government of Sweden, effective from 1 January 1971.
Historic Helsingborg, with its many old buildings, is a scenic coastal city. The buildings are a blend of old-style stone-built churches and a 600-year-old medieval fortress (Kärnan) in the city centre, and more modern commercial buildings. The streets vary from wide avenues to small alley-ways. Kullagatan, the main pedestrian shopping street in the city, was the first pedestrian shopping street in Sweden.
Helsingborg is one of the oldest cities of what is now Sweden. It has been the site of permanent settlement officially since 21 May 1085. Helsingborg's geographical position at the narrowest part of Øresund made it very important for Denmark, at that time controlling both sides of that strait. From 1429 Eric of Pomerania introduced the Øresundstolden (the Sound Dues), a levy on all trading vessels passing through the sound between Elsinore and Helsingborg. This was one of the main incomes for the Danish Crown. The crossing traffic was like fishermen not submitted to pay the dues, it was a tax initially directed against the Hanseatic League.
The Sound Dues primarily made Helsingør flourish, but quite a bit spilled over to Helsingborg. The northern narrow inlet to Øresund with its relatively high coastlines made impression on many mariners, and when Kronborg during the Renaissance was rebuilt from a fortress to a Palace the area got famous. A proof of this is William Shakespeare's masterpiece Hamlet, which is unfolded at Kronborg. And the Prince of Denmark could well have hidden himself from his evil uncle in Helsingborg. In any case, the Renaissance was a good period for the Kingdom of Denmark. But towards the middle of the 17th Century, dark clouds appeared from the North.
Following the Dano-Swedish War (1657-1658) and the Treaty of Roskilde Denmark had to give up all territory on the southern Scandinavian peninsula, and Helsingborg became submitted to new rulers. King Charles X Gustav of Sweden landed here on the 5th of March 1658 to take personal possession of the Scanian lands and was met by a delegation led by the bishop of the Diocese of Lund, Peder Winstrup. At that time the town had a population of barely 1,000 people. He soon attempted to erase Denmark totally from the map, by attacking Copenhagen but failed (Treaty of Copenhagen (1660)), and died in Gothenburg soon afterwards. Not much changed for some 15 years, but as Charles XI was declared of age, many processes began. As the new king indeed was unsatisfied with his former rulers (Known as "Förmyndarräfsten" in Swedish history).
The new situation, being a border town, caused problems for the town. The days of conflict were not over. Denmark made two recaptures of Scania, but couldn't hold it. The last Danish attempt to regain Scania was in 1710, when 14.000 men landed on the shores near Helsingborg. The Battle of Helsingborg was fought on the 28th of February just outside the city, which was badly affected. It took a long time to recover, and in 1770 the city had 1321 inhabitants and was just slowly growing.
On the 20th of October 1811 Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, Marshal of France and crown prince-elect of Sweden (later king Charles XIV John) took his first step on Swedish soil in Helsingborg on his journey from Paris to Stockholm.
From the middle of the 19th century onwards, however, Helsingborg was one of the fastest growing cities of Sweden, increasing its population from 4,000 in 1850 to 20,000 in 1890 and 56,000 in 1930 due to industrialization. From 1892 a train ferry was put in service, connecting Helsingborg with its Danish sister city Helsingør. A tramway network was inaugurated in 1903 and closed down in 1967. Plans are underway to reintroduce trams in the city.
Helsingborg has an oceanic climate typical of southern Sweden, although its winters are very mild for a location at such a high latitude. Although the temperature differences between seasons are significant, Helsingborg often lacks a meteorological winter with both January and February averaging just above the freezing point in terms of mean temperatures.
Climate data for Helsingborg
|Record high °C (°F)||11.0|
|Average high °C (°F)||2.5|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||0.3|
|Average low °C (°F)||−1.8|
|Record low °C (°F)||−21.7|
|Source #1: SMHI Average Precipitation 1961-1990|
|Source #2: SMHI Average Data 2002-2015|
Helsingborg is a major regional centre of trade, transport and business. In 2001 Campus Helsingborg, a branch of University of Lund, opened in the former Tretorn rubber factory buildings, originally founded by Henry Dunker. Three ferry companies take people and cargo to and from Denmark around the clock. The route is popular with day-trippers going to Elsinore or Copenhagen, or simply enjoying the views from the ferries. IKEA, the retailer of furniture and home interiors, has its international corporate headquarters in Helsingborg. Nicorette, the nicotine chewing gum, has a manufacturing plant there. Ramlösa is a mineral water from Ramlösa Brunn, a southern suburb of the city. Mobile phone developer Spectronic is also situated in Helsingborg. The online custom clothing retailer Tailor Store Sweden AB has its offices in Helsingborg. Zoégas, a major coffee company, has been located here since the 1800s.
The City of Helsingborg is subdivided into 31 districts.
The districts of Helsingborg
Transportation - Get In
Helsingborg Central Station is in the lower level of Knutpunkten, a massive complex on the waterfront which also includes the ferry terminal.
From Malmö and Lund, there are three trains an hour to Helsingborg; the trip takes 40 minutes on the fastest routes, or just over an hour on the mauve Pågatåg local trains. Trains run hourly from Copenhagen (1¼ hours) and Kastrup Airport (1 hour) to the south, and from Göteborg (2½ hours) to the north. Hourly trains run from Hässleholm (1 hour), of which some originate in Kristianstad (1h20) (note that this route is interrupted during the summer of 2013). Tickets for these trains are issued at fixed prices by the Skånetrafiken transport authority, and are also valid on local transport at either end of the route.
Stockholm-bound travellers usually need to change to a SJ express train in Hässleholm or Lund.
An alternative route to Copenhagen is to take the ferry across to Helsingør (20 min), where the trains to the Danish capital are more frequent (45 min). This can be faster than waiting for an hourly direct train, and is also cheaper. Skånetrafiken can sell combined tickets that cover both the ferry and train.
There are regular bus services between Helsingborg and Stockholm, Copenhagen, Oslo, Gothenburg and other cities along the way towards these cities. The major bus companies are Bus4You, GoByBus and Swebus.
By E4 from Stockholm in the north, and E6 from Malmö in the south and from Gothenburg/Oslo in the north. If you're having problems with you car you can visit the nearby car service
From Helsingör, Denmark, it's a short 20 minute ferry ride across the sound, with ferries departing every 15 minutes most of the day. At night, there is at least one ferry every hour.
The Ängelholm-Helsingborg Airport is situated approximately 40 km from Helsingborg and has daily flights to Stockholm-Arlanda (SAS) and Stockholm-Bromma (Kullaflyg [www]), weekly flights to Visby and seasonal flights to Mora.
Copenhagen Airport is about one hour away by train.
Transportation - Get Around
Practically all public transport goes through the train/ferry terminal Knutpunkten (Helsingborg C), including regional and long-distance trains and buses as well as local buses.
Skånetrafiken [www] runs the local and regional bus and train system, and if you intend on spending some time in the Skåne-region it is highly recommended that you get the so-called Jojo-card which is a prepay card that gives you 20% off any ticket. Additionally a duo/family ticket will give you another 10% off (for up to 2 adults and 3 children).
By public transport
Bus is the main means of transport in town. Buses run from early morning till around midnight and a little later on Fridays and Saturdays. The city bus system (Green buses) connects most of the city and all but one (#2) stay within one fare zone. Single trip costs 19 SEK, but it's not possible to pay with cash on the buses. Regional buses (Yellow buses) connect to nearby towns.
There are two further stations beyond Helsingborg C, but these are unlikely to be useful to tourists travelling within the city.
Taxi rides are rather expensive in Helsingborg and there is little competition. They can be found right outside Helsingborg C main entrance, next to the Marina Plaza hotel.
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The main shopping areas are the pedestrian streets Kullagatan, Bruksgatan and Södra Storgatan, as well as the main streets surrounding them in downtown Helsingborg.
Just outside the city there is Väla, one of Scandinavia's largest shopping centers.
The great Danish chocolaterie Peter Beier Chokolade (Södra Storgatan 5) [www] has a store in Helsingborg.
Helsingborg is known as somewhat the gastronomical center of Sweden, having some of the greatest chefs in the country.
- Brooklyn. Södra Kyrkogatan 12. Serves great meat in a distinguished atmosphere, all in dark-brown and white. Bar menu 69-129 SEK, à la carte 169-349 SEK.
- Catina Steakhouse, e-mail: [email protected]. Fresh, excellent steaks.
- Big Buddha, Ålgränden 1. Serves Thai and Chinese food. Mains 75-135 SEK.
- Restaurang Papadam, Bruksgatan 10. Has great Indian food in a modern environment. Mains 79-149 SEK.
- Restaurang Thai Corner, Bruksgatan 32-34. Mains 109-199 SEK.
- Haket Kök & Bar, Kullagatan 55. Serves Greek, Italian and American food in a cozy environment. They have somewhat slow service though with limited Swedish skills. Mains 49-139 SEK.
- Mezo, Storgatan 3. Serves lighter food - meze, pasta, sandwiches etc. - in a dark, mysterious environment. Mains 63-99 SEK.
- Restaurang Teater Katten, Kungsgatan 22, 252 21 Helsingborg (attached to the Stads (City) Theater), . 5pm-11pm. Relaxed yet Fine Dining. Attached to the City Theater and only a 1-2 block walk down to the harbor. Check out the Fillet Buffet on Thursday Evenings. With a selection of 7 or 8 meats, salad bar, potato dishes, and 5 different gravys. Good value for money, if you are hungry!! 140-350 SEK.
- Brock's Subs, Ålgränden 6. 0900-1800. Great NY style subs, 1/2 foot for ~30 SEK, and 1/1 foot for ~50-60 SEK. Mon-Fri 9.00-18.00, Sat 09.00-15.00. Closed on Sundays.30-60:-.
- Österns Pärla, Järnvägsgatan 17 (near Knutpunkten harbor). 11h-22h. Chinese restaurant: buffet lunch and Chinese specialties. 76-130 SEK.
- inom mat & bar, Sundstorget 7, . 12-23. Serves lunch and à la carte. Popular among both business and local guests. White Guide listed. Open Monday - Saturday.
Like so many other Swedish towns there's a great foreign influence which means there's an abundance of foreign fast food and take out places serving pizza, kebab, falafel, Chinese, Thai, Middle Eastern and so on.
- Restaurang Bara Rock, Gasverksgatan 15, . Mon-Thur 11:00-01:00, Fri 11:00-02:00, Sat 17:00-02:00 Sun Closed. Reportedly serves good food and great drinks.
Coffe & Drink
A lot of bars can be found downtown, inside or near Knutpunkten (Train station/Ferry terminal).
During Summer, the district Norra Hamnen (North Harbour) with its marina is highly recommended.
Koppi Cafe and Roaster in the core of Helsingborg are places where you drink fancy coffee.
Sights & Landmarks
- Raus Kyrka (Bus #1 southbound to Mickelsgården, then 500m walk). One of Sweden's oldest churches built in mid-12th century.
- Ramlösa Brunnspark (Ramlösa Hälsobrunn) (Bus #2 or #5 southbound). The famous mineral water spring in south Helsingborg, with a beautiful park founded in the 18th century.
- Helsingborg Castle (or what's left of it) overlooks the harbour, with archways over the steps leading down to the city center. Kärnan, the rectangular-plan tower from the 14th century at the top of the bluff, can be climbed.
- Sofiero Castle is a 19th-century ocean-side royal castle and gardens located 5 km from the city center. The gardens display local and foreign plants. It's famous for its plantations of Rhododendron, blossoming in early summer. The castle has a restaurant and a modern art gallery. The garden was named Sweden's most beautiful in 2009 [www] and Europe's Best Park in 2010. Take bus 219 towards Höganäs.
- Fredriksdal. Is an ambitious open-air museum with gardens, farm animals, old houses, museums and a theater. The printing museum and several inside exhibits are open year round. To get there, you take bus 1 or 7, both northbound.
- Sankta Maria kyrka - the city's church, built in the 14th century
- Rådhuset (Town Hall) - in the New Gothic style
- Norra Hamnen (H99) - the old industrial dock remade as esplanade with plenty of restaurants, coffee bars and marina
- Beredskapsmuseet. Is a museum of Sweden's preparation for defense during World War II.
Things to do
Dunkers Kulturhus (Dunker's Culture House) [www] is much more than a museum. Here you can listen to various concerts and experience art, history and crafts. You can also have lunch at the restaurant on site.
It's relaxing to take a stroll around the harbour.
Tropikariet (Hävertgatan 21, close to Fredriksdal) is a small but interesting zoo. Some of the animals are not enclosed in cages but live among the visitors, creating an intimate feeling. The little bird that walks slowly but intently, step by step, in the same lane where the customers are supposed to walk is a little scary, though.
The Dance School is a venue where you can go and watch professional dancers perform in different set-ups. If you get bored watching you can join one of the many dance classes.
The Tivoli by the sea offers good concerts with internationally and nationally known bands.
"Tura" is a Swedish expression for the local tradition of having dinner on the ferries (Scandlines). During summer and the weeks leading up to Christmas you should make reservations in advance. Quite possibly the most classic of Helsingborgian experiences.