Halmstad – Vikings, Beaches and Jörgen Persson
Halmstad offers a fine mix of big city pulse and small-town charm, sandy shorelines and calm rivers. The proud Scandinavian history can be seen all over the city center – along with modern architecture and art by both Picasso and Milles. The city also holds a proud sports tradition – with stars as Arsenal legend Fredrik ”Freddie” Ljungberg and the five times Table Tennis World Champion, Jörgen Persson.
Halmstad is a city of nearly 100,000 inhabitants on the west coast of southern Sweden, in the middle between of Gothenburg and Malmö. The city is placed in Laholmsbukten (Bay of Laholm) and divided by the river Nissan. Long sandy beaches are surrounding the city, in addition to the famous Tylösand, lining the 40 kilometers of coastline.
The Viking heritage is present in Halmstad area, as in most of Scandinavia. On the 9th of August 1062 the fleets of Harald III of Norway and Sweyn II of Denmark clashed together in the Battle of Nissan, just outside the current harbour of Halmstad. Harald won the battle and with increased confidence then invaded England, where he eventually died in the famous battle of Stamford Bridge 1066.
The oldest settlements found in the Halmstad area are dated to around the time of the Battle of Nissan. The city of Halmstad was established in the 13th century and was a strategic northern outpost in the Kingdom of Denmark. King Christian IV built the city with The Castle and fortified ramparts around year 1600. Both The Castle and one of the city gates are still to be found in the historic city center.
After countless wars between Denmark and Sweden, Halmstad became Swedish in 1645. But 400 years later the Danish influence is still present in the regions food, with specialties like Kvibille cheese and kale as good examples.
Culture and sights
Walking through Halmstad you can discover houses and environments from across the centuries, from the 18th century Castle and Norre Port to the praised waterfront City Library opened in 2006. There are good collections of public art, including sculptures by Milles and Picasso. The art scene is formed by art collective, The Halmstad Modernists, which can be seen at Mjellby Art Museum. Their art can also be viewed in Halmstad Theatre, with iconic Scandinavian 1950’s design.
Sport and activities
With six 18-hole courses, five 9-hole courses and one of the world’s best training facilities, Halmstad is Sweden’s golf capital attracting golf players from the whole of Scandinavia. Furthermore the city offers an active lifestyle with beautiful hiking trails, 200 km of cycle paths, and several extreme sport activities.
Halmstad has a proud history in sports, particularly in football, handball and table tennis. The iconic Arsenal star Fredrik ”Freddie” Ljungberg was formed in the football club Halmstads BK, four times Swedish Champions at the beautiful arena Örjans Vall. Several players in the Swedish Handball Wonder in the 1990’s played for the local club HK Drott. And the table tennis heroes Jörgen Persson and Ulf “Tickan” Carlsson are gold-winning legends in Halmstad BTK. Both clubs has their home in World Championship venue, Halmstad Arena.
More than a Summer Paradise
There are a number of long sandy beaches, in addition to the famous Tylösand, lining the 40 kilometres of coastline, surrounded by an idyllic countryside. Because of this, Halmstad has been named Sweden’s best summer resort, but it offers a variety of experience for all tastes, all year round. Whoever you are, whatever you want to do, the Halmstad experience is for you. Welcome!
Photo: © Patrik Leonardsson