Looking at Sweden

Helsingor Travel Blog

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In front of the ferries in Helsingør

When I want to relax and clear my mind I always drive along the coast of Øresund from Copenhagen via Helsingør and towards Tisvildeleje. It is a trip that takes me 100 kilometres along the coast and gives me 1½ hours of peace. From Tisvildeleje I can quite fast get back to Copenhagen again taking the motorway.

The largest city that I pass on my relaxing trip is Helsingør. Almost all the way Sweden is visible to the right and especially in Helsingør, where the Swedish city of Helsingborg lies only 4 kilometres away and a short distance across the Øresund in a ferry.

Helsingør or in English Elsinore is situated on the northeast coast of SjÌlland. Helsingør is a midsize Danish city with a population of approximately 46,000 including the southern suburbs of Snekkersten and EspergÌrde.

Outside Denmark and Sweden the city is probably known as the setting of William Shakespeare's Hamlet, whence the spelling 'Elsinore' originated.

The name is derived from the word "hals" meaning "neck" or "narrow strait", referring to the narrow strait Øresund between what is now Helsingør and Helsingborg, Sweden.

The Rerum Danicarum Historica (1631) claims that the history of Helsingør can be traced back to 70 BC, but this information is highly dubious. Before the Middle Ages Helsingør was just a marketplace where people sold goods.

Around 1200 AD the first church, Sct Olai Church, was built. A number of convents once surrounded the church, but now all that remains is the church building, today the cathedral of the Diocese of Helsingør. The oldest parts of the cathedral of Helsingør date back to the 1200s and tell us that the fishermen's village, as Helsingør was then, was a town of a certain importance. At least, there has always been some form of ferryboats crossing between Helsingør and Helsingborg.

Helsingør as we know it today was founded in the 1420s by the Danish king Eric of Pomerania. He established the Sound Dues in 1429 and built the castle 'Krogen', which was expanded in the 1580s and named Kronborg. Kronborg Castle is a main tourist attraction of the city.

The people were mentioned as Helsinger (which may mean "the people of the strait"), for the first time in King Valdemar the Victorious's Liber Census DaniÌ from 1231, but they should not be confused with the Helsings of Hälsingland in Sweden. Place names show that the Helsinger may have had their main fort at Hälsingborg and a fortified landing place at Helsingør, to control the ferry route across the strait.

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In front of the ferries in Helsing…
In front of the ferries in Helsin…
photo by: David