St Nikolai is as old as Halmstad itself and the size it has shows how important it once was in a city that was then quite small - it was almost like a cathedral. Today, it is known for its stained glass windows. To be ctd.
Halmstad's city library has to be seen simply for its architecture. Where else do you have a library practically IN a river. It opened in 2006 and the architect company is Schmid, Hammer & Lassen from Århus in Danmark which was also responsible for the new Copenhagen library known as the Black diamond. Inside the library you can appreciate its light and also of course read papers from all over the world as well as check your e-mail.
The Halmstad branch of the county museum of Halland is set in a great park along the river and was specially built in 1933 after a Ragnar Hjort drawing. It shows you a bit about Halland's history as you would expect. There are pictures and information from old Halmstad and notably a section on the Danish-Swedish wars raging here since Halland is an oblong county with just a short distance from Halmstad to the Swedish border in those days and the Swedes kept attacking. There is also a floor dedicated to local art, especially the Halmstad Group which introduced surrealism to Sweden, and I even found a painting by my mum's old colleague's famous father :))). If you want to see much more of them, you should head to the tiny village of Mjällby to the north where there is a museum about the group.
Built in naval Karlskrona (where you can see her sister ship Jarramas) in 1897 the Najaden was built as a training ship and later used for sea cadet boys who could go on sailings to England and Germany some summers. In WWII she was moved to the Scanian coast and used to block the harbour at Torekov, which damaged the ship incredibly but a grocer Aronsson had her repaired back in Karlskrona and donated her to Halmstad which has since been her home. Najaden and the Cutty Sark in London are the only two full-rigged ships left to have steel and wood combined in the hull construction. You can get a guided tour on board the Najaden in summer by the "Friends of Najaden" but the hours are a bit erratic so check with the tourist office first if you are set on seeing it. Otherwise, just wander down to the river for a gamble. She's still nice to see from the quay too. Friends of Najaden have in fact done a great job in restoring her yet again as she was getting old and was threatened in the 1980s. Below is a link to an old Swedish TV film about life on board.
This impressive gate is the only one left of Halmstad's old city gates. It is also the one with the most impressive ramparts still surrounding it. Walk through it and marvel at the fact that the main road ran through here up until the 1950s! In fact it even had Halmstad's first traffic lights at one stage and the thin gate must have been quite congested. The reason the gate is at a funny angle to the main street itself is so the enemy wouldn't be able to shoot into the city. Halmstad got its defense system in the early 17th century but then never used it for very long once the wars with Denmark came to an end and it quickly became old fashioned. Norre Port itself was finished in 1601 and in the 1870s the town council wanted to tear it down but one man thankfully resisted and in 2007 it has finally been made a listed building. It might not be the prettiest city gate in the world but we really are not spoilt for choice in Sweden and it is a great part of Halmstad.
The castle is one of the first things you come across in the centre if you walk from the railway and is instantly welcoming with its wonderful rich red colour. Originally, there was a large farm on the site which the County governor bought as his residence but then he also needed somewhere to entertain the Danish king Christian IV when he was in town, and bought out the remaining properties on the site and had the castle built in the form of four buildings centred around an inner courtyard. It is designed by a Flemish architect called Hans van Stenwinkel from Antwerp since the then Dutch style was very much in fashion in Denmark at the time. Van Stenwinkel also worked with Tycho Brahe, the astronomer, on Ven so it is thought he was well scholed in mathematics and such that came in handy. The king's residence was the southernmost building which you cannot visit today, but you can visit the eastern building next to the river which houses the tourist office but which also has a small (free) exhibition on Christian IV and the general history of Halland with a timeline which is quite fun if you read Swedish and can see the comments on the modern years. When Halmstad became Swedish in 1645, the Swedish governor of Halland of course made it his residence. Behind the castle is one of the better parts of the city ramparts still standing.
I am actually not sure why Halmstad got the honour when this fabulous sculpture by Carl Milles was created. It was finished in 1926 and now stands in the middle of the main square where you can study it from all angles (but it is hard to get good photos). It is of course based on the Greek legend where Zeus, disguised as a bull, kidnappes Princess Europa. If you look at the sculptures surrounding Zeus and Europa there is no way you can miss that it is a Milles with his typical distorted faces, similar to Poseidon in Gothenburg and others.
Follow a hike called 'Prins Bertil led' 'Prince Bertil trail'
This trail will let you see the best of Halmstad, the sea and nature surrounding Halmstad. Pack your backpack and enjoy the view. Bring coffe and food with you along with swimsuites.
Start in the morning and finish in the evening by taking a evening swim in the sea by the beach and take the bus back to your hotel.
In front of the castle we may see the world’s smallest purpose-built full-rigged ship, Najaden, built in 1897.
It is open it to the public in the summer, with a café and entertainment.