The city of Helsingør

Distance to Copenhagen: 45 km
Population: 60 927 people at the end of 2004
Town fact file: The name of Helsingør comes from the root Hals meaning a narrow strait, i.e. the narrowest place of the Oresund strait between the Danish town of Helsingør and Swedish Helsinborg. Only 4 km separate the Danish and the Swedish sides. Just 10 000 years ago that was all the plain in lieu of the strait. It could be crossed by dry land, but due to the glaciers melting, the Baltic Sea extended creating a 4-kilometre strait between Danish Helsingør and Swedish Helsinborg.

Location on the map:

Helsingør that we know today was founded in the 1420s by the Danish king Eric of Pomerania. In 1429 he built the castle of Krogen, that means from danish The hook, which was extended in the 1580s and renamed to Kronborg - the Crown castle. The castle of Kronborg is the main sight of the town, because it is famous as the setting for the “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare. Inside the castle and / or in the yard “Hamlet” is annually staged, normally, in the late July- early August.

Video about the Kronborg castle:


Helsingør is the third largest town on the Sjaelland peninsula, after Copenhagen and Roskilde. Today’s Helsinborg is a combination of old and new, modern and ancient. The historic centre of the town is very beautiful: a pedestrian street, City hall, Carmelite monastery, St. Olaf’s church, the narrowest street of Helsinborg, where till the mid-19th century there was the Oresund duty office, the monument to the founder of the town Eric of Pomerania. Along with these historic buildings the town can also offer modern buildings, the Maritime Museum of Denmark (Dan. Museet for Søfart), Cultural Centre etc.

Main city sights:

Palace Marienlyst

The castle of Kronborg is a magnificent building, erected at the end of the sixteenth century during the rule of Frederik II. Shakespeare did not visit Denmark, which did not prevent him from describing the castle so that some 300 thousand people come here every year.

In the twentieth century Kronborg saved the town from the economic crisis. In the old times Helsingør used to serve the border between the Sound strait and the Baltic Sea. The vessels crossing the strait were charged the duty which promoted the welfare of the town. However, in the middle of the twentieth century it was cancelled and the prosperity of Helsingør was to cease. The Hamlet castle turned out to be the remedy as it continuously attracted tourists who flowed there like to Mecca. Therefore, the local budget received a good amount, supporting the town welfare.

From time to time Kronborg is used by the royal family for different receptions; there is also a long tradition: when the queen crosses the gate of Kronborg or when the royal yacht crosses the strait, cannons fire salutes.

There is an ancient castle called Kronborg in Denmark. It lies on the very coast of the Sound strait, and hundreds of ships pass it every day. They are English, Russian and Prussian. All of them greet the old castle with cannon shots: “Boom”! The castle cannons reply “Boom”! The cannons greet each other … In the deep, dark cellars of the castle, where nobody comes there sits Holger Danske. He is all tied with iron and steel chains and he supports his head with his strong hands. The long beard has been stuck to the marble board of the table. He sleeps and sees everything happening in Denmark in his dreams. Each Christmas Eve an Angel comes to him and says that everything that he saw in the dreams is true and that he can still sleep quietly as Denmark is out of any serious danger. In case of a real threat — the old Holger Danske will wake up so that the marble board will crack when he pulls his beard. He will come onto the surface and will wave his sword so that the thunder will be heard worldwide". H.C. Andersen "Holger Danske"

You can also be interested in the ferry to the Swedish town of Helsinborg. Ferries leave every 20 minutes on the daily basis. The crossing time is about 20 minutes. Therefore, going to Helsingor you can also visit Swedish Helsinborg. Despite the fact that the towns are close to each other, you will feel that you have come to another town in another country immediately.

Town photo gallery:

More information about Helsingør and other places of interest to the north of Copenhagen is given here.

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