Thursday, 6 August 2015


The Radhus

This post describes a short stroll around Helsingborg, a city on the south west coast of Sweden. Everywhere there were people in traditional dress and the sound of fiddles, pipes and accordions as part of the European Folk Dance festival which was going on around the city. We followed a city walk obtained from the Tourist Office, and started at Statorget, the main square. It is dominated by the Radhus or Town Hall, an imposing neo-gothic building of 1897.

Nearby is the statue of Magnus Stenbock, who led the Swedes in their historic defeat of the Danes in 1710. The Kärnan, of which more later, can be seen in the background.

We headed up the square and turned right towards the Mariakerkan (church of St Mary) a wonderful red brick church of 1410. The stepped gable of the tower, added in the 16th century, was especially impressive.

The interior was plain, although the 15th century altar screen was a wonderful exception.

We then followed Bruksgatan towards the City park. On the left, not remarked by the guide leaflet was this interesting house showing art nouveau influences.

We walked along the side of the park to see Konsul Persson's villa, a pleasantly proportioned house of 1848. It was apparently the first house in the country to have a water closet. 

 Then it was back along a parallel street to then climb the steps up to the Kärnan.  This massive keep, 35m high, was built about 1310 by the King of Denmark (southern Sweden was at that point part of Denmark). After 1710 when the Swedes gained their independence it became no more than a daymark for mariners and gradually decayed into a ruin. It was only restored in 1894, when the battlemented top was added.

We climbed the 146 steps (only half of our recent conquest of the Philippe-le-Bon tower in Dijon). There was a great view from the top across the Oresund towards the Helsingbor (Hamlet's Elsinore), 4 km away in Denmark.

This is actually a terrible picture because the Danish castle is out of shot to the right (I couldn't quite make it out), but it does give a real feeling for the degree of closeness. 

We continued north-east, passing Tychobraheplatsen, where there was a nice monument to the great astronomer and also the lovely Jacob Hansens Hus, the oldest residential building in the city.

At the end, in S Jorgens Plats, there were some nice turn of the 20th century houses.

We now followed Kullagatan, allegedly the first pedestrianised street in Scandinavia, to find our way to Sundstorget, the site of the largest Folk Dance events. This square too was surrounded by some impressive late Victorian buildings. On the opposite side of the square was the Dunkers Kulturhus, an exhibition centre founded by Henry Dunker who made his money in galoshes. This is the side view.

Outside the main entrance were these giant rabbits. Who knows what that was about, but they certainly gave us a chuckle.

Around the back, facing the harbour, more folk dancing was in progress. It was great to see how much the participants seemed to be really enjoying what they were doing.

Finally, I must mention the main exhibition which was on inside the Kulturhus: fashion designs by Bea Szenfeld. The designs were quite over the top as befitted the designer of Lady Gaga's famous meat dress. This was the poster, with a mannequin in the background.

 Conditions: warm and sunny.

Distance: a couple of miles.

Rating: four stars. Interesting and varied.

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