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Helsingborg (Swedish pronunciation: [hɛlsiŋˈbɔrj]) is a town and the seat of Helsingborg Municipality, Skåne County, Sweden. It had 97,122 inhabitants in 2010.1 Helsingborg is the centre of an area in the Øresund region of about 320,000 inhabitants in north-west Scania, and is Sweden's closest point to Denmark, with the Danish city Helsingør clearly visible on the other side of the Øresund about 4 km (2 mi) to the west.
Between 1912 and 1971 the name of the town was officially spelled Hälsingborg (rather like Hälsingland but unlike Helsingør and Helsingfors/Helsinki).
Historic Helsingborg, with its many old buildings, is a scenic coastal city. The buildings are a blend of old-style stone-built churches and a 600 year old medieval fortress (Kärnan) in the city centre, and more modern commercial buildings. The streets vary from wide avenues to small alley-ways. Kullagatan, the main pedestrian shopping street in the city, was the first pedestrian shopping street in Sweden.
Helsingborg is one of the oldest cities of what is now Sweden. It has been the site of permanent settlement officially since 21 May 1085.2 Helsingborg's geographical position at the narrowest part of Øresund made it very important for Denmark, at that time controlling both sides of that strait. From 1429 the Danes introduced the Sound Duty (Sound Dues), a levy on all trading vessels passing through the sound between Elsinore and Helsingborg.3 This was one of the main incomes for the Danish Crown.
The new situation, being a border town, caused problems for the city. The days of conflict were not over. The Danes made many attempts to regain the lost provinces. The last time was in 1710, when 14,000 invaders landed on the shores near Helsingborg. The Battle of Helsingborg was fought on the 28th of February just outside the city, which was badly affected. It took a long time to recover, and in 1770 the city had 1321 inhabitants and was just slowly growing.4
From the middle of the 19th century onwards, however, Helsingborg was one of the fastest growing cities of Sweden, increasing its population from 4 000 in 1850 to 20 000 in 1890 and 56 000 in 1930 due to industrialization. From 1892 a train ferry was put in service, connecting Helsingborg with its Danish sister city Helsingør. A tramway network was inaugurated in 1903 and closed down in 1967. Plans are underway to reintroduce trams in the city.6
Helsingborg is a major regional centre of trade, transport and business. In 2001 Campus Helsingborg, a branch of University of Lund, opened in the former Tretorn rubber factory buildings, originally founded by Henry Dunker. Three ferry companies take people and cargo to and from Denmark around the clock. The route is popular with day-trippers going to Elsinore or Copenhagen, or simply enjoying the views from the ferries. IKEA, the retailer of furniture and home interiors, has its international corporate headquarters in Helsingborg. Nicorette, the nicotine chewing gum, has a manufacturing plant there. Ramlösa is a mineral water from Ramlösa Brunn, a southern suburb of the city. Mobile phone developer Spectronic is also situated in Helsingborg. The online custom clothing retailer Tailor Store Sweden AB has its offices in Helsingborg.
The following sports clubs are located in Helsingborg: