The benefits of a small city make beautiful Halmstad easy to enjoy.
There’s all kinds of art in Halmstad. Discover the city’s history, on the borderland between Denmark and Sweden, step out into the countryside for a real wow experience, or become absorbed in a world of knowledge at one of the city’s museums.
When Halmstad castle was built at the beginning of the 17th century, Halland was still part of Denmark.
King Kristian of Denmark loved building and commissioned many cities, castles and fortifications to be built around his kingdom including Halmstad Castle.
King Kristian has, in Danish architectural history, given his name to a building style known as ‘Kristian VI renaisans’, which is what we now see in Halmstad Castle, especially in the slim tower with its cap.
The castle was probably completed in about 1615 and consists of four rows surrounding a courtyard. The southern row was probably built first and housed royalty when they visited. Halmstad Castle was built as a summer residence for entertainment and relaxation. It is more like the Danish countryside castles of the day than the magnificent royal castle complexes built back then.
The Danish crown didn’t enjoy their countryside residence for long, because in 1645 Halland became Swedish and the castle became the Swedish royal family’s residence when visiting the city.
The castle has been restored several times since the 18th century. In 1760 the south and west wings’ saddle roofs were exchanged for the mansard roof, which was typical of the age and remains intact to this day. The castle’s yellow paintwork, introduced in the 18th century, was changed in the 1960s for the pinkish colour seen today, which is more in keeping with the colour from Kristian VI’s time.
The castle played a role in modern Swedish art history between 1920-1935. The then county governor Axel Mörner’s son Stellan was one of six members of Halmstadgruppen art group, which represented the continental surrealism in Sweden. Stellan Mörner and Esaias Thorén were allowed to decorate the main hall with 10 18th century-inspired murals depicting goddesses. They symbolize the roman virtues of: hope, happiness, fidelity, chastity, moderation, love, justice, strength, truth and wisdom. The paintings were wallpapered over in the 1960s but one section around a door was uncovered again in 1975.
The National Property Board of Sweden decided in Autumn 2000 to restore the main hall. It appeared that the murals survived under the wallpaper. The heavily oil-painted wall covering retained the paint well when the wallpaper was removed and the mural conservation could begin.
The castle is not open to the public but the courtyard is accessible to anyone. The castle is now the county governor’s residence and also used as offices for the county administrative board. South of the castle is castle park with some remnants of the fortifications built at the start of the 17th century according to Hans van Steenwinckel the elder’s plans.
Theatrical works often take place in the courtyard during the summer and a Christmas market is held during the winter.
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