Helsingborg, a Scanian city on the east coast of the Sound (Öresund), is the nearest point of Sweden to Denmark (4 km to Elsinore/Helsingør). Helsing means “neck” (compare with the modern Swedish word hals), which is why the name is similar on both sides of the narrow Sound; similarly named places include the province of Hälsingland (at the neck of a sea, referring to the Gulf of Botnia) and the capital of Finland, Helsinki/Helsingfors (at the neck of a river, i.e. the rapids).
Scania belonged to Denmark until in 1658 Sweden conquered almost the entirety of Denmark, partly to break Denmark’s control on Baltic trade through Öresund and the Sound Dues it levied. Denmark had to cede Scania to Sweden in the Treaty of Roskilde that year.
Helsingborg thus became the bridgehead of Sweden into Denmark and Continental Europe, a position further strengthened by the development of railways in the 19th century. Even with the opening of the Öresundsbron, Helsingborg remains a busy ferry point towards Denmark.
But Helsingborg is not just a transit point, but also an elegant city with classically styled townhouses. Experience the charm of Helsingborg with the Metrunner virtual tour below: