Helsingborg (Swedish pronunciation: [hɛlsɪŋˈbɔrj]) is a town and the seat of Helsingborg Municipality, Scania, Sweden. It had 97,122 inhabitants in 2010. Helsingborg is the centre of the northern part of western Scania. There is no formal metropolitan area, but the municipality of Helsingborg City and its neighbouring five municipalities (within Scania) had in spring of 2013 a population of 269.489 inhabitants at an area of 1.353 square kilometres (0.522 square miles), a population density of 200 people/km2. This makes Helsingborg the fourth largest population area in Sweden  The city is also 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, closer than to the city's own remoter areas. If including all population around the northern part of Øresund, as a Helsingborg-Helsingør metropolitan area, its population increases to 732.450 at an area of 2.802 square kilometres (1.082 square miles). The busy ferry route, known as the HH Ferry route has through history been operated by several shipping lines. As of 2014 more than 70 car ferries departures from each harbour every day.
Following the Swedish orthography reform of 1906 many place names in Sweden got a modernized spelling. In 1912 it was decided to use the form Hälsingborg. In preparation for the local government reform 1971 the Hälsingborg city council proposed that the new, enlarged municipality should be spelled with an "e". This was also the decision of the Government of Sweden, effective from 1 January 1971.
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. 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 Eric of Pomerania introduced the Øresundstolden (the Sound Dues), a levy on all trading vessels passing through the sound between Elsinore and Helsingborg. This was one of the main incomes for the Danish Crown. The crossing traffic was like fishermen not submitted to pay the dues, it was a tax initially directed against the Hanseatic League.
The Sound Dues primarily made Helsingør flourish, but quite a bit spilled over to Helsingborg. The northern narrow inlet to Øresund with its relatively high coastlines made impression on many mariners, and when Kronborg during the Renaissance was rebuilt from a fortress to a Palace the area got famous. A proof of this is William Shakespeare's masterpiece Hamlet, which is unfolded at Kronborg. And the Prince of Denmark could well have hidden himself from his evil uncle in Helsingborg. In any case, the Renaissance was a good period for the Kingdom of Denmark. But towards the middle of the 17th Century, dark clouds appeared from the North.
The new situation, being a border town, caused problems for the town. The days of conflict were not over. Denmark made two recaptures of Scania, but couldn't hold it. The last Danish attempt to regain Scania was in 1710, when 14.000 men 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.
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.
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. Zoégas, a major coffee company, has been located here since the 1800s.