- Photographer: Åke Eson Lindman
In the beginning of the 17th century when Halmstad Castle was built, Halland still belonged to Denmark. King Kristian, who reigned over the Kingdom of Denmark, was a big developer and he ordered the construction of several cities, castles and fortifications. It was also King Kristian who gave orders to erect Halmstad Castle.
King Kristian has given name to a building style in Danish architecture history called Kristian IV renaissance and it is in this tradition that Halmstad Castle has its roots. Something that is reminiscent of this special style in contemporary times is the narrow, tall hooded tower.
Similar to the Danish country manors of the past
The castle, which was most likely completed in 1615, consists of four rows surrounding a courtyard. The south row would most likely have been built first and this is where you can find, among other things, the royal residence. Halmstad Castle was built as a pleasure palace intended for enjoyment and relaxation. It is more similar to the Danish country manors of the past than the large, royal and magnificent castle estates.
Possession of Sweden
The crown of Denmark did not get to enjoy its pleasure palace in Halmstad for very long. In 1645, Halland became Swedish and the Swedish kings now resided in the castle when they visited the town. Starting in the 1770’s and up until today the castle has been restored several times. In the 1760’s the pitched roof on the south and west wings were replaced with the typical mansard roofs of the 18th century, and these roofs are still preserved. In the 1960’s the yellow paint, which had been introduced in the 18th century, on the castle facade was replaced with a pinkish shade which was supposed to, to some respect, be reminiscent of the original colour from the times of Kristian IV.
In 1920-35 the castle came to play a role in modern Swedish art history. The then County Governor Axel Mörner’s son Stellan was one of six members in the Halmstad Group, a recognised group of artists who represented continental surrealism in Sweden. Stellan Mörner and fellow artist Esaias Thorén were permitted to decorate the main salon with ten 18th century inspired wall paintings depicting goddesses. They symbolise the Roman virtues: hope, happiness, fidelity, chastity, moderation, love, justice, strength, truth and wisdom. In the 1960’s the painting were covered with wallpaper but one section surrounding a door was uncovered again in 1975.
Preservation of wall paintings
In the autumn of 2000 the National Property Board of Sweden decided to restore the salon. It turned out that the wall paintings still remained underneath the wallpaper. The strong oil painted wall fabric did a good job of maintaining its colour when the wallpaper was removed. The preservation work of the paintings was performed by master painter Per Torstensson.
At the same time Carita Kull, interior decorator at the National Property Board of Sweden, did a radical renovation and supplementation of the loose fixtures. The restoration was completed in the spring of 2001. Halmstad Castle today serves as the County Governor Residence and offices for the County Administrative Board. South of the castle is the castle park with a few remnants of the fortifications that were erected here in the beginning of the 17th century according to plans by Hans van Steenwinckel senior.
Place on map
302 42 Halmstad
- Year of Construction:
- Construction year: 1600-1615
- Client: King Kristian of Denmark