HALMSTAD, a seaport of Sweden, chief town of the district (län) of Halland, on the E. shore of the Cattegat, 76 m. S.S.E. of Gothenburg by the railway to Helsingborg. Pop. (1900), 15,362. It lies at the mouth of the river Nissa, having an inner harbour (15 ft. depth), an outer harbour, and roads giving anchorage (24 to 36 ft.) exposed to S. and N.W. winds. In the neighbourhood there are quarries of granite, which is exported chiefly to Germany. Other industries are engineering, shipbuilding and brewing, and there are cloth, jute, hat, wood-pulp and paper factories. The principal exports are granite, timber and hats; and butter through Helsingborg and Gothenburg. The imports are coal, machinery and grain. Potatoes are largely grown in the district, and the salmon fisheries are valuable. The castle is the residence of the governor of the province. There are both mineral and sea-water baths in the neighbourhood.
Mention of the church of Halmstad occurs as early as 1462, and the fortifications are mentioned first in 1225. The latter were demolished in 1734. There were formerly Dominican and Franciscan monasteries in the town. The oldest town-privileges date from 1307. During the revolt of the miner Engelbrekt, it twice fell into the hands of the rebels—in 1434 and 1436. The town appears to have been frequently chosen as the meeting-place of the rulers and delegates of the three northern kingdoms; and under the union of Kalmar it was appointed to be the place for the election of a new Scandinavian monarch whenever necessary. The län of Halland formed part of the territory of Denmark in Sweden, and accordingly, in 1534, during his war with the Danes, Gustavus Vasa assaulted and took its chief town. In 1660, by the treaty of Copenhagen, the whole district was ceded to Sweden. In 1676 Charles XII. defeated near Halmstad a Danish army which was attempting to retake the district, and since that time Halland has formed part of Sweden.