In the north-east of Skåne
The municipality of Kristianstads Kommun is located in the north-east of the southern Swedish province of Skåne Län on the coast of Hanö Bay and is the largest municipality in Skåne in terms of its size. The central town is the city of Kristianstad, which was built as a fortified town in 1614 at the behest of the Danish King Christian IV.
The territory of Kristianstads Kommun stretches about 35 kilometres along the coast of Hanö Bay and extends about 30 kilometres inland in a north-westerly direction. From southwest to northeast, the longest extent of the municipality is about 60 kilometres. In the northeast, the municipality borders Olofströms Kommun in the neighbouring province of Blekinge.
The landscape of Kristianstads Kommun
The landscape within the municipality is predominantly flat, sparsely wooded and, as an old cultural landscape, characterised by intensive agriculture. Besides arable farming, the region is one of the most important fruit-growing areas in Sweden. The area around the central town of Kristianstad is partly below sea level, so that the lowest point in Sweden is located there at around 2.40 metres below sea level. The only major elevation is the Linderödsåsen mountain range, that runs to the southwest of the municipality along the border with the neighbouring municipalities of Hörby, Tomelilla and Simrishamn to the coast.
The approximately 35-kilometre-long coastline between Degeberga and Trolle-Ljungby consists virtually of an uninterrupted sandy beach with a more or less distinct dune belt, along which countless bathing spots. Other bathing places are located at some of the approximately 30 lakes, most of which spread out in the northern part of the municipality. Among them is the approximately 50-square-kilometre Ivösjön, which is the largest lake in Skåne and is located in the territory of both Kristianstad and the neighbouring municipality Bromölla Kommun.
Nearly 60 nature reserves represent the different regionally typical landscape forms as well as the flora and fauna in eastern Skåne. Popular nature reserves include the Forsaker Naturreservat with Skåne's second highest waterfall in a wild and romantic gorge landscape at Linderödsåsen or Kjugekull at Lake Ivö, which is known in the national and international bouldering scene due to its numerous large boulders.
A special highlight in terms of nature is Kristianstads Vattenriket, a huge protected wetland that has been a UNESCO biosphere reserve since 2005. The reserve is home to several hundred endangered species over an area of almost 1,044 square kilometres and stretches from Lake Hammarsjön south of Kristianstad to Åhus on the coast of Hanö Bay. For more information about the reserve, the visitor centre Naturum Vattenriket, which opened in 2010, is the place to go.
Discovering Kristianstad's history
Testimony to centuries of cultural history is abundant on the ground of Kristianstads Kommun. Be it in the shape of around 30 medieval churches from the 12th and 13th centuries or magnificent castles, which at the same time bear witness to Denmark's long rule over the province of Skåne. The oldest remnant from that era is the ruins of the 12th-century Åhus Borg, followed by the well-preserved Bäckaskog Slott, which was first built as a monastery in the 13th century. With Vittskövle Slott, built in the mid-16th century, one of Sweden's best-preserved Renaissance castles is located within the municipality, and Maltesholm Slott, dating from the 1630s, is best known for its large historic castle park, which is counted among the most beautiful parks in the Skåne region.
Walking through the city centre of Kristianstad, you will come across architectural relics from the early 17th century, when the city, designed on the drawing board, was built as a fortress city in the Renaissance style. The interesting exhibitions at the Regionmuseet Kristianstad provide a deep insight into the historical development of the city as well as the entire region.
Significantly older than Kristianstad is the coastal town of Åhus. Its history begins as early as the Viking Age as a trading centre at the mouth of the river Helge å. In the Middle Ages the town was one of the most important trading centres, and in 1149 it was granted its first city charter, while at that time it still belonged to Denmark. Despite frequent destruction in the course of the numerous wars between Denmark and Sweden in the past centuries, Åhus today has one of the best-preserved medieval town centres in Sweden.
Kristianstads Kommun in figures
As the largest municipality in Skåne in terms of area, with 1,245 square kilometres and around 87,000 inhabitants, the population density in Kristianstads Kommun is almost 70 inhabitants per square kilometre, more than three times the national average. Almost half of the population, around 40,000, live in the immediate vicinity of the main town of Kristianstad, another 10,000 in Åhus and around 3,500 in Tollarp, the third largest town in the municipality. The remaining inhabitants live in the other towns within the municipality.