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Söderhamn is situated at the mouth of the river Söderhamnsån into the Gulf of Bothnia. It is the centre of the municipality of the same name. The municipality has a population of about 25,800 (2009), the town of Söderhamn proper has a population of about 12,100 (2005).
Söderhamn was founded in 1620 when Söderhamns arms manufactures began its operations, and it is thus one of the many cities that were built in the 1620s. Before that, Söderhamn was a port where the fishing and trading was pursued, and where a castle, Faxehus, had been built in the Middle Ages. A large fire destroyed much of the city in 1675. After having been rebuilt, the town continued to grow, but in 1721 the town was burnt down by the Russians. After a reconstruction a two further large fires in 1835 and 1875, the town was finally rebuilt on a regular ground plan.
The town hall [left, no. 2627] was built after the large fire of 1876. After the fire of 1878, which again caused severe damages, it was restored.
The Ulrika Eleonora church [right, no. 3658: top picture] is the parish church of Söderhamn-Sandarne parish. The city's first wooden church was consecrated in 1621 and is supposed to have been located around the place of the present vicarage. However, that church was destroyed in 1721 when the Russians burned down the city. The pulpit from this church has, however, been preserved and found in the chapel on the island of Storjungfrun. The construction of the present church was begun in 1685. When Queen Ulrika Eleonora, consort of King Karl XI, made great donations to the church, the new church received the queen's name at its consecration in 1692. The church in Baroque style was built as a central church with cross arms and a central tower by architect count Nicodemus Tessin the Younger. The bell tower west of the church was built in 1748.
The old railway station [right, no. 3658: bottom picture]
was built in 1886 in connection with the Kilafors – Söderhamn – Stugsund
railway line. In 1926, Söderhamn received a railway connection with Gävle and in 1927 with Hudiksvall. The station was
in use until rail traffic ceased in Söderhamn in 1997. In 1999 the building was listed as a historical building in Sweden.