Coat of arms
Country Sweden
Land Norrland
Counties Gävleborg County
Jämtland County
Västernorrland County
  Total 14,264 km2 (5,507 sq mi)
Population (2012)[1]
  Total 129,221
  Density 9.1/km2 (23/sq mi)
  Language Swedish
  Flower Flax
  Animal Lynx
  Bird Ural owl
  Fish Ide
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)

Hälsingland (Swedish pronunciation: [ˈhɛlːsɪŋland]), sometimes referred to as Helsingia in English, is a historical province or landskap in central Sweden. It borders Gästrikland, Dalarna, Härjedalen, Medelpad and the Gulf of Bothnia. It is part of the land of Norrland.


The traditional provinces of Sweden serve no administrative or political purpose, but are historical and cultural entities. In the case of Hälsingland the province constitutes the northern part of the administrative county, län, Gävleborg County. Minor parts of the province are in Jämtland County and in Västernorrland County.


Flag of Hälsingland, designed 1992

The coat of arms were granted in 1560 in the era of King Gustav Vasa. At that time, Hälsingland was known for its large scale goat breeding, and the arms depicted a standing goat facing heraldic right. Blazon: Sable, a Goat rampant Or attired and hoofed Gules. This, combined with the arms of Gästrikland, forms the coat of arms for Gävleborg County.


The terrain is mostly mountainous and rocky, sloping down towards the coast. The highest elevation in the northern part is 530 meters, and 600 meters in the western part. Circa 85% of the land area is covered with forest, and the timber industry has historically been the main source of income. Apart from some areas around the river systems, notably around the River Ljusnan, the soil is barren. Large areas consist of rocks and bogs and are also unsuitable for agriculture.

Part of the coastline on the Gulf of Bothnia, called "High Coast", has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as an example and area for the study of isostasy, or post-glacial rebound. The land still rises close to 1 cm annually.

Another notable geological features is the Dellen lake system, created from flooded meteoric impact craters. It is the only occurrence in Sweden of the volcanic Andesite rock, to which it has given the name dellenite.


The earliest mention of the people of Hälsingland may be in the Old English poem Widsith, from the 9th - 10th century, where a people called the Hælsings are referred to. The first definite mention of the people is made by Adam of Bremen around 1070, in reference to the leidang shipping fleet.

In the medieval age, the "Helsings" were the Swedish speaking inhabitants of the entire coastal region north of Uppland, a rather imprecise denomination. In the early provincial law of Uppland, the border between northern Uppland and Hälsingland was the Ödmården forest.

In the 13th century a large number of people emigrated from Hälsingland to the southern coasts of Finland, then called Österland. They named places after Hälsingland, most notably the river Helsingeå and its first rapids Helsingfors. In 1550 the latter gave name to a new town founded next to it by king Gustav Vasa. In 1812 the city of Helsinki became capital of Finland.

The oldest city in Hälsingland is Hudiksvall, chartered in 1582. After that, Söderhamn was chartered in 1620. Not until 1942 was Hälsingland granted its third city, Bollnäs, which was to become the last city (in Hälsingland) as City status in Sweden was abolished in 1971.

The town of Hudiksvall, one of the oldest in Norrland, was ransacked by Russian troops in 1721. Hälsingland Regiment was the provincial regiment.

Dukes of Hälsingland

Since 1772, Swedish Princes and Princesses have been created Dukes/Duchesses of various Swedish provinces. This is solely a nominal title, however. The current holder is Princess Madeleine (1982-); Duchess of Hälsingland and Gästrikland



The local dialect is known as Hälsingemål or Hälsingska but has no official linguistic recognition.

Folk architecture

The magnificent Decorated Farmhouses of Hälsingland - "Hälsingegårdar" - are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Two or even three storeys high, the farmhouses are built to show wealth and independence, and much inventiveness has gone into decorating their interiors, which combine aristocratic fashions with traditional materials and techniques.


Hälsingland is the bandy district more than any other. It is the only district where bandy is bigger than ice hockey.

Football in the province is administered by Hälsinglands Fotbollförbund.

Notable natives


Hälsingland was historically divided into districts.


  1. Statistics Sweden Archived August 20, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.

Coordinates: 61°30′43″N 16°30′25″E / 61.512°N 16.507°E / 61.512; 16.507

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