|• Total||14,264 km2 (5,507 sq mi)|
|• Density||9.1/km2 (23/sq mi)|
|• Bird||Ural owl|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
Hälsingland (help·info) is a historical province or landskap in central Sweden. It borders to Gästrikland, Dalarna, Härjedalen, Medelpad and to the Gulf of Bothnia. It is part of the land of Norrland.
In English the province is sometimes referred to as Helsingia.
The traditional provinces of Sweden serve no administrative or political purposes, 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.
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 of the mountainous rocky, sloping down towards the coast. The highest elevation in its northern parts is 530 meters, and 600 meters in the western parts. Circa 85% of the land area is covered with woods, and the wood industry has historically been the main source of income. Apart from some areas around the river systems, notable around river Ljusnan, the soil is barren. Large areas consist of rocks and bogs, and is additionally unsuitable for agriculture.
Part of the coast line 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 at close to 1 cm annually.
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 affirmative mention of the people is made by Adam of Bremen around 1070, in reference to the leidang shipping fleet.
In this medieval age, the "Helsings" were the Swedish speaking inhabitants of the entire coastal region north of Uppland, a rather unprecise denomination. In the early provincial law of Uppland, Uppland bordered north to Hälsingland by the Ödmården forest.
In 13th century a large number of people emigrated from Hälsingland to 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, that of Bollnäs. It was to become the last city (in Hälsingland) as City status in Sweden was abolished in 1971.
Since 1772, Swedish Princes and Princesses have been created Dukes/Duchesses of various Swedish provinces. This is solely a nominal title, however. Current holder:
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's the only district where bandy is bigger than ice hockey.
Football in the province is administered by Hälsinglands Fotbollförbund.
Hälsingland was historically divided in districts.