The county of Hälsingland is one of those pretty places just waiting to be discovered and not just because of its stunning coastline, beautiful countryside and wildlife. It is also home to one of Sweden’s most fascinating world heritage sites, the Decorated Farmhouses of Hälsingland (Hälsingegårdar in Swedish). There are many Hälsingegårdar but these seven: Gästgivars, Bommars, Kristofers, Jon-Lars, Erik-Anders, Pallars and Bortom Åa have the prestigious UNESCO designation. This year we visited Jon-Lars Hälsingegårdar and Pallars Hälsingegårdar.
Hälsingland was once the biggest producer of building timber and because the farmers there owned their own land and businesses they were very wealthy. They also travelled extensively on business and were influenced by the different architectural styles they saw and the grand houses of their wealthy clientele. This inspired them to create a unique decorative style of their own. They mixed elements of regional folk art with the fashionable styles of the times and built large farmhouses with lavishly decorated interiors.
The Jon-Lars Hälsingegårdar is a magnificent farmhouse and one of the largest Hälsingegårdar that still exists. The house is privately owned and the descendants of the original farming family still live there. The farmhouse was built in the mid-1800s for two brothers, Olof and Anders Andersson and their families. And there are still several original rooms, which have been maintained in exceptional condition. What is unusual about this Hälsingegårdar is that it was built as two identical parts; one part for each brother. Only the festivities room (the “herrstuga”) was shared; other than that the two parts of the house are identical but decorated completely differently. There are even separate entrances under the same porch roof.
On the ground floor only one side of the house has any original rooms. These are thought to have been decorated by the renowned painter Svärdes Hans Ersson from Dalarna around 1863 and are elaborately painted and have extensive stencil work. Upstairs there are two originally preserved guestrooms; the room on Ander’s side is exquisitely painted with elaborate landscapes and impressive detailing. Whilst on Olof’s side the room is decorated with ornate wallpaper, which is painted to look like silk. Both rooms have well preserved examples of the classic Swedish tiled fire places.
To read more about the history and cultural significance of the Hälsingegårdar click here.
Visiting Jon-Lars Hälsingegårdar
Jon-Lars Hälsingegårdar is in Långhed near Alfta in Hälsingland. Visits can be arranged by private appointment or during the summer months there is one guided tour a day, check with the visitors centre about summer opening times. Payment is taken at the gate.
Jon-Lars Hälsingegårdar & Pallars Hälsingegårdar are in the same village and the tours are arranged so you can easily see both Hälsingegårdar on the same day.
For more information about visiting the Decorated Farmhouses of Hälsingland and Jon-Lars Hälsingegårdar, visit: