Hadeland

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View over Jarenvatnet, a small lake in Gran municipality.

Hadeland is a traditional district in the south-eastern part of Norway. It is located around the southern part of lake Randsfjorden in Oppland county, and consists of the municipalities of Gran, Jevnaker and Lunner. Hadeland occupies the area north of the hills of Nordmarka close to the Norwegian capital Oslo. The soil around the Randsfjord is amongst the most fertile in Norway. Hadeland accounts for just 5% of the country's area, but it represents 13% of its agricultural land. Farmers harvest grains, alfalfa(?) and potatoes. Pigs, dairy cattle and horses are also bred by farms here.

Jevnaker is located to the southern and western side of the Randsfjord. Gran's rolling countryside is home to about two-thirds of the 30,000 people living in Hadeland. The village of Gran serves as the area's main center of commerce. The municipality of Gran is divided by the Randsfjord, and its western part is known as the Fjorda district. Most of the traditional northern parish of Brandbu has been absorbed into today's administrative district of Gran.

The Hadeland area includes large stretches of woodland. Approximately 69% of Lunner is covered by forest. Nearly half of the wooded area in Lunner and Jevnaker is common land (almenning). The local forestry cooperative plays a key role in the economies of the two districts. Their woods are home to a variety of flora and fauna, and host a number of species of birds, deer, elk and other wildlife. Populations of trout, char, bass and other freshwater fish have dwindled in the inland lakes and streams, but restocking efforts are now made.

History[edit]

A number of Stone Age sites have been discovered around the Randsfjord and over 200 artefacts - including jewellery, tools, and weapons - have been unearthed. During this period the people here, as in most of southern Norway, lived as hunter-gatherers, exploiting the resources of the large forests.

By the end of the Bronze Age, agriculture had evolved and archaeological evidence points to the division of land into family or clan-based farms. Several Bronze Age burial mounds have been identified in Hadeland.

Roman references to this area as Hadeland may be found in documents dating from AD200-400. The name refers to the haðar people. It is thought that haðar may relate to one of the many tribes or clans in the area, thus Hadeland would mean land of the haðar. Archaeologists have found a wide variety of weapons in Iron Age burial sites throughout Hadeland. In the late Iron Age, Hadeland was a petty kingdom. One of the more prominent kings of Hadeland was Halfdan Hvitbeinn who lived in the 8th century.

According to the Icelandic sagas early Viking Age chieftains enjoyed hunting and entertaining their entourages in the forests and on the lakes in this area. King Halfdan the Black, father of king Harald Fairhair who united Norway, often visited Hadeland. According to historical sources he and his men attended a banquet here in the winter of 860. As they were crossing the ice on Randsfjord on their way home to Ringerike, the ice gave way and horses, men, and the 40-year-old king himself drowned. The Hadeland Folkemuseum is built around a Viking burial mound at Granavollen which according to folklore contains the torso of king Halvdan.

The name Hadeland appears on the Dynna stone, a runestone from about 1040-1050. Norway formally adopted Christianity in 1030, and the Dynna stone, with its scenes from the Nativity is one of the first Christian monuments in Norway. A number of medieval churches survive in Hadeland. Notable among them is the Tingelstad old church. This was built in the 13th century. Other churches include Lunner church and the Sister Churches at Granavollen. The Black Death arrived in Norway in the mid 14th century, and it is estimated that two-thirds of the population of Hadeland was wiped out.

Attractions[edit]