Norrlandet is located in the former Testebo village. In 1602 King Karl IX donated Testebo and Sätra villages in the Hille district and Vreten in the Valbo district to the city. The gift was recalled however and the city got Sörby in the Valbo district as a compensation.
The reason was that the Gävle burghers had given petitions to the king as early as in the 1500s because they lacked sufficient agricultural land, forest and fishing waters.
Gävle received a wider area however, that could be utilized for the bourgeoisie’ animals. In addition, the burghers received forest areas for better access to timber and firewood. The donation meant that the city actually became the owner of the homes and not only had the right to their taxes. The city’s bourgeoisie would use the endowed land jointly and every citizen would equally have pastures and arable land. The land was also given as wages to some of the city officials. On what grounds the land was distributed is not clearly described in the old documents.
At the donation, the following seven homesteads (solid ground) of Testebo was reported: Avan, Engesberg, Gröndal, Lervik, Katrineborg, Kullsand and Nyvall. Culture and pastures developed to smaller farms in the 1700s. Some received mansion-like buildings, such Lervik and Engesberg with the agricultural function preserved. A small number of country places are even older and dates back to the 1500s.
A new era began in the 1880s at Nordlandet, when wealthy citizens from Gävle started to build large villas by the sea. Shacks, country places with agriculture and rural areas without agriculture existed side by side, but the latter soon dominated completely. The last farms in this part of Norrlandet disappeared around 1940.
From the 1930s, increasingly smaller lands were divided up where small cottages were built behind the beach villas. In the late 1980s, more than 600 homes thronged at Norrlandet. The number of households in 2008 was estimated at 850, of which approximately 55% were permanent residents. Some land is now redeemed, but there are still rented land.
There are not many of the oldest big summer villas left close to Gävle. The expansion of the port is one reason. There are currently proposals for a comprehensive exploitation of Norrlandet.
The buildings along the coastal strip have many different architectural styles and represent an interesting study. Different contractors have created a great variety of accommodations, which represents an important part of the city's trade and industrial history.
The distance between the Kullsand and Bönan are today of national heritage interest. Mainly the large summerhouses from the second half of the 1800s are included. The coastal waters by Norrlandet constitute a national interest for commercial fishing.
Text: Birgitta Lundblad