This is one of Sweden’s last regions to establish a permanent settlement. That was in 1834 with the first registration of a plot of land, Björkfors, by Sami, Enar Andersson. He then sold it to brothers, Johan and Philip Samuelsson of Björnabäck in Stensele parish.
The Samuelssons had their roots in Örträsk, a village nearer the Baltic coast, and the Hilduinen family, descendants of whom still live in the Inland and mountain regions of Västerbotten. When a postal and telegraph service was about to be introduced, a new name for Björkfors was needed because that was already registered to a village further north on the border with Finland. The Umeälven river, the main transport artery, figured strongly in the search. The word “ava” means shallow water, or shallow bay, and as there are 17 “avas” in Björkfors, it was decided to name the tiny village after the nearest “ava” – Hemavan.
So, Björkfors became Hemavan, says Erland Johansson, great grandchild of Philip Samuelsson.
Hemavan has always been regarded as the largest and best new settlement in the region and tourism has played an active role in its development for many years.
The first people to rent out rooms were Kims and Verner Berglund in the 1930s. Högfjällshotellet was built in 1953 and the Ekenstam family, who previously owned the site, established Hemavans Wärdshus in 1954. That same year, the first ski lift was constructed in the village.
A lot has happened since then but other than the arrival of a major highway through the village, the most important development has been the airport. No other winter resort has its own runway, allowing planes to land right in the centre. So, from being one of the least accessible ski resorts, we are now the closest to Arlanda.
Trolltunet is Hemavan’s newest accommodation and activity centre, literally just a few minutes from the airport. We are also close to the shops, ski slopes, swimming pool, snowmobile trails and some great outdoor adventures.
Copyright: Stig Strand.