Place:Våler, Hedmark, Norway


Alt namesVålersource: Getty Vocabulary Program
Coordinates60.8°N 11.633°E
Located inHedmark, Norway
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Våler is a municipality in Innlandet county, Norway. It is located in the traditional district of Solør. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Våler. Other villages in Våler include Braskereidfoss, Gravberget, and Risberget.

The municipality is the 164th largest by area out of the 356 municipalities in Norway. Våler is the 213th most populous municipality in Norway with a population of 3,587. The municipality's population density is and its population has decreased by 7.6% over the previous 10-year period.



the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia
Number of minorities (1st and 2nd generation) in Våler by country of origin in 2017

Stone age

It is not known for certain when the first humans arrived in Våler, but it is thought to be at the end of the neolithic era (4000–1800 BC). Tools made of flint have been found that are dated to about 2000 BC. Flint is not natural to the area, indicating it came along trade routes from the south.

The first humans in the deep forests of Våler lived mainly by hunting and fishing. Even though the people around the nearby lake Mjøsa already kept livestock and grew crops, some time passed before the people in Våler settled as farmers.

Pre-Christian times

From about 1000 BC there are findings that indicate settlements in Våler. In the Viking Age, from about 700–1000 AD, Våler became more than just a few settled farms. At one stage in history, Solør was a powerful petty kingdom.

The name Våler comes from the Old Norse word , which means “trunks, or stumps (roots) from burnt trees in a clearing.” Names which are variations of vål are common in Norway as the first stage of clearing woodland for cultivation was to burn the trees and undergrowth.

The conversion of Hedemark to Christianity is mentioned in the book Heimskringla (The Chronicle of the Kings of Norway) by Snorri Sturluson. According to legend, King Olaf II of Norway (Saint Olaf) went to Våler to convert the heathens to Christianity in 1022 AD. At first there was some resistance, but resistance proved to be futile. The farmers were quickly convinced to convert to Christianity, as in many other areas of Norway. The king decided that they had to build a church, but the locals couldn't agree where to place it. So the king settled the matter in a simple and efficient way. He took his bow, and shot an arrow up in the air and declared that wherever the arrow landed, the church was to be built. The arrow landed in a vål at the banks of the river Glomma. This incident gave name to both the place and the church. (Although later the church was called Mariakirken, which translates to Church of Mary). Våler Municipality's coat of arms illustrates Saint Olaf's arrow.

Medieval period

During the Middle Ages, Våler was just an outpost far from the main travel route. Those few who went through, were either wanderers or pilgrims heading for Saint Olaf's tomb in Nidaros (later Trondheim). One pilgrim's route for Swedish pilgrims lay through Eidskog, Solør, and Elverum; Adam of Bremen mentions this route as early as 1070. Along this route, the pilgrims often stopped at the spring at Våler, where legend had it that Saint Olaf had watered his horse; the water was supposed to possess wonderful curative properties.

The Black Death spread through Norway between 1348 and 1350. We do not know how hard Våler was affected by the plague, but a legend tells that only one boy and one girl survived.

By the 17th century, there was quite a lot of livestock in Våler. As the technology improved, the forestry became more and more important in the forests along the many rivers and lakes in the area.

Finnish immigration

An important part of Våler's and Solør's history, is the immigration and settlement of people from Finland. From the late 16th century they were encouraged by Swedish king Gustav Vasa to settle in the unpopulated areas of Värmland and Solør, along the border between Norway and Sweden. At that time the forests far from the settled areas of the two countries were of little value, and therefore immigrants could settle in large numbers without coming into conflict with the locals. The Finnish immigration was a result of hunger and turbulent times in Finland. King Gustav Vasa welcomed the immigrants, because he wanted to increase the taxable income from the scarcely populated areas of western Sweden.

The Finns brought with them their unique culture and their way of life. Amongst other things, they imported the agricultural technique, common in Finland and Eastern Sweden, known as svedjebruk or slash-burn agriculture. This involved setting fire to the forest and growing crops on the fertile ash-covered soil. The clearing was initially planted to rye, and then in the second and third year with turnips or cabbages. It then might be grazed for several years before being allowed to return to woodland. In this manner, they periodically moved around and burned down new areas and left their former areas to regrow with forest.[1]

The Finnish language, still has an influence in the area. Many place names and words and expressions in the local dialects derive from the Finnish. The area itself is called Finnskogen, which translates as "The Finnish forest".

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