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The Spirit

A Pioneering Spirit

When Morten C. Hegelund arrived in Karlsøy in 1635 he brought much more than himself and his spirit; he brought with him his familial culture of Danish refinement which encompassed, among other things, traditional knowledge of cooking and food preparation.

”Above the arctic circle a strong sense of community binds young and old together”

While Morten was primarily engaged with his work as the bailiff of the Troms region, the whole family soon became deeply involved in the local community, mostly through trade and social work.

The following centuries saw the rise of the Hegelund clan, whose name soon became synonymous with an uncommon pioneering spirit. They recognized opportunities where no one else was looking; they challenged established conformities, always on the lookout for opportunities for progress and improvement.

A family code of sorts was progressively established and soon it extended to just about every aspect of life and survival in the Arctic: guidelines on how to hunt grouse, to preserve food, to safely go fishing in the ice blue waters at 69° north, or developing new strategies to solve problems were all parts of this family canon. Generation after generation, the Hegelund code kept on expanding and improving.

The Hegelunds were also known for their interactions and cooperation with others. Being open- minded and welcoming towards new ideas and people, especially through trade, was instrumental in the family’s prolonged success. This mentality was especially rewarding when it facilitated the creation of long-lasting bonds with traders from neighbouring Russia in the 19th century.

This uniquely strong state of mind that stood behind the family’s personal success also lead to the creation of much wealth, and countless jobs, in the local community.

The descendants of Morten C. Hegelund have inherited and maintained the old family code and the authentic family culinary customs with the respect and reverence they rightly deserve.


  • Bratrein, Håvard Dahl (1994), Karlsøy og Helgøy Bygdebok. Hansnes: Karlsøy kommune.
  • House of Hegelund: authentic family recipes.
  •  House of Hegelund: family code.
  •  Fjelde Larsen, Marion (2014). Næringsmangfoldet ved kysten i middelalderen. In Nils Kolle and Alf Ragnar Nielsen (Eds): Norges fiskeri- og kysthistorie, Fangstmenn, fiskerbønder og værfolk, fram til 1720. Bergen: Fagbokforlaget Vigmostad & Bjørke AS (233-260).

Related article:

The Hegelund Family

The Spirit

The family is well-known for their unique sense of audacity and courage; to dare, and sometimes to fail, but always to learn something at the end of the day. They dealt with setbacks and conflicts with good humor and raw energy and willpower. They always dared to dream big and believe in themselves.