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Revision as of 20:02, 14 September 2009
Zealand (Danish: Sjælland) is the largest island in Denmark, located between the Island of Funen and the southern tip of Sweden. It is the seat of the capital Copenhagen. In addition to Zealand this region also encompasses the islands of Lolland, Falster and Møn, as well as numerous small islands.
|| Nordsjælland |
The Northern Zealand of Kings with lakes, farmland, lush forests and impressive castles
|| Southwestern Zealand |
Southern & Western sections of Zealand, Farmland, Vacation homes by the beach and some historic cities.
|| Møn |
Known and loved by the Danes for it's scenic country side, Viking burial mounds and it's spectacular chalck cliffs.
|| Lolland |
The "sugar island", supplies the sugar for almost all the tasty Danish pastry.
|| Falster |
Includes good beaches, and Denmark's southernmost point, Gedser, where you can jump on a ferry to Germany.
- Copenhagen - Zealand's largest city and capital of Denmark.
- Elsinore - Home of Shakespeare's hamlet and his Kronborg castle and a well preserved mediaeval city centre.
- Hillerød - A castle town set amidst majestic beech tree forests.
- Nykøbing Falster - The central city of the islands south of Zealand, with a nice abbey church to boot.
- Roskilde - World heritage site of Roskilde cathedral, containing the Royal Tombs for the past 1000 years. and the excellent Viking ship museum.
- Kalundborg - See the many remaining parts and ruins of the old fortified medieval town
- Køge - A nice well preserved old city center. The beatifull Vallø manor and the 15 meter Stevns chalk cliffs within easy reach.
- Ringsted - Commercial centre smack on the middle of the islands, with the Danish Tramway Museum on it's outskirts.
- Slagelse - Discover Denmark's Viking heritage, in the nearby Trelleborg ringcastle, one of only 4 discovered.
- Møns cliff - Bright chalk cliffs stretching some 6 km, some of the cliffs fall a sheer 120 m to the sea below
- Stevns Cliffs - Another set of dramatic chalk cliffs, and with a cold war fortress bored into the mountain.
- Suseå river - One of Denmarks longest rivers, popular with Kayak and Canoe sailors.
- Kongernes Nordsjælland Nationalpark - A brand new national park covering the old hunting grounds of ancient kings.
King Gylfi ruled the lands that are now called Sweden. It is told of him that he gave a ploughland in his kingdom, the size four oxen could plough in a day and a night, to a beggar-woman as a reward for the way she had entertained him. This woman, however, was of the family of the Æsir. Her name was Gefion. She took from the north, out of Jötunheim, four oxen which were the soils of a certain giant and, herself, and set them before the plow. And the plow cut so wide and so deep that it loosened up the land; and the oxen drew the land out into the sea and to the westward, and stopped in a certain sound. There Gefion set the land for good and gave it a name, calling it "Zealand." And from that time on, the spot whence the land had been torn up is water: it is now called the "Väneren" in Sweden; and bays lie in that lake even as the headlands in Zealand. Thus says Bragi, the ancient skald.
Pictured: The Gefion Statue on Østerbro
Rumors has it that Zealand was carved out of Sweden (See the ancient legend on your right). Today a large statue commemorating Gefions feat of plowing Zealand out of Sweden with her oxcart stands near Kastellet in Copenhagen.
Much has happened since then, and today nearly half the population of Denmark lives on the island, where also the capital and largest city Copenhagen is situated - the metropolitan area covers almost the entire north eastern part of the island.
Although densely populated and the seat of the Danish capital, Zealand is an island - in the past 15 years two fixed connections to Jutland and Sweden respectively have been completed, but there is still numerous ferry lines connecting Zealand with the European continent.
Zealand is connected to the European highway network on European routes E20 running between Shannon in Ireland, and St Petersburg in Russia, the E47 between Lübeck, Germany and Helsingborg in Sweden and finally the E55 between Helsingborg, and Kalamata in Greece. Please note that all of the ferry connections listed below, also take on cars. Avoid highways leading into Copenhagen in the morning rush hour between 7-9AM, where traffic is notoriously slow for tens of kilometers.
- Storebæltsbroen (Great Belt bridge): Most people arrive from Funen (and Jutland), over this impressive 18 kilometer combined road and railway l ink, on the E20. A one way ticket with a regular sized car is 205 DKK.
- Øresundsbroen (Oresund brige) this 16 kilometer connection; part brige, part artificial island and part tunnel tunnel is on the E20, and connects Copenhagen with Malmö in southern Sweden. Price of a one way ticket in a regular car is 260 DKK.
- Denmark: There are numerous trains connecting Zealand with Funen and Jutland, all crosses the Great Belt fixed link. The Main lines departs from Copenhagen twice every hour, usually divided in a Express and a Intercity train, and runs across the length of Zealand with stops in Roskilde, Ringsted, Slagelse and Korsør before crossing the Belt and Funen, and finaly branching out when they reach Jutland. The most important branches being Århus/Aalborg running North, Esbjerg running west and finaly Sønderborg running south. All cross belt trains are operated by DSB (Danish Railways
- International: Copenhagen Central station hosts connections to Hamburg, Berlin which stops in major Zealand cities; Næstved, Vordingborg and Nykøbing Falster on the way. There is also connections between Copenhagen and Ystad, Göteborg and Stockholm in Sweden
Buses between Zealand and Jutland are only marginally cheaper than the train, although there is considerable discounts between Monday - Thursday. The International buses on the other hand offers considerably lower prices than the train. Copenhagen due to its size, acts as the central hub for all bus lines, but the highway buses for Jutland, listed under Copenhagen, makes stops in both Roskilde and Holbæk.
- Private railroads
- Frederiksværksbanen — Hillerød - Hundested via Frederiksværk - One of the most important private railways in Denmark, runs from Hillerød, terminus of Copenhagen's suburban line E to Hundested at the mouths of Roskilde and Holbæk fjords.
- Lille Nord — Hillerød - Helsingør via Fredensborg - Runs once or twice per hour between the 3 castle towns of Northern Zealand, and is a good option from making a circle daytrip of Northern Zealand from Copenhagen
- Gribskovbanen — Hillerød - Tisvildeleje/Gilleleje - This beautiful small railway runs through Zealand's largest forest to reach the two main vacation towns on Zealands northern coast, where some excellent beaches can be found.
- Østbanen—  Køge - Faxe Ladeplads/Rødvig. - Runs from Køge, the terminus of one of Copenhagen's suburban lines, across the Stevns district, for access to the remarkable 15 meter high, Stevns chalk cliffs.
- Odsherredsbanen — Holbæk - Nykøbing Sjælland - This line connects Holbæk on one of the Zealand mainlines, to the Odsherred penisula - vacation country where many people Copenhagen has vacation homes
- Høng-Tølløse jernbane — Tølløse - Slagelse
- Lollandsbanen — Nykøbing Falster - Nakskov via Maribo
- Hundested - Rørvig
- Kulhuse - Sølager
- Tour the 3 main castles of Zealand: The world heritage sight of Hamlet's Kronborg, Frederiksborg and Fredensborg slot - all within easy reach of each other.
- Økologisk Landsby Samfund (Ecovillage Torup), Solen 15, Torup (Private Hunsted railway from Hillerød, get of at the Torup stop.), ☎ +45 47 98 70 26, . Tours: April 1st - Oktober 1st, every Saturday in even weeks 3AM. Is a small village with around a 100 residents,in the Northern part of Zealand, where you can see some exciting architecture based on energy neutrality and substainabilty.
- Canoeing on Susåen, Skovridervej 11, 4171 Glumsø, ☎ +45 5764 6144, . During the summer it's possible to do an almost 80 kilometers, 3 day canoe trip through beautiful scenery, on this stream that cuts through the middle part of Zealand. Canoe rental from 370 DKK for 1 day.
- Become a Viking for a day in the spectacular hands on history museum Lejre Forsøgscenter near Roskilde.</do>
While the rest of Denmark is aptly represented in terms of local specialties, the closest Zealand get's is probably the famous smørrebrød, meaning buttered-bread, which has it's origins in Copenhagen. These open faced sandwiches of rye bread and butter, comes with as many as 250 different toppings, and are usually finished by some elaborate decorations. Smørrebrød is usually eaten at lunch.
Further south, on the island of Møn the local specialty is bidesild (chewy herring) and is herring that has been pickled in brine over several years, and is served with bread and fat.
There are several breweries dotted around Zealand. Carlsberg & Tuborg, Denmarks major brands used to be produced in Copenhagen but production has now moved to Jutland, but there are serveral other local brands to choose from
- Faxe Bryggeri, Faxe Allé 1, 4640 Faxe, ☎ +45 5677 1590, . The largest brewery on the island, is famous for the Faxe Pilsner, which also sees exports to serveral countries.
The Swedish province of Scania is an easy trip by ferry or train from most parts of eastern Zealand. It shares a common history and heritage with the island.
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