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Difference between revisions of "Zealand"

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Revision as of 09:49, 9 May 2010

This article covers the island in Denmark, not to be confused with the Dutch province Zeeland.

Zealand (Danish: Sjælland, [1]) 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.

Contents

Regions

Regions on Zealand
Greater Copenhagen region
The densely populated capital region
North Zealand
The Northern Zealand of Kings with lakes, farmland, lush forests and impressive castles
West Zealand
South Zealand
Møn
Known and loved by the Danes for its scenic country side, Viking burial mounds and its spectacular chalk 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.

Cities

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Nykøbing Falster - The central city of the islands south of Zealand, with a nice abbey church to boot.
  • Ringsted - Commercial centre smack on the middle of the islands, with the Danish Tramway Museum on its outskirts.
  • Roskilde - World heritage site of Roskilde cathedral, containing the Royal Tombs for the past 1000 years. and the excellent Viking ship museum.
  • Slagelse - Discover Denmark's Viking heritage, in the nearby Trelleborg ringcastle, one of only 4 discovered.

Other destinations

  • 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.

Understand

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

Rumours has it that Zealand was carved out of Sweden (See the ancient legend on your right), and the area where Zealand was carved out from, is now a huge lake which bears some similarity to Zealand. Today a large statue commemorating Gefions feat of ploughing Zealand out of Sweden with her ox cart stands near Kastellet in Copenhagen.

And for many years to follow, Gefion's Zealand was the geographical centre of the Danish Kingdom, as Sweden's three southern most provinces was then an integral part of Denmark. But the Swedes had their vengeance for Gefion's dirty tricks, though they had to wait a thousand years to taste it. In 1658 they took the eastern part of the Kingdom, in one of the countless wars between the two countries, so that Denmark now ended on the shores of Zealand - hence the rather odd location of the Danish capital.

Much has happened since then, and today nearly half of 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 portion of the island, and many people on the rest the island commutes to the capital every day.

Geography

Zealand is a quite large island, at just over 7000 km2 (2,715 sq mi), it's among the 100 largest islands in the world. It's flat, but dominated by low rolling hills from moraines left behind from the last ice age - the highest point, Gyldenløves Høj, is only 126 meters (413 ft) above the sea. It's heavily cultivated, but there are some (by local standards) large forested areas in Northern Zealand and on Western Zealand between Slagelse and Sorø.

The sea south of Zealand is dominated by the three large islands Lolland, Falster and Møn,

Get in

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.

By car

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)[2]: 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)[3] 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.

By ferry

Tårs (Langeland)
Ebeltoft (East Jutland
Århus (East Jutland)
Århus (East Jutland)
Kolby Kås (Samsø)
Rønne (Bornholm)
Langelandstrafikken[4], 45 minutes
Molslinien[5], 45 minutes
Molslinien[6], 65 minutes
Molslinien[7], 2½ hours
Samsøtrafikken[8], 2 hours
Bornholmstrafikken[9]
Puttgarden (Germany)
Rostock (Germany)
Helsingborg (Sweden)
Oslo (Norway)
Szczecin (Poland)
Scandlines[[10] 45 minutes
Scandlines[[11] 1h45 minutes
Scandlines[[12], Acelink[13] & HH Ferries[14]
DFDS Seaways [[15]] ? hours
Polferries [16] ? hours.

By train

There are numerous trains connecting Zealand with Funen and Jutland, they all cross 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[17]. International trains depart Copenhagen Central station for Hamburg and Berlin serveral times per day, stopping 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 across the Øresund bridge.

By bus

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.

Get around

By train

The vast majority of regional transportation is done by train, the bulk of it on the 4 main DSB [18] corridors, radiating out of Copenhagen. It is worth noting that that the ticketing system changes in Borup and Hvalsø, roughly half way between Roskilde and Holbæk & Ringsted respectively, if you cross these cities "All-Zone" tickets bought in Copenhagen are no longer valid, and you need to purchase train tickets with DSB instead,

By bus

The regional transportation agency for the whole region is Movia [19]. Though the lionsshare of long distance transportation in the region are done by train, there are a few important interregional routes namely:

And two mainly summer express buses[20] which non-stop between Høje Taastrup and the beaches and vacation homes in North-Eastern Zealand:

By ferry

The most important ferry route on Zealand is between Hundested and Rørvig [21], crossing the big fjord in northern part of the island. Many of the smaller islands dotting the sea around Zealand and Lolland are also connected by ferries, check these in the relevant sub regions,

See

  • 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.
  • See the tall white cliffs on Møn and Stevns with sudden 120 meter vertical drops into the sea.
  • Discover the world of Vikings in the Viking ship museum in Roskilde and the living history museum of Lejre.

Do

Suseåen in early spring
  • Ride hundred year old trams through a picturesque forest in the Skjoldenæsholm tramway museum near Ringsted.
  • Canoeing on Susåen, Skovridervej 11, 4171 Glumsø, +45 5764 6144, [22]. During the summer it is 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.

Eat

While the rest of Denmark is aptly represented in terms of local specialties, the closest Zealand gets is probably the famous smørrebrød, meaning buttered-bread, which has its 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.

Drink

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, [23]. The largest brewery on the island, is famous for the Faxe Pilsner, which also sees exports to serveral countries.


Get out

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.




This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


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