Zealand

Zealand or Sealand (Danish: Sjælland [ˈɕɛˌlænˀ], in English also occasionally), at 7,031 km2, is the largest and most populous island in Denmark proper (thus excluding Greenland and Disko Island, which are larger). Zealand has a population of 2,319,705 (as of 1 January 2020).[2]

Zealand
Native name:
Sjælland
Stevns Klint.jpg
Denmark location sjalland.svg
Geography
LocationDanish straits
Coordinates55°30′N 11°45′E / 55.500°N 11.750°E / 55.500; 11.750Coordinates: 55°30′N 11°45′E / 55.500°N 11.750°E / 55.500; 11.750
Area7,031 km2 (2,715 sq mi)
Highest elevation122.9 m (403.2 ft)
Highest pointKobanke
Administration
RegionCapital Region of Denmark, Region Zealand
Largest settlementCopenhagen (pop. 1,627,705 (urban)[1])
Demographics
DemonymZealander
Population2,319,705
Pop. density327.41/km2 (847.99/sq mi)

It is the 13th-largest island in Europe by area and the 4th most populous. It is connected to Sprogø and Funen by the Great Belt Fixed Link and to Amager by several bridges in Copenhagen. Indirectly, through the island of Amager and the Øresund Bridge, it is also linked to Scania in Sweden. In the south, the Storstrøm Bridge and the Farø Bridges connect it to Falster, and beyond that island to Lolland, from where the Fehmarnbelt Tunnel to Germany is planned.

Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, with a population between 1.3 and 1.4 million people in 2020, is located mostly on the eastern shore of Zealand and partly on the island of Amager. Other cities on Zealand include Roskilde, Hillerød, Næstved, Helsingør, Slagelse, Køge, Holbæk and Kalundborg.

Administratively, Zealand is divided between two Danish regions: The Copenhagen metropolitan area and North Zealand belong to the Capital Region, while the major and more rural part of the island belongs to the Zealand Region.

EtymologyEdit

The origin of the Danish name Sjælland is not exactly known. Sjæl in modern Danish means "soul", but this interpretation can be excluded. A derivation from siô/ (meaning "lake" or "sea") has been assumed. However, today a common hypothesis is that the Old Danish form Siâland is based on the word *selha- with the ending *wundia-. The latter means "indicates, resembles". The word *selha- may have two different meanings: "seal" (in modern Danish sæl) or "deep bay, fjord". Since Roskilde is a major and ancient settlement on Zealand, accessible by sea through the narrow Roskilde Fjord (branched from the Isefjord), it has been assumed that the sailors named the island after this.[3]

The English form may be borrowed from the German form Seeland. These forms might be based on the assumption that the first part means sea or lake (German See), or they could simply be based on an alternative Danish form of the name, Sælland, which was common until the 19th century.[4]

Unlike the Danish island, the Pacific nation of New Zealand is named after the Dutch province of Zeeland.

Mythological originsEdit

 
Gefion carving Zealand from Sweden.

In Norse mythology as told in the Gylfaginning, the island was created by the goddess Gefjun after she tricked Gylfi, the king of Sweden. She removed a piece of land and transported it to Denmark, which became Zealand. The vacant area was filled with water and became Mälaren.[5] However, since modern maps show a similarity between Zealand and the Swedish lake Vänern, it is sometimes identified as the hole left by Gefjun. Gefjun is queen of King Skjöldr, eponymous ancestor of the Scyldings, related to the etymological debate.

GeographyEdit

 
The island of Zealand (Sjælland) and the Danish Straits between Denmark and Sweden, connecting the Baltic Sea – on the right – and the Atlantic Ocean.

Zealand is the most populous Danish island. It is irregularly shaped, and is north of the islands of Lolland, Falster, and Møn. The small island of Amager lies immediately east.

Copenhagen is mostly on Zealand but extends across northern Amager. A number of bridges and the Copenhagen Metro connect Zealand to Amager, which is connected to Scania in Sweden by the Øresund Bridge via the artificial island of Peberholm. Zealand is joined in the west to Funen, by the Great Belt Fixed Link, and Funen is connected by bridges to the country's mainland, Jutland.

On June 5, 2007, the regional subsidiary of national broadcaster DR reported that Kobanke in the southeast near the town Rønnede in Faxe Municipality, with a height of 122.9 metres (403 ft), was the highest natural point on Zealand. Gyldenløveshøj, south of the city Roskilde, has a height of 126 metres (413 ft), but that is due to a man-made hill from the 17th century and its highest natural point is only 121.3 metres (398 ft).

Zealand gives its name to the Selandian era of the Paleocene.

Cities and townsEdit

Urban areas with 10,000+ inhabitants:

# Urban area Municipality Population
1 Copenhagen Multiple 1,213,822
2 Greve Greve Municipality 47,980
3 Roskilde Roskilde Municipality 47,828
4 Helsingør Helsingør Municipality 46,368
5 Hørsholm Multiple 45,865
6 Næstved Næstved Municipality 41,857
7 Køge Køge Municipality 35,295
8 Taastrup Høje-Taastrup Municipality 32,719
9 Slagelse Slagelse Municipality 32,133
10 Hillerød Hillerød Municipality 30,570
11 Holbæk Holbæk Municipality 27,195
12 Ringsted Ringsted Municipality 21,412
13 Ølstykke-Stenløse Egedal Municipality 20,984
14 Birkerød Rudersdal Municipality 19,919
15 Måløv-Smørumnedre Multiple 19,143
16 Farum Furesø Municipality 18,422
17 Kalundborg Kalundborg Municipality 16,303
18 Lillerød Allerød Municipality 15,795
19 Frederikssund Frederikssund Municipality 15,602
20 Solrød Strand Solrød Municipality 15,159
21 Korsør Slagelse Municipality 14,538
22 Værløse Furesø Municipality 12,842
23 Frederiksværk Halsnæs Municipality 12,191
24 Vordingborg Vordingborg Municipality 11,643
25 Hedehusene-Fløng Høje-Taastrup Municipality 11,345
26 Haslev Faxe Municipality 11,201

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "StatBank Denmark - data and statistics". Statistics Denmark. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
  2. ^ BEF4: Population 1 January by Islands, Statistics Denmark
  3. ^ Katlev, Jan (4 August 2009). "Sjælland …". www.sprogmuseet.dk (in Danish). Danish Language Museum. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
  4. ^ Sælland, Holberg Dictionary
  5. ^ Den Store Danske Encyklopædi, article Gefion

External linksEdit