1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Zealand

ZEALAND (also Sealand or Seeland; Danish Sjaelland), the largest island of the kingdom of Denmark. It is bounded N. by the Cattegat, E. by the Sound, separating it from Sweden, and the Baltic Sea, S. by narrow straits separating it from Falster, Moen, and smaller islands, and W. by the Great Belt, separating it from Fünen. Its nearer point to Sweden is 3 m., to Fünen 11. Its greatest extent from N. to S. is 82 m., from E. to W. 68 m., but the outline is very irregular. The area is 2636 sq. m. The surface is for the most part undulating, but on the whole little above sea-level; the highest elevations are in the south-east, where Cretaceous hills (the oldest geological formation on the island) reach heights of upwards of 350 ft. The coast is indented by numerous deep bays and fjords; the Ise Fjord in the north, with its branches the Roskilde Fjord on the east and the Lamme Fjord on the west, penetrates inland for about 25 m. There are no rivers of importance; but several large lakes, the most considerable being Arre and Esrom, occur in the north-east. The soil is fertile and produces grain, especially rye and barley, in great abundance, as well as potatoes and other vegetables, and fruit. The scenery, especially in the neighbourhood of the fjords, is pleasant, lacking the barrenness of some portions of the kingdom.

Zealand is divided into five amter (counties). (1) Frederiksborg in the north, named from the palace of Frederiksborg. In the north-east, where the coast approaches most nearly to Sweden, is Helsingör or Elsinore. (2) Kjöbenhavn, south of Frederiksborg. The capital is that of the kingdom, Copenhagen (Kjöbenhavn). The only other town of importance is the old cathedral city of Roskilde on the fjord of that name. Off the little port of Kjöge in the south the Danes under Nils Juel defeated the Swedes in 1677, and in another engagement in 1710 the famous Danish commander Hvitfeldt sank with his ship. (3) Holbaek, west of Kjöbenhavn. The chief town, Holbaek, lies on an arm of the Ise Fjord. In the west is the port of Kallundborg, with regular communication by steamer with Aarhus in Jutland. It has a singular Romanesque church of the 12th century. The district is diversified with small lakes, as the Tüs Sö. (4) Sorö, occupying the south-western part of the island. The chief town, Sorö, lies among woods on the small Sorö lake. It was formerly the seat of a university, and remains an important educational centre. Its church, of the 12th century, contains the tombs of the poet Holberg (d. 1754) and of some of the Danish kings. Slagelse in the west, an agricultural centre, is an ancient town dating back to the 12th century. Here Hans Christian Andersen, the poet, received part of his education. Korsör is an important seaport. (5) Praestö, the most southerly county. The capital, Praestö, is a small port on the inner lagoon of a bay of this name, on the east coast. In the west is the ancient town of Naestved; in the south, Vordingborg, with a ruined castle and a small harbour. The railway here crosses a great bridge on to the small Masnedö, whence there is a ferry to Orehöved on Falster island, a link in the direct route between Copenhagen and Berlin.