For other places with the same name, see Zealand (disambiguation).

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.


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


Other destinations

Canoeing on Suså river


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.

The country of New Zealand is NOT named after Zealand, but rather the Dutch province of Zeeland; the Dutch discovered the country in 1642.


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.

By ferry

Tårs (Langeland)
Ebeltoft (East Jutland
Aarhus (East Jutland)
Aarhus (East Jutland)
Kolby Kås (Samsø)
Rønne (Bornholm)
Langelandstrafikken, 45 minutes
Molslinien, 45 minutes
Molslinien, 65 minutes
Molslinien, 2½ hours
Samsøtrafikken, 2 hours
Puttgarden (Germany)
Rostock (Germany)
Helsingborg (Sweden)
Oslo (Norway)
Szczecin (Poland)
Scandlines 45 minutes
Scandlines 1h45 minutes
Scandlines,Acelink &HH Ferries
DFDS Seaways ? hours
Polferries ? 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 finally branching out when they reach Jutland. The most important branches being Aarhus/Aalborg running North, Esbjerg running west and finally Sønderborg running south. All cross belt trains are operated by DSB (Danish Railways. International trains depart Copenhagen Central station for Hamburg and Berlin several 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 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. Though the lion's share of long distance transportation in the region are done by train, there are a few important inter-regional routes namely:

And two express buses running mainly in the summer on a non-stop route 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 , crossing the big fjord in the 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,



Suseåen in early spring


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.


There are several breweries dotted around Zealand. Carlsberg & Tuborg, Denmark's major brands used to be produced in Copenhagen but production has now moved to Jutland, but there are several other local brands to choose from

Go next

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 article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Wednesday, December 02, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.