This article is about the Danish island. For other uses, see Zealand (disambiguation).
Native name: Sjælland

Location Baltic Sea
Coordinates 55°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
Area 7,031 km2 (2,715 sq mi)
Region Capital Region of Denmark, Region Zealand
Largest settlement Copenhagen (pop. 1,181,239)
Population 2,208,348
Pop. density 354.3 /km2 (917.6 /sq mi)

Zealand (Danish: Sjælland; pronounced [ˈɕɛˌlanˀ]) is the largest (7,031 km2) and most populated island in Denmark with a population of 2,267,659 (39% of Denmark's total as of January 2016).[1]

It is the 96th-largest island in the world by area and the 35th most populous. It is connected to Funen by the Great Belt Bridge, to Lolland, Falster (and Germany from 2028) by the Storstrøm Bridge and the Farø Bridges. Zealand is also linked to Amager by five bridges. Zealand is linked indirectly, through intervening islands by a series of bridges and tunnels, to southern Sweden.

Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, is located partly on the eastern shore of Zealand and partly on the island of Amager. Other cities on Zealand include Roskilde, Næstved and Elsinore. The island is not connected historically to the Pacific nation of New Zealand, which is named after the Dutch province of Zeeland.

Mythological origins

Gefion carving Zealand from Sweden.

In Norse mythology as told in the story of 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.[2] However, since modern maps show a similarity between Zealand and the Swedish lake Vänern, it is sometimes identified as the hole left by Gefjun.


Zealand is the most populous Danish island (pop. 2012 est. 2,491,090).[3] 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 a metro rail connect Zealand to Amager, which is connected to Scania in Sweden by the Oresund bridge via the artificial island of Peberholm. Zealand is joined in the west to Funen, by the Great Belt bridge, 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 hill in the south east, near the town Rønnede in Faxe municipality, with a height of 122.9 m (403.21 feet), was the highest natural point on Zealand. Gyldenløveshøj, south of the city Roskilde, has a height of 126 m (413.4 feet), but that is due to a man-made hill from the 17th century and its highest natural point is only 121.3 m (397.96 feet).

Cities and towns

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 also


  1. Source:statistikbanken.dk/Befolkning og valg/table BEF4:Folketal 1. januar efter øer.
  2. Den Store Danske Encyklopædi, article Gefion
  3. Encyclopædia Britannica. "Zealand". Britannica.com. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Zealand.

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