A well known castle

Between the Kattegat and the Baltic Sea there are three straits, of which the most important is the Øresund or Sound. It separates the Danish island of Zealand (with Copenhagen) and South Sweden (or Scania). All sea traffic to and from the Baltic Sea passed and still passes through this corridor, with a width of 4 km, the narrowest passage between both countries.

Since the 10th century and at the time of this map Scania belonged to the Kingdom of Denmark. The Danish King raised toll on all passing vessels. After the military defeat in the naval battle of the Øresund in 1658 Denmark ceded the entire area to Sweden in the Treaty of Roskilde of 1659.

The map shows at the foreground Danish Helsingor with the castle of Kronburg taking a prominent place (just visited with my son a few days ago). This renaissance beauty (which is detailed in the inset) was only finished in 1588 under Frederick II, King of Denmark (including Scania) and of Norway and Duke of Schleswig. In 1602 William Shakespeare immortalized the castle by his family tragedy “Hamlet”. The palace currently houses an annual Shakespeare festival.


At the right bottom of the map Hogenberg draws a tip of the city of Hafnia (Copenhagen) and on the other side Elbogen (now Malmö). Obviously, since the distance between Helsingor and Copenhagen is about 50 km, the perspective on this view is incorrect.

In the strait lies the islet of Hvena with the castle of Uraniburgum. Frederick II allowed Tycho Brahe to establish and operate an astronomical observatory and alchemy laboratory in this castle. Today this island (called Ven) is part of Sweden. More information on this observatory will later be posted on this page.

Copenhagen and Malmö have been connected since 2000 (just south of each metropolis) by the Øresund Bridge, the longest combined road and rail bridge in Europe (see picture). A data cable also makes the bridge the backbone of internet data transmission between central Europe and Sweden.