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Danish straits: Map

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"Belts" and "Sounds" in Denmark and southwestern Baltic Sea
The Danish straits are the three channels connecting the Baltic seamarker to the North Seamarker through the Kattegatmarker and Skagerrakmarker. They transect Denmarkmarker, and are not to be confused with the Denmark Straitmarker between Greenlandmarker and Icelandmarker. The three main passages are:



By closer view there are five straits named Belt (Danish: Bælt), the only ones in the world, and several straits named Sound (Danish, Swedish, and German: Sund). Where an Island is situated between a Belt and a Sound, typically the broader strait is called Belt and the more narrow one is the Sound:

  • Alsmarker:
    • separated from the continent by Alssund
    • separated from Fynmarker the southern part of the Little Belt, an area referred to in German (but not Danish) as Alsenbelt


  • Fehmarnmarker
    • separated from the Continent by Fehmarnsund, also Femersund
    • separated from Fynmarker by Fehmarnbelt (German) / Femerbelt (Platt) / Femernbælt (former spelling: Femer Bælt)
  • Langelandmarker:
    • separated from Tåsingemarker Island by Siø Sund (Tåsinge itself is separated form Fyn by Svendborg Sund)
    • separated from Lolland by Langelandsbælt, the southern part of Great Belt


  • Lollandmarker:
    • separated from Falstermarker Island by Guldborgsund (Falster itself is separated form Zealand by Storstrømmenmarker Strait)
    • separated from Langeland by Langelandsbælt
    • separated from Fehmarn by Femernbælt, which is the common continuation of Great Belt–Langelandsbælt and Little Belt




Etymology and general use of Sound / Sund

The Germanic word "sound" has the same root as the verb "to sunder" in the meaning of to separate. In Swedish language any strait is called "Sund". In Norwaymarker hundreds of narrow straits separating islands and combining Fjords or outer parts of Fjords are named "Sund". Another explanation derives Sound from an ancient verb "sund" in the meaning of to swim. That way a sound is a swimmable strait.

With the denomination of fjords and other bays in North America (Prince William Soundmarker) and New Zealand the European meaning of the word has been lost.

The Germanic word "sound" is not related to the Romance originated word "sound", which has developed from the Latin sonus.

See also




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