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Kattegat and Skagerrak.

The Kattegat (Danish, commonly used in English), or Kattegatt (Swedish) is a sea area bounded by the Jutland peninsula and the Straits islands of Denmarkmarker on the west and south, and the provinces of Scania, Hallandmarker and Bohuslänmarker in Swedenmarker on the east. The Baltic Seamarker drains into the Kattegat through the Oresundmarker and the Danish Straits. The Kattegat is a continuation of the Skagerrakmarker and may be seen as either a bay of the Baltic Seamarker, a bay of the North Seamarker, or, in traditional Scandinavian usage, neither of these.


According to the definition established in a 1932 convention signed by Denmark, Norwaymarker and Sweden (registered in the League of Nations Treaty Series 199 - 1933), the northern boundary between Kattegat and Skagerrak is found at the northernmost point of Skagenmarker on Jutland and the southern boundary towards Oresundmarker is found at the tip of Kullen Peninsula in Scania.

Waterways that drain into the Kattegat are the rivers of Göta älvmarker at Gothenburgmarker, together with the Lagan, Nissanmarker, Ätran and Viskanmarker from the province of Hallandmarker on the Swedish side, and the river of Gudenåmarker from Jutland, in Denmark.

The main islands of the Kattegat are Samsømarker, Læsømarker and Anholtmarker, where the latter two, due to their dry summer climate, are referred to as the Danish desert belt.

A number of noteworthy coastal areas abut the Kattegat, including the Kullaberg Nature Reserve in Scania, Sweden, which contains a number of rare species and a scenic rocky shore, the town of Möllemarker, which has a picturesque harbour and views into the Kullaberg, and Skagenmarker at the northern tip of Denmark.

Currently, a proposed bridge from Jutland to Zealandmarker across the southern part of Kattegat is under political consideration in Denmark, linking the islands of Zealand and Samsø with continental Denmark.


According to Den Store Danske Encyklopædi and Nudansk Ordbog, the name derives from the Dutch words Kat (cat) and Gat (hole). It refers to late medieval navigation jargon, when captains of the Hanseatic trading fleets would compare the Danish Straits to a hole so narrow that even a cat would have difficulty squeezing its way through on account of the many reefs and shallow waters. At one point, the passable waters were a mere 3.84 kilometers (2.38 miles) wide. The name of the Copenhagenmarker street Kattesundet has the same etymological meaning, namely "narrow passage".

An archaic name for both the Skagerrakmarker and Kattegat was the Norwegian Seamarker or Jutland Sea (Knýtlinga saga mentions the name Jótlandshaf).


This was one of the first marine dead zones to be noted in the 1970s, when scientists began studying how intensive economic use affected the natural world.


  1. Convention No 3210. League of Nations Treaty Series 199, 1933. Retrieved 15 April 2008.
  2. Den Store Danske Encyklopædi (2004), CD-rom edition, Copenhagen: Gyldendal, entry Kattegat.
  3. Nudansk Ordbog (1993), 15th edition, 2nd reprint, Copenhagen: Politikens Forlag, entry Kattegat.

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