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Middelfart is a town in central Denmarkmarker, with a population of 14,494 (1st January 2009). The town is the municipal seat of Middelfart municipality on the island of Funenmarker ( ).

Overview

The town name Middelfart means central passage - and refers to one of the three ferry links formerly connecting the island of Funenmarker with the peninsula of Jutland, in this case, the link between Stribmarker and Føns. The earliest record mentioning the settlement is the Liber Census Daniæ (1231) listing it as Mæthelfar. The local dialect shortened the name to Melfar, a short form still popular in names of shops, institutions and events, e.g Melfar-Posten, a local weekly.

From the Middle Ages till the end of the 19th century the local fishermen were also whale hunters in winter. The only whale common in Danish waters is the Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocaena. The whale hunters linked their boats across the rather narrow Little Beltmarker and by beating the sea by sticks and branches they directed the migrating porpoises to low water areas where they could be slaughtered. The whale blubber was used for lamps, indoors and outdoors, and the coming of electricity made whale hunting uneconomical. In the winter of 1854–55, 1742 whales were caught, but a normal winter's catch would only be half of this number or even less.

In the 20th century, the hunt was resumed during the two world wars. Two memorial stones now stand where the hunters landed the whales and where blubber was prepared.

The Middelfart municipality has a population of 37,274 people as of 2008. The municipality is also a part of the East Jutland metropolitan area with 1.2 million inhabitants..

Near it are two big bridges over the Little Beltmarker sea strait. Middelfart is serviced by the passenger rail service between Copenhagenmarker and Jutland. The Cultural Center Kulturøen literally, "Culture Island"), contains the town library, a cinema, a restaurant, a café, and the tourist office.

References

  1. BEF44: Population 1st January, by urban areasdatabase from Statistics Denmark
  2. Politikens Nydansk Ordbog, 15th edition (1992), entry Middelfart
  3. [1]


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