Als (, german: Alsen) is a Danish island
in the Baltic Sea
Als lies to the east of the Jutland
peninsula, across from the Danish town of Sønderborg
, and north of the coast of Southern Schleswig
. Covering an area of 321 km2
(124 sq. miles), the island has a total population of 51,322 as of 1 January 2010.
Retrieved 28 June 2010.
It is administered as part of the Sønderborg Municipality
as of 1 January 2007.
To the north and east of the island are the waters of the Little Belt
, to the south is Flensborg Fjord
, and to the west is Als Fjord
and Als Strait (''Alssund'').
The town of Sønderborg
is the capital, and was originally entirely on the island, but has spread onto the mainland, being split by the waters of Als Strait: the strait
that separates the island from Jutland, the Danish mainland and part of Als Fjord. It has a good harbour and considerable trade. The two halves of the city are connected over the fjord by two bridges: the 682-metre-long Als Strait Bridge (''Alssundbro''), built between 1978 and 1981, carries road traffic; and the 331-metre-long King Christian X
's Bridge (''Kong Christian Xs Bro''), built between 1925 and 1930, which originally carried both road and rail traffic but is now purely for road traffic.
services are run from the town of Hardeshøj on the island to Ballebro on the Jutland mainland, and from the town of Fynshav to Søby on the island of Ærø
and to Bøjden on the island of Funen
Als is a fertile island with a thriving pig
breeding industry. The island was formerly known for its fruit orchard
s, some of which are still in operation.
The west coast of the island has many bays and coves: Stegsvig, Sandvig, Ketting Nor, Lille Hav, Augstenborg Fjord, Kær Vig, Hørup Hav, and Dyvig. On the east coast along the Little Belt lies the 7 km2
Northern Forest (''Nørreskov''), and Lake Nordborg (''Nordborg Sø'').
The former municipality of Nordborg is the home of Danfoss
, Denmark's largest industrial company, and a number of its subsidiaries.
There are many archeological finds that show the island has been inhabited from the late Stone Age
. From the Bronze Age
comes the .
During the Middle Ages
the island came under the influence of a number of noblemen, each of which ruled over their portion of the island, and its citizens. King Christian III
's son, Duke John
, came in possession of the island as a titular Duchy
, and he bought the other noblemen out. The island was again divided into several smaller Duchies later on, but this venture failed eventually.
The town of Augustenborg grew up around Augustenborg Palace which was established in the years after 1651 by Ernest Günther
, a member of the ducal House of Schleswig-Holstein
(its branch of Sønderborg), great-grandson of King Christian III
, and a cadet of the royal house of Denmark. The palace, and the town consequently, received the name in honour of Ernest's wife Auguste
, who was from another branch of the Dukes of Schleswig-Holstein
The palace became the chief seat of their line which used the name Augustenborg as its branch name. Later a Danish king made the head of that line specifically Duke of Augustenborg
. They grew in relative prominence in late 18th century, and the Duke of Augustenborg became the dominating person on the island.
The Duchy was taken over by the Danish Crown after the last Duke of Augustenborg to live at the palace, Christian August II
, had sided with the Schleswig-Holstein pro-German nationalist movement against Denmark. He left on March 18, 1848.
That same year during the First Schleswig War
(1848–1851), the Danes directed their main attack against Field Marshal Friedrich Graf von Wrangel
army from the lighthouse on the peninsula of Kegnæs at the southwest end of Als.
In 1864 the Battle of Als
took place there.
After these two wars over which nation would rule the island (and the whole of Schleswig), the following period saw the island under Prussian and German rule, although the island's population was largely Danish
In 1870 Als was fortified by Prussia.
Following the Schleswig plebiscites
of 1920, Als as part of the northern voting zone
returned to Danish rule.
After 1920 Als has been marked by growing industry, especially after 1945 when Danfoss
grew into an international corporation.
line died out in the 20th century.
right|200px|thumb| Sønderborg Castle
The town of Sønderborg
is home to Sønderborg Castle
(''Sønderborg Slot'') and Sandbjerg Estate
(''Sandbjerg Gods''). Sønderborg castle is located in the centre of the town, and houses a museum focusing on the history and culture of the area. The museum is open year-round. Sandbjerg Estate, which had belonged for many years to the Dukes of Sønderborg, and then to the Reventlow
family, was donated to Aarhus University
The island's Augustenborg Palace
has been converted into a hospital. There is an exhibit about the castle, the town and its ducal history in the building's entryway. The castle church is open to the public in the summertime, and tours are given.
The writer Herman Bang
was born in 1857 Asserballe
on Als and was a child during the Second Schleswig War
when the island came under Prussian (later German) rule. That traumatic war forms the background of Bang's novel ''Tine'' (1889), which tells the tragic love story of a young girl on the island of Als. It was translated to various other languages, making people in other countries familiar with Als.
File:Schloss Augustenburg.jpg|Augustenborg Castle
File:Havnbjerg strand.JPG|Havnbjerg beach
File:Lusig Strand mod Sandvig.JPG|Lusig beach
File:Kegnæs Sønderby 2.jpg|Sønderby
File:Nordborg Kirke.JPG|Nordborg Church
File:Nordborg 2008-07-13 Nørreskovvej.jpg|Nørreskoven in the north of Als
File:Danfoss Hauptgebäude in Nordborg.jpg|Danfoss headquarters at Nordborg
File:Fynshav færge.JPG|Ferry harbour at Fynshav
File:Kong Christian den X's Bro.jpg|King Christian X's Bridge at Sønderborg
File:Nordborg Slot 2008.JPG|Nordborg Castle
File:Svenstrup Kirke.JPG|Svenstrup Church
* Vibeke Vasbo
(born 1944 on Als) a Danish writer and women's rights and lgbt rights activist
* List of islands of Denmark
* Schleswig-Holstein Question
Category:Danish islands in the Baltic