North Zealand (Danish: Nordsjælland) is a region in Denmark, in the northeastern part of the island of Zealand. More accurately, it is the area north of Copenhagen and east of Ise Fjord. One of the country's most affluent areas, with average property prices the double of nearly all other parts of the country, large parts of its population commute to the capital every day for work.
A historic city with a beautiful centre and the home of Hamlet's Kronborg castle
A small town with a big royal castle and a pretty city centre
An old industrial town nestled between the Roskilde Fjord and Arresø Lake
Nestled between forests, the town is dominated by its huge castle Frederiksborg
A small fishing village in the far northwest of the region
|Central Nordsjælland |
A mainly built-up area around the cities of Birkerød and Allerød with patches of farmland
A mainly suburban county northwest of Copenhagen
A mainly rural peninsula between the fjords of Roskilde and Ise
|Kongernes Nordsjælland National Park |
A newly formed national park with some of Denmark's largest forests
|North Coast |
A region with many splendid beaches for a warm summer day
|Øresund Coast |
Talking is never likely to be a problem, neither will actually being understood by the locals in this part of the country. Nordsjælland is by and large populated by an affluent, highly educated, well-travelled elite - you might even get by in your snobbiest French up here.
If you have your own wheels, head opposite the morning commuters up the Helsingørmotorvejen (E47 & E55) or Hillerødmotorvejen (route 16) highways. Nearly all destinations in North Zealand are within an hour's drive from the capital.
On public transit, Kystbanen or "the coastal railway" is the best choice for destinations along the Øresund Coast, with stops in both Humlebæk for the Louisiana Art Museum and Elsinore for visits to Kronborg. S-train lines A (Hillerød), B (for Farum) and C or H (Frederikssund), leaves every 10-20 minutes all day, with local bus terminals at nearly all stations waiting to take you to other destinations. Hillerød in particular is the transit hub for the northern half of the region.
Hillerød station is the hub for a network of local railway lines covering the Northern part of the region. Trains depart every 30-60 minutes towards Frederiksværk/Hundested, Tisvildeleje & Gilleleje and Fredensborg/Elsinore. There is also a local railway running along the North Coast from Elsinore (interchange with Kystbanen) to Gilleleje.
- The three major castles: Hamlet's Kronborg castle in Elsinore, Fredensborg Palace in Fredensborg, and Frederiksborg palace, baroque gardens and museum in Hillerød.
- The world-class Louisiana museum of Modern art in Humlebæk, the most visited art museum in Denmark
- Gaze at old classics instead at the Nivågaard Malerisamling in Nivå.
- Rungstedlund, the museum of one of Denmark's best-loved and -known authors - Karen Blixen, of Out of Africa and Babette's Feast fame - in Rungsted.
- The par force hunting landscape in North Zealand — the former hunting grounds of Danish royalty is now a UNESCO World Heritage site made up of nine components, mostly around Hillerød.
Apart from viewing museums and castles, nature is quite attractive. The Øresund Coast has some very nice beaches, although they can be quite crowded in summer. Also, the forests are very nice with lots of old oak and beech trees. Gribskov is the second-largest forest in Denmark, and in summer the old art of charcoal burning is occasionally demonstrated. A vintage steam railroad operates in summer as well as around Christmas.
North Zealand has a good share of top-class restaurants, including some quite renowned inns. And apart from pizzerias and Chinese restaurants, eating is bound to be quite expensive in this area. Typical menus include high-class French cooking, Danish smørebrød and traditional Danish rural cuisine - often in some combination.
The regional beer Wiibroe is still almost exclusively sold in North Zealand, but like so many other brands it has been bought up by Carlsberg, and is now brewed in Carlsberg's central factory in Jutland. All is not lost, however: a small band of enthusiasts have started Klaregårdens Bryglaug  [dead link] and taken up the old tradition of brewing in Elsinore, and "true" Wiibroe beer, brewed right next door to the original brewery in Elsinore, is now sold at the museum shop at Skibsklarergården. While Carlsberg-Wiibroe is sold in many supermarkets and bars all over North Zealand.
Few places in Denmark are safer than North Zealand, and indeed few places in the world are. In the forests, however, you may be bitten by ticks, and a fairly recent development is that some ticks now carry the more dangerous East European TBE (until the mid 2000s, Bornholm was the only area in Denmark where ticks carried this disease). That said, the risk of being bitten by a tick is minimal, and the risk of the tick carrying something serious is minimal too.
Danish healthcare is modern and efficient, although in some cases very bureaucratic and expensive. Usually you can simply rely on this, but if you consider serious hiking or trekking in forests of eastern Denmark, consider vaccination against East European TBE.