Related pages:  Posters and Prints of Skåne - Posters and Prints of Denmark - Skåne


The Öresund Bridge between Malmö and Copenhagen opened for traffic in July 2000. The construction consists of the 5 mile long bridge itself, a 2.5 mile stretch on a manmade island and a 2.5 mile long tunnel.

Hven seen from Skåne

The Danish coastline seen from Hven.

The Swedish island Hven (also spelled Ven) rises in the middle of Öresund between Sweden and Denmark. The island is approximately 2.8 x 1.6 miles or 4.5 square miles, about double the size of Central Park in New York. Read the story below and find out why it was a mountain instead of an island at the end of the last Ice Age.


Fishermen in fog

How the Ice Created Öresund

During the last Ice Age the ice that covered much of the Northern Hemisphere was between 3.5 and 4 kilometers thick (that's almost 2.5 miles). Its weight compressed the ground, much like a sponge will be pressed down if you place a brick on top of it.

Then the ice began to melt. About 13,000 years ago southern Scandinavia began to emerge from under the ice cover, in the shape of an uninterrupted peninsula extending northward from the European continent.

As the ice melted, the configuration of land and sea continually changed. In Scandinavia, the water that had been tied up in the huge ice cover flowed down to the low area south of what is now the Baltic Sea. It kept rising in this inland lake, contained by the ice cover to the north and the land to the east and south, until it broke through the belt of low land where now the lakes Vättern and Vänern remain, and drained into Skagerack. This lowered the Ice Lake considerably, and the land around the coasts further south rose correspondingly higher. At this time, Hven must have been a mountain.

As the ice continued to melt away, the freed earth expanded (as the sponge when you take away the brick), and the landmass in the Vänern-Vättern belt rose again, damming up he Ice Lake's main drainage. This happened about 9,000 years ago. The water continued to rise, because the ice to the north was still melting. Finally, 7,000 years ago, it broke through in the south end, forming Öresund and the sounds between the Danish islands.

For about 6,000 years, from the time the ice melted in Denmark and Skåne until the water breakthrough created Öresund and the other straits, Stone Age hunters and fishermen wandered into Scandinavia. Arrowheads and other stone tools used by nomadic reindeer hunters 13.000 years ago have been found at Finjasjön in Skåne.

 Because parts of the land later became ocean, traces of early settlements and camps have been found on the ocean bottom. Many finds were made during the construction of the Öresund Bridge.


This account of Scandinavia during the Ice Age is extremely simplified. If you would like to find out more, the sites Under Is och Hav (Under Ice and Ocean), and Östersjöns utveckling efter istiden (The development of the Baltic Sea after the Ice Age), both in Swedish, have maps of the changes in land and oceans and more detailed descriptions of what happened during the Ice Age millennia.

 Excavating submerged Stone Age sites in Denmark is an interesting and detailed account, in English, of the exploration of an underwater Danish Stone Age site.


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