Coordinates: 55°52′00″N 10°37′00″E / 55.8666667°N 10.6166667°E
Area: 112 km2 (43.2 sq mi)
Region: Central Denmark Region
Municipality: Samsø Municipality
Largest city: Tranebjerg (pop. 829)
Demographics: Population 4,010 (as of 2010)
35.8 /km2 (92.7 /sq mi)
Samsø (Anglicized: “Samso” or “Samsoe”) is a Danish island in the Kattegat 15 kilometers (9 miles) off the Jutland Peninsula. Samsø is located in Samsø municipality. The community has 4,300 inhabitants (2009) called Samsingers and is 114 km² in area. Due to its central location, the island was used during the Viking Age as a meeting place. The etymology of the island’s name is unknown.
In 1997, Samsø won a government competition to become a model renewable energy community. Now 100% of its electricity comes from wind power.
The island is very popular among French, Welsh and Irish people for strawberry picking during the months of June and July every year. In Denmark, the island is well-known for its early potatoes. The first few pounds of potatoes usually fetch prices around £100, and are considered a great delicacy. Ballen’s beach and village are popular with visitors; it is served by the bus which runs around the island, including the ferry terminals. In clear weather, you can see the peninsula of Helgenæs to the north. Geographically, the island is divided into three areas:
• the North Island
• the Stavns Fjord
• the South Island
In 1997, Samsø won a government competition to become a model renewable energy community. At the time Samsø was entirely dependent on oil and coal, both of which it imported from the mainland.
An offshore wind farm comprising 10 turbines (making a total of 21 altogether including land-based windmills), was completed, funded by the islanders. The people of Samsø heat their homes with straw burned in a central heating system and they power some vehicles on biofuel which they also grow. Now 100% of its electricity comes from wind power and 75% of its heat comes from solar power and biomass energy. An Energy Academy has opened in Ballen, with a visitor education center.
On this island, Saxo Grammaticus relates that there was a legendary battle when the Swedish champion Hjalmar and his friend Orvar-Odd fought against the twelve sons of the Swedish berserker Arngrim. This battle was once famous, since it also figures in Faroese ballads, in Orvar-Odd’s saga and in Hervarar saga.
According to the Hervarar saga and the Waking of Angantyr, the mounds of the slain berserkers were haunted. This did not stop Arngrim’s granddaughter Hervor from approaching the mounds and demanding the enchanted sword Tyrfing from her father Angantyr.
“Samsey” (-ey being an earlier Norse form of -ø) is the island upon which Odin, under the name Jalk, learned Seid magic.