What and Where is Jutland?

This Popular Peninsula Is Filled with History

Cobblestone alley in the old town, Ribe, Jutland, Denmark, Scandinavia, Europe

  Stuart Black/robertharding/Getty Images 

Jutland, a low-lying peninsula in western Denmark, separates the North and Baltic seas and borders Germany to the south. Home to about 2.5 million Danes across its 11,500 square miles of land, Jutland's biggest cities are Aarhus, Aalborg, Esbjerg, Randers, Kolding, and Ribe. The peninsula is also called the Cimbrian or Cimbric peninsula.

Many of Jutland's outdoor activities are influenced by the peninsula's mostly flat, even topography.

Popular sports and outdoor adventures in Jutland are windsurfing and cycling because the low, even terrain is perfect for bicycles and the unstoppable gusty Danish winds that blow across the peninsula are great for windsurfers.

Jutland's Topography

As a low-lying country—the average altitude of Denmark is about 100 feet, and the highest point in the country, Yding Skovhoj in southeastern Jutland, is only 568 feet. The southern coast of the island of Lolland and a few other areas in Jutland are protected from flooding by dikes.

Jutland—like nearly all of Denmark—consists of a glacial deposit over a chalk base with a surface of small hills, moors, ridges, hilly islands, and raised sea bottoms across most of the country and downs and marshes on the west coast.

Home of Legos

Travelers to Jutland can also enjoy amusement parks like the original Legoland in Billund as well as museums, annual events, the pristine beaches along the coastline, and a number of other local pastimes and traditions.

Lego, the popular line of small plastic construction bricks for children, is a privately held company that was founded in a carpentry workshop in Billund in 1932. Also, Billund is where the region's main airport is located.

Major Cities

Aarhus is Jutland's unofficial capital and most populous city. It is on Jutland's east coast and after Copenhagen, it is the second-largest city in Denmark.

Each year, the European Union names two European host cities as a "European Capital of Culture." Aarhus was named to the list in 2017 for its vast offering of cultural events and establishments to visit.

Herning is a major traffic junction for Western Jutland. Aalborg is a cultural center and port town in northern Jutland. Or, you can spend the day in the oldest city in Denmark, Ribe, which is a great place to see a bit of history.

A History of Conquest

The Jutes—for whom Jutland was named—were one of the three most powerful Germanic peoples during the Nordic iron age in the sixth and fifth centuries B.C. From their home in Jutland, together with the Angles and Saxons, the Jutes migrated to Great Britain starting in about 450 A.D., sparking the long road to the creation of Great Britain and the start of modern western civilization.

The Saxons inhabited the southernmost part of the peninsula until Charlemagne violently subdued them in 804, after 30 years of fighting. The Danes—including Jutland—united in 965, and the Code of Jutland, a civil code enacted under Valdemar II of Denmark in 1241, created a uniform set of laws governing Jutland and other settlements in Denmark.

One other historical incident of note was the Battle of Jutland fought between the British Royal Navy and the Imperial German Navy from May 31 to June 1, 1916, at the height of World War I.

The battle ended in somewhat of a stalemate, with the British losing twice as many ships and men yet still managed to hold off the German fleet.