Ven (Danish: Hven, older Swedish spelling Hven) is a small Swedish island in the Øresund strait, between Scania and Zealand (Denmark). It is part of Landskrona Municipality, Skåne County. The island has 371 inhabitants and an area of 7.5 km2 (2.9 sq mi). During the 1930s, the population was at its peak, with approximately 1,300 inhabitants. There are four villages on the island: Bäckviken, Tuna By, Norreborg and Kyrkbacken.
Unlike the relatively flat islands Amager and Saltholm, Ven rises from the Øresund with steep and dramatic coastlines. This makes the island easily visible from both Zealand and Scania, as well as from all ships that sail in and out of the Baltic Sea. Its southern coastline resembles the White Cliffs of Dover, Møns Klint and Cape Arkona, but owing to a higher degree of sand and lower of chalk, the 50-metre-high (160-foot) cliffs are more yellow than white. Almost the entire island consists of a flat agricultural landscape, but elevated like a plateau. Owing to the slightly higher altitude, the climate on the island in general is similar to that of the lower terrain coastal areas around Øresund.
The island has three smaller fishing ports: Bäckviken (where small ferries depart to Landskrona), Norreborg and Kyrkbacken. The latter is located at the south-western coast just beneath the old church Sankt Ibb. This coast is known as Backafall.
The island was historically under Danish rule. Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe (1546–1601) built two observatories there, Uraniborg and Stjerneborg, during 1576–1596. The observatories were built by the inhabitants of the island with Tyco Brahe as their Lord. It is not known if his apprentice Johannes Kepler also spent time at the island.
The Swedish took over control in 1658, as the rest of Scania was ceded to Sweden by the Treaty of Roskilde. The island was not specifically mentioned in the treaty, and according to the Danes it was not part of Scania, but of Zealand and therefore still under Danish rule. The Swedes did not agree with that interpretation, and sent troops to occupy the island on 6 May 1658. The transfer to Sweden was confirmed in 1660 by the Treaty of Copenhagen. The 350th anniversary of this transfer was commemorated on the island in 2010.
Two churches are located on this island. The older one, St Ibb's Church, is located at the top of a hill in the churchyard close to the west coast of the island, overlooking the Danish town of Rungsted. It was built in the 13th century and is a popular church for weddings. The younger church, which has been converted into a museum, is located in the middle of the island, near Uraniborg, one of the two observatories built by the astronomer Tycho Brahe.
Ven has ferries to Landskrona, and, in the summer only, to Helsingborg and Copenhagen. The ferries dock at Bäckviken. The island is a popular tourist place, especially in summer. It is sometimes called "The pearl of Øresund". As the earth is rich in till, it is good for agriculture. Durum wheat and grapes are grown there.
Representation in culture
Backafall on Ven is named in Gabriel Jönsson's poem Vid vakten. He also wrote the song "Flicka från Backafall" ("Girl from Backafall").
Media related to Ven at Wikimedia Commons