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Middelfart

Trip Planner Europe  /  Denmark  /  Funen and Islands  /  Middelfart
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Middelfart is a town in central Denmark, with a population of 14,815 (1 January 2014). The town is the municipal seat of Middelfart Municipality on the island of Funen.EtymologyThe name Middelfart, first recorded as "Mæthælfar" in Valdemar's Census Book in 1231, consists of the old Danish word mæthal meaning "middle" and far meaning "way". It therefore probably originated as designating the narrow passage between Funen and Jutland, only later being applied to the settlement.HistoryIt is not known when the town was established but it certainly owes its existence to its location at the narrowest point across the Little Belt. The town was granted its first privileges at the end of the 13th century at a time when fishing played an important role in addition to its ferry link to Snoghøj in Jutland. From the Middle Ages, the town appears to have specialized in catching harbour porpoises. In the 16th century, cattle export was also significant.After the Swedish Wars in the 17th century, the town suffered from losing its foreign export privileges as well as competition from Fredericia on the other side of the belt which not only had a ferry link to Strib but levied customs duties on traffic through the Little Belt. In the 18th century, income from porpoise catches diminished but in the 19th century, with the establishment of its own harbour in 1836, conditions improved thanks in particular to the growing trade in agricultural products from the surrounding areas. From the mid-19th century, small industries started to develop, especially the iron foundry. The rail link between Middelfart and Nyborg opened in 1865 bringing added prosperity despite the fact that it connected with the ferry from Strib rather than the one from Middelfart.
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