Elleore, an Independent Kingdom for One Week per Year

Independent from Denmark for a week every year, the kingdom of Elleore has acquired a fair number of quirks since its founding in 1944.

Out of a total of 443 Danish islands, only 76 are permanently inhabited. Elleore occupies a special place among them: it is uninhabited for most of the year, and it secedes from Denmark for the few days of the year that it is.

Until 1944 Elleore, a small (15,000 m2) island in Roskilde Fjord (1) shaped like a pregnant boomerang, was known to contemporary Danes only as the setting for one of Denmark’s early movies: Løvejagten på Elleore (‘Lion Hunt on Elleore’, 1907).

Lions are far from indigenous to any part of Denmark, but placing them on Elleore was prescient, the lion being a standard of regalia. For in 1944, right under the noses of the German occupiers, a group of Copenhagen schoolteachers acquired Elleore for use as a summer retreat, and proclaimed its independence.

A daring parody in wartime, the tongue-in-cheek Kingdom of Elleore survives to this day, having acquired a number of extra quirks along the way, including a ban on the novel Robinson Crusoe, the artificial Interlingua as an official language, and something called Elleore Standard Time, 12 minutes ahead of the clocks in Copenhagen.

Like the sleeping beauty of the fairytale, Elleore remains dormant for most of the year, only waking for Elleuge (‘Elle-week’), when its ‘citizens’ travel to the island (2) to crown the reigning monarch (currently Leo, the third of that name and the sixth since Erik, who reigned from 1945 to 1949).

The royal website for Elleore - which describes the kingdom as ‘the fourth-largest monarchy in the Nordic region’ - announced a special treat for its citizens, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Løvejagten: the first ever movie made by the national film company, a 11 minute documentary (fiction or fact, your choice), entitled Kongen & Dronningen vender hjem (‘The King and Queen return home’).

This map, also taken from the Kingdom’s official website, details the island and surrounding waters with terms that appear humourous (e.g. Cape Carneval, the island’s eastern tip) but might prove elusive to non-Danish-speakers.


Strange Maps #305

Got a strange map? Let me know at strangemaps@gmail.com.


(1) the firth of Roskilde

(2) the trip from the mainland takes 17 minutes by rowboat

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

Is this why time speeds up as we age?

We take fewer mental pictures per second.

(MPH Photos/giphy/yShutterstock/Big Think)
Mind & Brain
  • Recent memories run in our brains like sped-up old movies.
  • In childhood, we capture images in our memory much more quickly.
  • The complexities of grownup neural pathways are no match for the direct routes of young brains.
Keep reading Show less

Trauma in childhood leads to empathy in adulthood

It's not just a case of "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

Mind & Brain

  • A new study suggests children who endure trauma grow up to be adults with more empathy than others.
  • The effect is not universal, however. Only one kind of empathy was greatly effected.
  • The study may lead to further investigations into how people cope with trauma and lead to new ways to help victims bounce back.
Keep reading Show less

Why are so many objects in space shaped like discs?

It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?

  • Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
  • Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
  • Gravity brings matter together; the closer the matter gets, the more it accelerates – much like an ice skater who spins faster and faster the closer their arms get to their body. Then, this spinning cloud collapses due to up and down and diagonal collisions that cancel each other out until the only motion they have in common is the spin – and voila: A flat disc.