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island (area 121 square miles [312 square km]), in the Little Belt (strait), Sonderjylland amtskommune (county commune), Denmark. It is separated from the Sundeved peninsula of southern Jutland by the narrow Als Sound. Fertile clay loams support mixed agriculture, fruit growing, and dairy farming on the island. The earliest known specimen of a northern European boat (c. 300 BC) was discovered there in 1921. Als passed with North Schleswig to Germany in 1864 and was returned to Denmark by plebiscite in 1920. Sonderborg is the principal city, dating from the 12th century; other towns are Nordborg and Augustenborg. Nordborg is the site of one of Denmark's premier industrial companies, Danfoss, which produces heating and refrigerating plants. Pop. (1987 est.) 55,781.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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