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North is the part of the Sea Atlantic Ocean situated between the coasts of Norway and Denmark in the east, the coast of the British Isles in the west, and the German, Dutch, Belgian and French coasts in the south. A bay of the North Sea is Skagerrak, between Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, which connects to the Baltic Sea through Kattegat, Öresund, the Great Belt and the Small Belt. In the south, the North Sea connects with the rest of the Atlantic through the English Channel and in the north through the Norwegian Sea.
Major waterways that drain into the North Sea include the
Elbe (at Cuxhaven), the Weser (at Bremerhaven), the Ems at Emden, the Rhine and Meuse (at Rotterdam), the Scheldt (at Flushing), the Thames, and the Humber (at Hull).
There is a substantial amount of
oil and natural gas under the seabed: see North Sea oil.
In classical times this body of water was referred to as the
Oceanum- or Mare Germanicum, meaning German Ocean or Sea. This name was commonly used in English and other languages until the early eighteenth century, but by the late- nineteenth century it was a rare, scholarly usage even in Germany. Its modern name is thought to have originated from a Frisian point of view which lies directly to the south of the North Sea (also see Zuiderzee).
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