Transport in Denmark

The Great Belt Fixed Link connecting the islands of Zealand and Funen across the Great Belt was opened in 1997

Transport in Denmark is developed and modern. The motorway network now covers 1,111 km[1] while the railway network totals 2,667 km of operational track.[2] The Great Belt Fixed Link (opened in 1997) connecting the islands of Zealand and Funen and the New Little Belt Bridge (opened in 1970) connecting Funen and Jutland have improved the traffic flow across the country on both motorways and rail. The airports of Copenhagen and Billund provide a variety of domestic and international connections while ferries provide services to the Faroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland, Germany, Sweden, Norway and the United Kingdom as well as routes to the Danish islands.


Aalborg airport in the north of Jutland

In 2011, a total of appr. 28 million passengers used Danish airports.[3]

Copenhagen Airport is the largest airport in Scandinavia, handling approximately 23m passengers per year (2011). It is located at Kastrup, 8 km south-east of central Copenhagen. It is connected by train to Copenhagen Central Station and beyond as well as to Malmö and other towns in Sweden.

For the west of the country, the major airport is Billund (2.7m passengers in 2011) although both Aalborg (1.4m passengers in 2011) and Aarhus (591.000 passengers in 2011) have smaller airports with regular connections to Copenhagen.

List of airports

Denmark's main airports are:

Other airports include:


Being an island state with a long coastline and always close to the sea, maritime transport has always been important in Denmark. From the primitive dugouts of the Stone Age to the complex designs of the Viking ships in the Viking Age, often built to exactly facilitate large scale cargo and passenger transportation. Denmark also engaged in the large scale cargo freights and slave transports of the European colonization endeavours in the Middle Ages and operated several smaller colonies of its own across the globe by the means of seafaring.

Today Denmark's ports handle some 48 million passengers and 109 million tonnes of cargo per year.[5]

Passenger traffic

Rødbyhavn ferry terminal on Lolland

Passenger traffic is made up partly of ferry crossings within Denmark, partly of international ferry crossings and partly of cruise ship passengers.

Among the most important ports for passenger traffic (thousands of passengers per year in 2007) are:

Map of Denmark major cities/ports: Aalborg (top), Esbjerg, Struer (left), Aarhus, Fredericia, Kalundborg, Odense (map center), Grenå (upper center), Køge (right center).

In 2007, 288 cruise ships visited Copenhagen.

Cargo traffic

Among the most important ports for cargo traffic (millions of tonnes per year in 2007) are:


Waterways has historically and traditionally been crucial to local transportation in Denmark proper. Especially the Gudenå river-system in central Jutland, has played an important role. The waterways was navigated by wooden barges and later on steamboats.[6] A few historical steamboats are still in operation, like the SS Hjejlen from 1861 at Silkeborg.

There is a 160 km natural canal through the shallow Limfjorden in northern Jutland, linking the North Sea to the Kattegat.

Many waterways has formerly been redirected and led through manmade canals in the 1900s, but mainly for agricultural purposes and not to facilitate transportation on any major scale. Several cities have manmade canals used for transportation and traffic purposes. Of special mention are the canals of Copenhagen and the Odense Canal, ferrying large numbers of both tourists and local citizens.[7]

Merchant marine

External image
Traffic and protected areas around Denmark
336 ships (with a volume of 1,000 gross register tons (GRT) or over) totaling 5,190,227 GRT/

6,815,128 tonnes deadweight (DWT)

Ships by type
Bulk carrier
Cargo ship
Chemical tanker
Container ship
Liquified gas
Livestock carrier
Petroleum tanker
Rail car carrier
Refrigerated cargo
Short-sea passenger
Specialized tanker
3 (1999 est.)



Copenhagen Central Station with S-Trains.

The largest railway operator in Denmark is Danske Statsbaner (DSB) Danish State Railways. Arriva operates some routes in Jutland, and several other smaller operators provide local services.

The total length of operational track is 2,667 km, 640 km electrified at 25 kV AC, 946 km double track (2008).[9] 508 km is privately owned and operated. Track is standard gauge.

The railway system is connected to Sweden by bridge in Copenhagen and ferry in Helsingør and Frederikshavn, by land to Germany in Padborg and ferry in Rødby and to Norway by ferry in Hirtshals.


Further information: Motorways in Denmark

The road network in 2008 totalled 73,197 km of paved road, including 1,111 km of motorway.[10] Motorways are toll-free except for the Great Belt Bridge joining Zealand and Funen and the Øresund Bridge linking Copenhagen to Malmö in Sweden.


Main article: Cycling in Denmark

Bicycling in Denmark is a common and popular utilitarian and recreational activity. Bicycling infrastructure is a dominant feature of both city and countryside infrastructure, with bicycle paths and bicycle ways in many places and an extensive network of bicycle routes, extending more than 12,000 kilometres (7,500 mi) nationwide.[11] In comparison, Denmark's coastline is 7,314 kilometres (4,545 mi). As a unique feature, Denmark has a VIN-system for bicycles which is mandatory by law. Often bicycling and bicycle-culture in Denmark is compared to the Netherlands as a bicycle-nation.


Figures for 2007:

Crude oil
110 km
Petroleum products
578 km
Natural gas
800 km

See also


  1. Road network by type of road and time (2008). Statistics Denmark. Retrieved 24 March 2009.
  2. Railway network 1 January by unit, railway system and time (2008). Statistics Denmark. Retrieved 24 March 2008.
  3. Departing passengers from major manned, public airports by airport, type of transport and flight. Statistics Denmark. Retrieved 25 March 2009.
  4. Countrywise Airport Codes
  5. Call of vessels, passengers and throughput of goods in traffic ports by seaport and unit. Statistics Denmark. Retrieved 26 March 2009.
  6. "The towpath along the Gudenåen River". 1001 stories of Denmark. The Heritage Agency of Denmark (Danish agency for Culture). Retrieved 4 October 2014.
  7. World Canals - Denmark. Retrieved 26 March 2009.
  8. Denmark has created its own internal register, called the Danish International Ship register (DIS); DIS ships do not have to meet Danish manning regulations, and they amount to a flag of convenience within the Danish register (1998 est.)
  9. Railway network 1 January by railway system and unit (2008). Statistics Denmark. Retrieved 24 March 2008.
  10. Road network 1 January by part of the country and type of road (2008). Statistics Denmark. Retrieved 24 March 2009.
  11. "Cykelruter og regioner" (in Danish). VisitDenmark. Retrieved 16 August 2011.

Further reading

  • Peter, Bruce (2013). Ferries of Denmark / Danske Færger (in English and Danish). Ramsey, Isle of Man: Ferry Publications. ISBN 9781906608514. 
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