Due to its geography and numerous islands, Denmark is a country where you can find some of the longest and most interesting bridges in Europe. Some of the notable crossings, like Øresund and Great Belt, combine bridges and tunnels, and are used for both road and rail traffic. Here is an overview of the longest and most interesting bridges in Denmark.
10 Longest Bridges in Denmark
- Øresund Bridge, 7.85 km, built in 2000: Peberholm – Sweden
- Great Belt (Storebælt) East Bridge, 6.79 km, 1998: Zealand – Sprogø
- Great Belt (Storebælt) West Bridge, 6.61 km, 1998: Sprogø – Funen
- Storstrøm Bridge, 3.20 km, 1937: Falster – Masnedø
- Farø South Bridge, 1.73 km, 1984: Farø – Falster
- Sallingsund Bridge, 1.72 km, 1978: Jutland – Mors
- Vejle Fjord Bridge, 1.71 km, 1980
- New Little Belt (Lillebælt) Bridge, 1.70 km, 1970: Jutland – Funen
- Farø North Bridge, 1.53 km, 1984: Zealand – Farø
- Svendborgsund Bridge, 1.22 km, 1966: Funen – Tåsinge
Note that some crossings, like Storebælt or Farø-Falster, include two bridges with a small island in between, and Øresund combines a bridge with a tunnel, therefore the total length of a crossing may be significantly greater than the length of an individual bridge listed above. Below you can find more details on some of the most interesting crossings.
Øresund is the strait that separates Denmark and Sweden. It is only 4 km wide at its narrowest point (between Helsingør and Helsingborg), but ferries still operate on that route. Instead, a combination of a bridge and a tunnel was built at a much wider, but more strategic place further south, linking Denmark’s capital Copenhagen with the third largest city in Sweden Malmö, creating a metropolitan area of 4 million people.
The bridge itself is 7.85 km long and very interesting. Firstly, it is slightly curved. Secondly, it has two levels: the upper level is a motorway, while the lower level is for trains. It is the longest combined road and rail bridge in Europe. It links the Swedish side with an artificial island named Peberholm, built solely for the purpose of the bridge. The island’s name was chosen to complement a nearby natural and uninhabited island Saltholm (the words mean Pepper and Salt island in Danish).
At Peberholm, both the motorway and the railway enter the 4.05 km long Drogden Tunnel, which is actually a combination of five tubes, two for the road in each direction, two for the railroad, and a fifth emergency tunnel. It ends on an artificial peninsula near Copenhagen Airport on the Zealand island in Denmark.
The highest point of the Øresund Bridge and the main cable-stayed span is 491 metres long and 57 metres above the sea (the pillar towers are 204 metres high), allowing large ships to pass under it, although most choose the much wider passage above the tunnel. The approaches from both sides are supported by pillars in 140 metre intervals. It is at the main span where the official border between Denmark and Sweden is, and in fact, the Danish section of the bridge is only 2.3 km. Total length of the Øresund crossing, including the tunnel, bridge, and Peberholm island, is 15.9 km.
The bridge, as well as Peberholm island, can be seen from numerous places in and near Copenhagen. See Best Places to View Øresund Bridge.
Great Belt Crossing
The Great Belt (Storebælt) is the strait between Danish islands Zealand and Funen. It is 18 km wide at its narrowest point between the towns Halsskov (Zealand side) and Nyborg (Funen side), where the Great Belt crossing was built. It is therefore 2 km longer than the Øresund crossing near Copenhagen and consists of four elements: the combined road and rail West Bridge (6.61 km), artificial island named Sporgø, the suspension East Bridge for road traffic (6.79 km), and the East Tunnel for rail traffic (8.02 km).
The most interesting part is the East Bridge, which is the third longest suspension bridge in the world (and the longest outside Asia) with a free span of 1,624 metres (the famous Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco has free span of only 1,280 metres). Sometimes the name Great Belt Bridge only refers to this bridge. The two middle towers are each 254 metres high above sea level, higher than the ones at Øresund Bridge and also much higher than Denmark’s highest mountain (Møllehøj, 171m). They are the tallest self supporting structures in Denmark, though not the tallest structures overall, as several guyed radio masts are higher (the Brylle transmitter near Tommerup is highest with 321m). Passage height under the suspension section is 65 metres, higher than Øresund Bridge. Besides the middle towers, there are 19 pillars at 193m intervals supporting the girder approaches (12 from Zealand, 7 from Sporgø).
The West Bridge is actually two girder bridges alongside one another: a motorway bridge in the south and a railway bridge in the north (unlike Øresund Bridge where the railway tracks are on a lower level below the motorway). Each has 62 pillars supporting 63 sections with lengths of 110 or 82 metres. Passage height is 18 metres.