Denmark Road Network

By | November 28, 2022

The current and under construction highway network of Denmark.

According to wholevehicles, Denmark has a dense and well-developed road network, with motorways (motorvejer) to almost all regions of the country, a dense underlying road network and mostly fairly well-developed urban road networks. The Danish highway network is used quite intensively, but really high traffic intensities are not achieved anywhere. The underlying road network is used relatively lightly in most places, many roads of through importance have been designed as motorways, only on Jylland (Jutland) there are still a number of main roads between regional towns where no motorway runs parallel to it.

The state road network (statsvejnettet) consists of 3,797 kilometers of road and consists of the motorways and primary roads (primærruter). The secondary road network (sekundærruter) consists of three-digit road numbers and forms the secondary connections, connecting villages with the main roads and highways and villages among themselves. They usually have a limited importance for through traffic. The secondary roads are managed by the municipalities (kommunevej), but are numbered in a national system.

The secondary road network is well developed and quiet, except on tourist routes. In Danish cities there are many cycle paths, especially in København, but in rural areas cyclists often have to make do with a narrow strip of 30 – 50 centimeters next to the side markings of the main road. There are few separate bicycle paths. Nevertheless, Denmark does have the image of a great cycling country. Since 2000, however, the number of kilometers traveled by bicycle has only grown slowly.

There are many bridges in Denmark, especially the big well-known ones on the E20, but also smaller bridges on other roads. The motorway network is reasonably well used, but outside København traffic jams are an exception. The delays in and around København are also not too bad. Most highways have 2×2 lanes, but there are 2×3 parts and a limited but growing share of the Danish highway network with 2×4 lanes. Between Køge and København there are even 2×5 lanes on the double numbering of the E20, E47 and E55. The Danish road network is toll-free, with the exception of the Great Belt Bridge between Fyn and Sjælland and the Øresund Bridge between Denmark andSweden, both located in the E20. The toll is very high by Dutch standards. In terms of travel time and costs, the route from Hamburg to Sweden via the toll bridges or the ferries is just as fast and the costs mainly depend on the ticket prices of the ferry service. Usually the route via the bridges is cheaper, especially in high season and especially for last-minute trips.

Highway network

A merger in Denmark.

There are a number of main axes as highway with the E20 as an east-west connection, the E45 as a north-south connection in Jylland and the E47 and E55 as a north-south connection over Lolland, Falster and Sjælland along København. This is the Danish “H”. In the north of Jylland, the E39 and E45 together make the Jylland “Y”. In addition, there are a number of regional highways, especially around København, but also the Primærrute 9 on Fyn from Odense to Svendborg and some short highways in central Jylland around Herning and Aarhus.

Traffic on the Danish highways has increased sharply in recent years, more than in many other European countries. Between 2000 and 2014, the number of kilometers traveled on the Danish highways increased by 56%. Between 2003 and 2014, the number of kilometers traveled increased from 11.2 to 15.7 billion. Congestion in Denmark has remained limited after 2010 thanks to some widening projects, although some corridors are fairly busy, especially the E20 over Fyn (Funen) and the E45 over the middle of Jylland (Jutland).


The primærruter form the main road network of Denmark and open up most of the larger towns. In places where there are no motorways, they form through roads. Primærruter can, however, also have the status of motorvej, several primærruter have been implemented as motorways over a greater distance, such as the primrrute 8 between Kliplev and Sønderborg, the primrrute 9 between Odense and Svendborg, the primrrute 15 between Herning and Aarhus, the primærrute 18 between Vejle and Holstebro and the primærrute 21 from København to Holbæk.

Most non-motorway primærruters have two lanes and are generally at one level. Circular roads are not always present, traffic often has to pass through the villages. Some primærruter have the status of motortrafikvej where 90 or 100 km/h can be driven. Very occasionally these are executed with 2+1 lanes, but 2+1 lanes is much rarer in Denmark than in Sweden. Primærruter’s network is relatively dense, so that almost all places of any size are served by such a road.

Primæruter in Denmark
6 • 8 • 9 • 11 • 12 • 13 • 14 • 15 • 16 • 17 • 18 • 19 • 21 • 22 • 23 • 24 • 25 • 26 • 28 • 29 • 30 • 32 • 34 • 35 • 38 • 40 • 41 • 42• 43 • 44 • 46 • 47 • 52 • 53 • 54 • 55 • 57 • 59


The secondary roads in Denmark have a three digit number. Most are of maximum regional importance, but two sekundærruter have also been run as motorvej. Many ex-main roads have been relegated to sekundærruter parallel to highways. The sekundærruter are in the management of the municipalities.


Denmark has quite a large number of nodes. Most nodes have three branches; incidentally there are four. The trumpet shape and the half- star are the most common, as are splices. Clover leaves are relatively rare. There are no full-fledged star nodes or turbines.

Junctions in Denmark
Aarhus-Nord • Aarhus-Syd • Aarhus-Vest • Avedøre • Ballerup • Brøndby • Fredericia • Gladsaxe • Herning • Herning-Syd • Holbæk • Ishøj • Kliplev • Køge-Vest • Kolding • Kolding -Vest • Kongens • Røby • • Skærup • Taastrup • Vallensbæk • Vejle •vendsyssel


First step

Like other countries in Europe, ideas for a motorway network began to emerge in Denmark from the 1930s onwards. This was mainly intended to facilitate long-distance traffic. At the time, there was hardly any question of large-scale commuting to work by car. In 1936, a plan was presented by Danish and Swedish engineering companies to build a nationwide “h” highway network. This corresponds well with the current highway network, with the exception of the route to Helsingør. However, the Second World War threw a spanner in the works. Although Denmark was the least affected of all European countries by the German occupation and the violence of war, no highways were built. However, plans were made to build a rail link across the Fehmarnbelt with German help. This also required the construction of a highway from Rødbyhavn to Sakskøbing on Lolland. Construction of this highway began on September 14, 1941. By the end of World War II, the earthworks were more or less complete.

First highways

In 1942 a plan was drawn up for a highway from København to Helsingør. Construction started in 1946 but did not really get off the ground until 1954. The original “h” plan was also adapted to an “H” with the branch to Helsingør. This road was opened on January 23, 1956 as Denmark’s first motorway. The crossing of the Great Belt (Danish: Store Bælt) was initially via train ferries. A car ferry service was opened in 1957, opening two stretches of highway from the current E20 on both Fyn and Sjælland.

Several shorter highways were opened in the early 1960s, especially around the capital København. Car ownership and use increased rapidly and highways were needed to keep this going. In 1963, 29 kilometers of the current E47 between Rødbyhavn and Sakskøbing opened. This was the first longer stretch of motorway outside the capital København. During the 1960s, the København bypass took shape, as did the highway between Køge and København. Outside of Sjælland, however, hardly any highways were opened.


In 1970, the Limfjordstunnel near Aalborg was opened, Denmark’s first road tunnel.

In 1970, the Little Belt Bridge (Danish: Lillebæltsbro) was opened at Fredericia. At the same time, a large part of the E20 was opened around Kolding; this was the first longer highway outside the island of Sjælland. The Limfjord tunnel was also opened at Aalborg that year. In the first half of the 1970s, the København bypass was completed and sections of the E45 between Aarhus and Aalborg were opened. In 1974 the first section of the E45 opened south of Kolding, marking the start of the first cross-border highway, to Germany. This highway was completed in 1978 on the German border. Also, during the 1970s, most of the E20open on Fyn and Sjælland. In 1980 the Vejlefjordbro opened over the Vejlefjord to traffic, removing an important barrier to north-south traffic through Jylland.


From 1982 Denmark fell into a deep crisis, with the result that highway construction almost came to a standstill. Doubts arose as to whether the planned “H” would ever be completed. Nevertheless, there were some significant achievements, such as the last sections of the E45 between Flensburg and Kolding. In addition, a large part of the E47 was opened between Køge and Maribo, including the Farø bridges from Sjælland to Falster via the islet of Farø. The E20 on the south side of København was also completed.

The stagnation in road construction continued until the mid-1990s, although more sections were slowly opened up. In 1993 the last link of the E20 opened at Sjælland, Falster and Lolland and in 1994 the Aarhus bypass opened. The last sections of the E45 between Aarhus and Aalborg were also opened in the early 1990s. In 1998 the Great Belt Bridge (Danish: Storebæltsbro) opened. This was the largest public project ever in Denmark. The 18 kilometer long sea link finally connected the two parts of Denmark.


The Motorring 3 was widened in 2011 around København.

The E20 widened in 2014 at Middelfart on Fyn.

From the late 1990s, highway construction revived, especially in the more sparsely populated areas that threatened to become isolated from the rest of Denmark. Between 2000 and 2004 the E39 was opened between Aalborg and Hirtshals. At the same time, the E45 was built from Aalborg to Frederikshavn. These projects form the so-called Noord-Jyllandse “Y”. In the early 2000s, a start was also made on a motorway network in central Jylland, which mainly converges around the city of Herning. This mainly concerns the Primærrute 15 and 18. Also, during the first decade of the 2000s, the Primærrute 9 from Odense to Svendborg was opened to traffic. In 2000 the. openedOresund Bridge between Denmark and Sweden. Since then it has been possible to travel uninterrupted on highways to Sweden. In 2016, one of the most controversial stretches of highway, the primærrute 15, opened around Silkeborg.


Current highway construction mainly focuses on regional development in central Jylland. The 18 is completed from Herning to Holstebro. Considerations are also being made between widening the E45 between Kolding and Aarhus and the construction of a new north-south highway from Kolding to Randers, which should form a wider bypass of Aarhus. There are also ideas for a western bypass of Aalborg, which should reduce dependence on the Limfjord tunnel.

In the København region, investments have been made again in the road network since the 2000s, in particular by widening the existing highway network. The intensities in the capital region are quite stable due to the limited population growth, making road widening a good long-term solution. Meanwhile, the E20 from Køge to København has been widened to 2×4 and 2×5 lanes and the bypass from København, the E47 and E55, to 2×3 lanes. The Primærrute 21 between København and Roskilde has also been widened to 2×3 and 2×4 lanes. Another project is the Frederikssundmotorvej, a new highway from København to the northwest, together with the construction of the Motorring 5, which has to run outside all suburbs. A toll bridge is also planned at Frederikssund over the Roskildefjord, over which a new motor trafikvej with 2×2 lanes will run.

A major infrastructure project is primarily the Fehmarnbelt tunnel on the E47, which is to connect Germany with Denmark. This tunnel should start construction in 2020 and be completed in 2028. This significantly shortens the road distance to København and reduces dependence on the ferry services. In addition, there are visions for a bridge from Sjælland to Jylland between Sjællands Odde and Ebeltoft, a distance of 38 kilometers. Such a bridge should significantly shorten the journey from København to Aarhus and in particular Aalborg. Also a second bridge to Sweden, between Helsingør and Helsingborg, has not completely disappeared from the plans, but it is unlikely that they will be built in the near future.

Major river crossings

Major river crossings in Denmark
Farø Bridges • Fehmarn Belt Tunnel • Great Belt Bridge • Guldborgsund Tunnel • Helsingør Bridge • Kattegat Bridge • Little Belt Bridge • Kronprinsesse Marys Bro • Limfjord Tunnel • Øresund Bridge • Old Little Belt Bridge • Rostock-Gedser Bridge • Storstrøm Bridge • Second Little Belt Bridge

2+1 roads

In contrast to neighboring countries Germany and Sweden, 2+1 roads have not been built on a large scale in Denmark, ie roads with overtaking lanes. In situations with intensities of approximately 15,000 vehicles per day, the choice is more often made for the construction of a fully-fledged motor vehicle. 2+1 roads are sporadically used as bypasses, there are hardly any longer routes with 2+1 lanes. These often have the status of motortrafikvej, where originally 90 km/h could be driven. In 2016, a speed limit of 100 km/h was introduced for the first time on the primærrute 21 between Holbæk and Vig, which was also the only longer 2+1 lane route in Denmark at the time.

Weigh 2-1

Denmark has been experimenting with the ‘2 minus 1’ concept, written as 2÷1 or 2-1, since the 2000s. The road type is used there in small villages, in school zones and in the countryside. In contrast to the access road in the Netherlands, there is no integral network of such roads, but customization is used, they vary in length from 150 meters to approximately 2 kilometers. The maximum speed varies from 40 to 60 km/h. The first of these roads were used in 2003 and the concept was evaluated in 2012. At that time it was not yet widely implemented, but from 2016 it has been used more often and a media campaign has been started by Vejdirektoratet.

Road management

In Denmark, there are three types of road authorities, the state (via Vejdirektoratet), the municipalities (kommunevejer) and private companies, in this case Øresundsbro Konsortiet and Sund&Bælt, for the Øresund Bridge / Drogden Tunnel and the Great Belt Bridge respectively.


Status: 01-01-2016

Length of the road network

Road type km
Public roads 74,497 km
state roads 3,801 km
Private roads 41 km
European roads 945 km
Primærruter 3,252 km
Sekundærruter 5,904 km

Breakdown of state roads by road type

Road type km
Motorvej 1,229 km
Motor traffic 320 km
Other state roads 2,293 km

Distribution of municipal roads by road type

Road type km
Motorvej 8 km
Motor traffic 57 km
Other municipal roads 70,589 km

Maximum speed

In Denmark 50 km/h applies in built-up areas, 80 km/h outside of it and 130 km/h on motorways. You can drive at 90 km/h, sometimes 100 km/h on a motor vehicle. For trucks, 70 km/h applies outside built-up areas and 80 km/h on the motorway. Heavy motorhomes (3.5 – 7.5 tons) are allowed to use 100 km/h on motorways since 15 March 2018. There is also a desire to increase the maximum speed limit for lorries on roads outside built-up areas from 70 to 80 km/h.

In April 2004, the general speed limit on motorways was increased from 110 to 130 km/h. The number of road deaths subsequently decreased by 25%. There are no speed checks in Denmark, and speed checks are not very frequent either, until 2018 there were no fixed speed cameras in Denmark. Since 1 July 2016, a maximum speed of 100 km/h applies to cars with a trailer on motorways. In 2017, plans were presented to increase the speed limit on motorways from 110 to 120 km/h. When the general speed limit was increased from 110 to 130 km/h in 2004, relatively long routes around agglomerations were limited to 110 km/h. It is the wish to partly increase the maximum speed on these routes.

The Danish government has been conducting tests since 2011 to allow 90 km/h outside built-up areas. A maximum speed of 90 km/h was tested on 18 routes between 2011 and 2016. In February 2014, these tests showed that road safety improves with the higher maximum speed because there was less overtaking and less excessive speeding. The V85 even dropped by 1 km/h. The driven speeds are more uniform. In 2015, a large parliamentary majority was created to increase the speed limit outside built-up areas to 90 km/h. In January 2018, an increase from 110 to 120 km/h was approved on some motorways, On October 26, 2018, a speed limit of 120 km/h was introduced for the first time on the E45 near Vejle.

For a long time there were no fixed speed cameras in Denmark. In 2018, it was decided to install fixed speed cameras along dangerous routes.


Junction Aarhus-Vest.

The signage on highways consists of green signs with white letters. The number of portal signs is usually limited to major exits and junctions. Outside of this, stacking boards are usually used. exit signsare in blue, with white letters. The exit number consists of a white stretched hexagon with the number in red digits. At each exit, the distance to the next exit is indicated, along with the distance to the next major city. In many cases, only one ongoing goal is indicated, until that goal is reached, after which the next goal is added. Wind directions are abbreviated to one letter. Syd (South) then becomes S, for example “Horsens S”. At exit signs, the main target is indicated in larger letters than the less important targets.

Exits are announced 1,000 meters in advance with the name of the exit. Several targets and the road numbers follow on the 500 meter sign and this is repeated at the exit itself. Only E numbers are used on the signage for the highways, with the exception of highways that do not have an E number. In that case, the road number is shown with black numbers in a yellow frame. Some deviating characters are used that we do not know in the Netherlands, such as æ and ø. Exits do not have a long exit lane as in the Netherlands, but merge in one movement with a long exit itself. Driveways have this too, accompanied by a white sign with an inverted red “Y”, which means that both merging and already on the main carriageway do not have right of way, but this has to be resolved mutually.

On the secondary road network, motorways have blue signs, but most roads have white signs with red letters, which is quite unique in Europe. Distances for the opposite direction are often indicated on the back of signs. There are relatively few portal signs on the underlying road network. Some motorways are partially grade separated.

Road numbering

There is no separate numbering system for motorways (motorvejer). Major highways have an E number (Europavej), but an increasing number of highways have a primary route number (primærrute). Some short highways around Aarhus, Herning and København have the number of a secondary route (sekundærrute).

E numbers are indicated in a green box with a white border and white letters. Primærruter, the 1 and 2 digit numbers, are indicated in a yellow box with a thin black border and black numbers. Sekundærruter, the 3-digit road numbers, are indicated in a white box with a thin black border and black numbers. The primær and sekundærrutes do not have a signposted prefix. The written language sometimes uses ‘PR’ and ‘SR’, or simply ‘rute x’. Major roads run all over the country; the 3-digit sekundærruter are slightly zoned.

Administrative numbering

In addition to this route numbering on the signage, all through roads also have an administrative road number. This numbering system hardly ever corresponds to the road numbers on the signposts. However, the numbers are used on the hectometre plates that can be found on the reflector posts along the road. Motorways have the prefix M of ‘motorvej’ in the administrative numbering system, other roads have the prefix V of ‘vej’.

Car taxes

Taxes (Danish: Skat) on the possession and use of a passenger car are levied in various ways. There is a registration tax when a vehicle is registered in Denmark, a road tax in proportion to fuel consumption and an excise tax on fuel. In addition, there is a general VAT. This is 25% in Denmark.

Registration Tax

When registering a vehicle in Denmark, a registration tax (Danish: Registration Issue) has to be paid. This is comparable to the BPM in the Netherlands. This system is complex and consists of a series of additions and deductions. The Registration Issue therefore differs per vehicle type. First, the VAT must be added to the catalog value. After that, a registration tax of 180% will be levied. After that, there are deductions again. In general, the value of the vehicle including VAT is more than doubled. A passenger car of 100,000 DKK (including VAT) will eventually cost DKK 220,000. The Danish registration tax is the highest in Europe and after Singaporethe highest in the world. In Denmark, tax is levied on tax, as the registration tax is on the total amount of the vehicle, so registration tax is levied on the 25% VAT.

The high tax burden on the purchase of a car has led to a high average age of the fleet, which was 9.3 years in 2012 despite the high average income in Denmark. In Germany it was then 8.5 years. and in the Netherlands 8.6 years. Car ownership was also relatively low compared to neighboring countries, but car ownership has increased significantly since 2010, with a 22% increase in passenger cars in Denmark between 2010 and 2018.

Road tax

The road tax is paid for vehicles with a registration date after 1997 according to the fuel consumption. Before that, the road tax was paid according to the weight of a vehicle. This is called an Ejerafgift (property tax). A distinction is made between petrol and diesel vehicles. A rate per six months applies per fuel consumption class.. For example, a owner of a petrol car that drives 1 in 12 pays approximately DKK 2,000 per six months. This equates to approximately €540 per year. A diesel car owner who drives 1 in 18 pays approximately DKK 1,930 per six months. This equates to approximately € 520 per year. Vehicles without a particulate filter have been paying an additional DKK 1,000 per year (€135) since 2010.

Fuel tax

In Denmark, 4 types of tax are paid on fuel, namely energy release (excise duty), CO2 release (CO2 tax), NoX release (NOx tax) and VAT (25%). About 55% of the fuel price consists of taxes.

The energy release in 2019 was 434 øre per liter of unleaded petrol, 275 øre per liter of diesel and 187 øre per liter of LPG. The other excise duties are small taxes.


In Denmark, the roads are toll-free, with the exception of the Great Belt Bridge from Fyn to Sjælland and the Øresund Bridge to Sweden. The tolls for this are very high, but are also deductible items for Danish citizens.

Comparison with the Netherlands

Compared to the Netherlands, purchasing a vehicle in Denmark is considerably more expensive, but it is less expensive to use. Road tax is generally halved per year, especially for diesel vehicles. The fuel excise tax in Denmark is also somewhat lower. This saves about € 0.16 per liter of petrol. The difference with diesel is smaller. It should also be taken into account that the taxes in Denmark are generally among the highest in the world, but the income is also adapted to this. The average monthly wage in Denmark in 2017 was DKK 37,250, or approximately €5,000.

Modal split

Type Travelerkm Part
Car 61.8 billion 78.9%
Public transport 13.5 billion 17.2%
Bicycle 3.1 billion 3.9%

Road safety

Year Road fatalities
2010 255
2011 220
2012 167
2013 191
2014 183
2015 178
2016 211
2017 183
2018 171
2019 199

In 2010, there were 48 road deaths per 1 million inhabitants in Denmark, a decrease of 39% compared to 2001. This makes the country one of the safer countries in the European Union. In 2015, there were 31 road deaths per 1 million inhabitants, making Denmark one of the top 5 safest countries in the European Union.

Road safety is an important spearhead of mobility policy in Denmark. There is extensive infrastructure for cyclists in cities. The strongest growth in traffic is also on the motorways, which are by far the safest road type. A fatal traffic accident in Denmark often features in the national media.

Denmark Road Network