Øresund Bridge

Øresund Bridge: Your essential guide to the bridge between Denmark and Sweden

As you fly into Copenhagen Airport on a clear day, the sheer dominance of the Øresund Bridge is unmissable. The bridge connecting Sweden and Denmark is one of Scandinavia’s most iconic structures, and it’s crucial to the region’s local economy.

The Øresund Bridge symbolizes a lot. It showcases Malmö’s outward-looking mentality and highlights the Scandinavian countries’ close ties these days.

If you’re coming to live in Denmark or Sweden, you might fancy a day trip from one country to the other. Alternatively, you may choose to live in one and work in another. Let’s dive deeper and discover everything we need to know about the Øresund Bridge.

The history of the Øresund Bridge

Before the Malmö to Copenhagen bridge construction in 2000, traveling from Copenhagen to the south of Sweden was more complicated. Once Denmark and Sweden had settled their differences and stopped going to war, travel by boat was standard from Sjælland to Skåne.

After World War II, the Nordic countries’ ties grew closer. The Nordic Passport Union led to countries opening their borders and allowing citizens to live and travel freely; this was a couple of years before the birth of the European Union.

In 1953, the Nordic Council had its first meeting — which took place in the Danish capital. At this, the idea of a potential Øresund Bridge between Denmark and Sweden was discussed. One year later, Denmark and Sweden began exploring the possibility of connecting the two countries.

Over the years that followed, several suggestions for the bridge were put forward. But it was far from plain sailing, and not everyone was on board with the idea. One concern was the environmental impact; besides building into a natural underwater habitat, the increased traffic meant a potential rise in air and noise pollution.

Eventually, a final concept was approved, and construction began. The Øresund was a joint project between Denmark and Sweden, and the two parties moved forward with building the final product in 1995.

Five years later, the 16km architectural marvel that you see today opened. In total, the project cost the equivalent of $4.3 billion.

Today, thousands of people cross the Øresund Bridge each day. Besides getting people from Denmark to Skåne, you can also get direct trains from Copenhagen all the way to Stockholm. Meanwhile, buses go as far north as Oslo after crossing the bridge.

Øresund Bridge

How to get from Copenhagen to Malmö via the bridge

The bridge between Malmö and Copenhagen makes it easy to travel between both cities. Direct trains run every 20 minutes between Denmark and Sweden every 20 minutes during the day; you can also hop on the train from Copenhagen Airport if you’d like to visit Sweden before heading into the Danish capital.

The train costs 99 Danish Kroner for a single ticket. You can buy a return, while a single on each end is also feasible. Doing the latter could slightly reduce your costs if the exchange rate is favorable when you travel, but you’ll need to do your own research to determine that.

Alternatively, you can take your car and drive between Denmark and Sweden. However, keep in mind that this is significantly more expensive than taking the train. The price you pay will depend on your car size; if it’s six meters high or lower, a single ticket costs 360 DKK. For vehicles taller than this, the price increases to 395 DKK.

You can get the bus from Copenhagen to Malmö, but the journey will take longer.

The Øresund region is mainly flat and a cyclist’s dream. But if you were hoping to hop on two wheels across the bridge connecting Sweden and Denmark, we’ve got some bad news. Cycling from one side to the other is strictly forbidden, though you can take your bike on the train.

Do you need your passport to cross the Øresund Bridge?

In addition to being Nordic Council members, both Denmark and Sweden are members of the EU and Schengen Area. You wouldn’t need to show your passport when traveling between the two countries in normal circumstances.

However, things have changed a little in recent years. Since 2015, land border checks have been reintroduced. Sometimes, officers will come around and ask to see ID. If you’re a non-Nordic citizen, you must show your passport in such cases; people from the Nordics can often show their driving license, but having your passport handy is helpful just in case.

The border checks between Denmark and Sweden are spontaneous, but it’s worth factoring in the potential delays to your journey.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it also became more challenging to travel across the Øresund Bridge. Travel restrictions meant that cross-border workers had to get weekly tests, while quarantine was also necessary for regular travelers on occasions.

We can’t say how this will change in the future, but you might need to show vaccine certification in addition to your personal ID.

How long does it take to travel from Copenhagen to Malmö?

On the train, the journey between Copenhagen and Malmö usually doesn’t take too long. Without checks, you can get from Copenhagen Central Station to Sweden’s third-largest city in around 40 minutes.

When traveling to Malmö, several trains will stop at Copenhagen Airport before crossing the bridge. There, you’ll briefly wait for passengers at Hyllie and Triangeln — both of which are on the outskirts of Malmö’s city center.

If border checks do take place, you’ll probably need to add an extra 10 or 15 minutes to your journey.

Is it possible to live in Malmö and work in Copenhagen?

Living in Malmö is less expensive than Copenhagen, so it’s understandable that you might be thinking about living there and commuting to the Danish capital.

If you’re a member of another Nordic or EU country—or Switzerland—you can live in either Sweden or Denmark without needing a visa. You will, however, need to register as a resident if you’re a non-Nordic citizen.

If you’re from outside the EU, things are more complicated. Regardless of the country you live in, you’ll need to acquire a work permit beforehand. Getting a job is also tricky without having a good knowledge of Danish or Swedish.

You have to meet specific criteria, such as having skills in a field where labor shortages exist. You might need to meet “high salary” requirements to live in Sweden and work in Denmark; in 2021, this was at least 445,000 DKK (roughly $67,500) annually.

UK citizens reading this might be a little confused because it will depend on when they moved to Denmark or Sweden. If you lived in either country before Brexit, you’d have applied for a new residence card in 2021 to keep your cross-border worker rights.

If you’re a UK citizen moving from January 1st, 2021 onwards, you’re a third-country citizen and need to go down the visa route.

In terms of tax, you’ll typically pay the Danish rate if you work in Denmark and Sweden’s if vice-versa. It’s also worth remembering that monthly transport passes between Copenhagen and Malmö are pretty expensive, so you’ll need to weigh up whether it’s worth the hassle.

The Øresund Bridge in popular culture

Denmark has always had close ties to the south of Sweden. Many people on either side of the border have Danish and Swedish parents, and Danes can understand the very distinct “Skånsk” dialect.

The bridge from Sweden to Denmark has featured in popular culture several times in recent years. The best-known is “The Bridge” TV series, which ran for four seasons between 2011 and 2018.

The Bridge’s two main characters are a Danish and Swedish detective, who speak to each other in their respective mother tongues. A series of murders between the two countries prompts Copenhagen and Malmö’s police forces to work together; we won’t reveal any spoilers, but the series is an absolute must-watch.

Interestingly, the Øresund Bridge was also the inspiration for “Walk Me to the Bridge” — a song released by the Welsh band The Manic Street Preachers.

In 2021, the Øresund Bridge was also an important connector for the WorldPride event in both Copenhagen and Malmö.

The Denmark to Sweden bridge that connects Scandinavia

The Øresund Bridge is an engineering marvel and crucial to the economies of both Denmark and Southern Sweden. Commuters travel between the two countries each day to earn their way, and Swedes and Danes also hop between Copenhagen and Malmö every weekend.

Consumer goods are often cheaper in Sweden, while alcohol costs less in Denmark.

Thanks to the Bridge between Copenhagen and Malmö, traveling between Denmark and the rest of Scandinavia has become much easier. In theory, you could go all the way to the Swedish Arctic by train — though you’d need to change somewhere along the way.

Speaking of Denmark and Sweden, both countries offer an excellent quality of life. They have cultural differences, though, and one might fit you better than the other. Why not read our guide to choosing between Denmark and Sweden and decide for yourself?

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