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How to navigate Danish holiday traffic over the Christmas break

The Christmas holidays are approaching, bringing with them one of the most traffic-heavy weekends of the year. Here's what you need to know if you're driving this weekend.

How to navigate Danish holiday traffic over the Christmas break
Photo: Claus Fisker/Ritzau Scanpix

The heaviest Christmas traffic will be spread over a number of days, but a few spots are best avoided if you want to be sure of punctual arrival.

According to the Danish Road Directorate (Vejdirektoratet), Christmas Eve falling on a Tuesday is advantageous for those travelling across the country, since many will choose to make journeys at some point during the current weekend.

“Most people are probably more or less on holiday now,” Vejdirektoratet’s traffic centre duty officer Mette Nedergaard told Politiken on Friday.

The agency is not expecting major delays on roads in the coming days up to Christmas Eve on Tuesday next week.

Although some congestion was expected on Friday afternoon, the only other busy period is likely to be the morning of Monday, December 23rd, according to the agency.

The E20 motorway traversing Funen and Zealand, the E45 motorway section between Kolding and Aarhus, and Route 21 to and from the ferry terminal at Sjællands Odde in northwestern Zealand could see busy traffic and some delays at that time, Vejdirektoratet writes on its website.

Additionally, delays and queues are forecast on the morning of Saturday, December 26th, as people return home after their Christmas breaks.

Weather forecasts suggest that snow is unlikely, but Vejdirektoratet suggests motorists exercise caution anyway, given that different drivers than usual will be using roads at Christmas time.

“Keep your distance, stay in the right-hand lane (on motorways) and try to avoid the times we mention in our prognoses,” Nedergaard told Politiken.

Website can be used to stay up to date with traffic conditions on Denmark’s roads.

READ ALSO: 'No consideration for anybody except themselves': The damning verdict on Danish driving

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How and when should I exchange my foreign driving licence for a Danish one?

Foreign residents of Denmark are required to exchange their foreign driving licence for a Danish one after moving to Denmark.

How and when should I exchange my foreign driving licence for a Danish one?

The rules for when a foreign driving licence must be exchanged for a Danish licence depend on the country which issued the original licence.

You must change your foreign licence for a Danish one within 90 days of moving to the country (meaning the date on which you arrived in Denmark with the purpose of staying).

At the time of writing, the 90-day deadline is extended to 180 days due to delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

EU and EEA countries

If you have a driving licence issued in the EU or EEA (Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein), you can use it in Denmark. You can freely exchange the licence for a Danish licence without having to take an additional driving test.

Australia (Capital Territory only), Brazil, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Russia, Switzerland and Ukraine

Driving licences issued in the above countries and territories can also be exchanged for Danish licences without taking any additional test.

In addition to your existing licence, you must also submit a medical declaration from your doctor and a signed written declaration that you have not been disqualified from driving within the last five years. Your licence must not be restricted or issued under special conditions.

It should be noted that the above only applies for category B driving licences. This is the category for driving a normal car. For other types of category such as motorcycle or HGV licences, it is necessary to take an additional test in order to exchange your foreign licence for a Danish one.

Singapore, United States, Canada, Australia, Chile, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, New Zealand, Isle of Man (UK) and Israel

For the above countries and territories, the same conditions apply as for the non-EU/EEA countries listed further above.

Additionally, you must also submit a declaration that you have two years’ effective (reel) in Danish driving experience. In other words, you must have driven regular for at least two years and not had a driving licence for five years or more without having done any driving.

United Kingdom after Brexit

The UK does not neatly fit into any of the above categories because the applicable rules depend on whether your licence was issued before or after the UK left the EU.

In short, you can exchange your licence in line with EU rules if it was issued before Brexit, but UK licences issued after January 1st 2021 are treated as “third country” driving licences.

The rules for exchanging UK driving licences in Denmark following Brexit are set out in more detail in this article.

Other foreign driving licences

Driving licences issued in all other countries can be used to drive in Denmark for up to 90 days after you are registered as living in the country.

Danish rules permit the use of foreign driving licences printed in English (or French) with Latin letters, or if it is accompanied by an English, French or Danish translation. If your licence does not meet this, you may be required to obtain an international licence before driving in Denmark.

You will be required to take what is termed in Danish a kontrollerende køreprøve (“control driving test”) to be able to exchange your foreign licence for a Danish one.

What is a ‘control driving test’?

The Danish Road Traffic Authority website states that a control driving test or kontrollerende køreprøve consists of a theory and practical element. Driving lessons are not mandatory for the test, unlike with the regular driving test given to new drivers.

Drivers taking the test must supply their own vehicle and applications are made via their home municipality.

Where do I go to exchange my licence?

The application form for exchanging to a Danish driving license can be found on the Local Government Denmark (KL) website.

The form must be handed in at a municipal Borgerservice (“Citizens’ Service”). Check the website of your local municipality to find out where the Borgerservice is located in your area. You may be required to make an appointment (or it might be better to do so to avoid a queue).

You’ll need to bring your existing licence, passport and a photo (see here for the photo specifications) when you hand in your licence for exchange. You’ll also need your Danish residence permit.

More information on the application process can be found on the Danish citizen and residents’ platform

A fee of 280 kroner is charged to exchange a foreign driving licence for a Danish one.

Sources: Færdselsstyrelsen,