Aarhus to introduce ‘floating’ 3D pedestrian crossings

Denmark’s second-largest city Aarhus is to introduce optical illusions at three different pedestrian crossings in a trial it hopes will encourage drivers and cyclists to give way to foot traffic.

Aarhus to introduce 'floating' 3D pedestrian crossings
An illustration of Aarhus' planned 3D pedestrian crossings. Photo: Aarhus Kommune

The pedestrian crossings will be repainted to make them appear as 3D images with the white lines floating above the ground, Aarhus Municipality said in a statement on its website.

Making the crossing stand out in such a striking way will encourage drivers and cyclists to stop at them and allow pedestrians to cross, the municipality hopes.

Danish traffic laws state that motorists approaching pedestrian crossings (that aren’t regulated by traffic lights) must “adapt their speed in such a way that no danger or disadvantage occurs for pedestrians who are on the crossing or approaching it” and that drivers “must stop to let the pedestrians pass, if necessary”.

In practice (and this is an anecdotal observation based on years of residence in the country), motorists in Denmark normally drive over such crossings when pedestrians are clearly waiting to use them, because they are technically not required to stop unless the pedestrian is actually on the crossing.

READ ALSO: Why don’t Danish drivers stop at pedestrian crossings?

The new ‘3D’ crossings in Aarhus, which will be in place on an initial trial scheme until May 2024, aim to change that, city councillor Bünyamin Simsek said in the municipality statement.

“You don’t have to walk around in Aarhus for long to discover that you can wait for a very long time to cross roads at pedestrian crossings without light regulation,” Simsek said.

“Far too many people simply don’t stop. We will now try a solution with 3D that will get motorists and cyclists to be extra aware at crossings,” he added.

The 3D crossings will use painted shadows under the normal white lines, making the crossing zone look as though it is floating above the ground.

This will make the crossing visible from further away and at different angles, according to the city statement.

Three crossings in Aarhus – two on Mejlgade and one on Knudrisgade – will be given the 3D treatment.

In place on an initial two-and-a-half year trial, the city council’s infrastructure and environment department, on which Simsek sits, will monitor the effect of the crossings and make adjustments to them if this proves to be necessary.

Work on the first of the three crossings is expected to begin in Mejlgade on September 20th, with all three expected to be completed during the autumn.

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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,