Border: Denmark-Germany

Date(s) of establishment: 1864 - Current demarcation in 1920 by referendum
Length of border: 67.7 km
Regions concerned: Germany – Schleswig-Holstein; Denmark – Sjælland (Zealand), Syddanmark (Southern Denmark)

European programme(s):


Stretching over 68 km, the Danish-German land border is unconventional, due to the unique geographic composition of Denmark. The border marks the separation between the regions of Schleswig-Holstein in Germany and Zealand in Denmark. It begins in the west, to the south of the town of Tønder, and ends in the east, to the north of the town of Flensburg.


The demarcation of the border between Germany and Denmark followed the signing in 1864 of the Gastein Convention, bringing to a close the Danish-German war of the duchies (known as the Schleswig wars), after which Denmark ceded some of its territories to the members of the German Confederation.

The armistice of 1918 helped to find a solution to territorial claims. Two referendums were held and the Schleswig region was divided in two, a Danish northern portion where the majority language was Danish and a German portion in the South. The Bonn-Copenhagen Declarations in 1955 focused on the recognition of minority communities on each side of the border, thus promoting the development of cross-border cooperation.

Cross-border cooperation

Today the German-Danish border cooperation is an example of good cooperation. Although the two countries do not speak the same official language, communication is facilitated by the presence of minorities on both sides of the border.

North of the border, most students learn German in public schools, while in the south the Danish language is optional. The presence of minorities has encouraged the development of the cross-border territory as a shared living space, and language training is a major part of the Interreg program.

The main goal of the "Syddanmark – Schleswig-K.E.R.N.” cross-border programme is to help the border region to become an active player in the global market through the use of regional resources. It aims first of all to improve the attractiveness of the region. For this, the programme focuses on the priorities "economy, innovation, and maritime affairs and environment" and "cross-border structures and human resources."

A second Interreg program, the cross-border programme "Fehmarnbeltregion" works mainly along the Hamburg / Copenhagen / Malmö axis. Its goal is to transform the Baltic Sea zone into a functional maritime space. The programme hopes to develop entrepreneurship and turn the area into a major business centre. Environmental sustainability is also supported by both countries as strong supporters of renewable energy. It proposes diverse activities involving innovation and ICT as well as the management of cross-border human resources, and the protection of cross-border heritage and maritime potential.

Three Euroregions currently embody cooperation at the German-Danish border: Sønderjylland Schleswig, Fehmarnbeltregion and Fyns Amt/Kern. These long-established Euroregions include a focus on enhanced economic cooperation in order to turn the cross-border area into a leading territory for innovation and dynamism.

Photo copyright: CNT

Territory projects and institutional bodies for cooperation

Cross-border cooperation at the regional level

Euregio Rhin-Waal