Border: Denmark-Sweden

Date(s) of establishment: 1523
Length of border: Maritime border
Regions concerned: Denmark – North Jutland Region, Copenhagen, Zealand; Sweden – Scania, Blekinge, Halland

European programme(s):

Sweden and Denmark are separated by a maritime border. It is therefore impossible to state a precise length. The state of Denmark came into being around the year 980 and Sweden gained independence in 1523, thus creating the border between the two states.

The towns of Malmö (Sweden) and Copenhagen (Denmark) are linked by the Øresund Bridge which crosses the strait of the same name. Construction of the bridge began in 1995 and was completed in 1999. Initially inferior to forecasts, traffic flow increased significantly in 2005, likely linked to the growing phenomenon of Danish citizens acquiring homes in Sweden (where property prices are lower).

Denmark is situated 4km off the Swedish coast and the bridge is of a total length of 7845 metres. The two regions linked by the bridge form the Øresund cross-border territory. This space comprises more than 3,730,000 inhabitants, and by way of its unique situation, is very advanced in terms of cross-border cooperation.

CRoss-border cooperation

Cross-border cooperation between the two countries has greatly developed, notably between the Region of Scania on the Swedish side and the Regions of Copenhagen and Northern Zealand on the Danish side.

Due to the absence of a demarcated border, the zone of the Interreg programme also includes the Skaggerak, the strait between Denmark and Norway. The priorities defined in the programme aim to make the Øresund one of the most competitive and attractive cross-border regions in Europe.

These countries benefit from relatively favourable economic situations for increasing their economic growth. Certain fields thus receive subsidies in order to develop strategies for innovation and to increase the cohesion of the cross-border region.
The Øresund Bridge, which met a lukewarm reception at its inauguration, is today a success, and the number of cross-border workers has multiplied by a factor of ten in ten years (20,400 in 2009). Motor traffic has also increased by 141% since the bridge’s first year of service. These data are an indicator of the advanced integration between the two countries. However, it seems too early to speak of “citizens of the Øresund” and the cross-border links between the two regions still need to be strengthened.

For this reason, one of the priorities of the Interreg programme is to encourage integration “in daily life”: finding ways to improve relations between individuals and businesses on either side of the border, and thus to enable the Øresund region to develop a real cross-border identity.

As Denmark and Sweden are separated by a maritime border, they also participate in the South Baltic operational programme. Investments are primarily aimed at creating jobs, in this region whose economic fabric is very varied. In addition, numerous measures are targeted at preservation of the natural space, which is an asset for the development of the tourist economy.

Territory projects and institutional bodies for cooperation

Cross-border cooperation at the regional level

Région Öresund

Cross-border cooperation at the local level