Europe’s Longest Road and Railway Bridge

Caitlin Dempsey

Updated:

The Øresund Bridge, also known as the Øresund Link, is 16-kilometer-long bridge that connects the Danish capital of Copenhagen with the Swedish city of Malmö.

It is a combined railway and automobile bridge-tunnel that spans the Øresund strait, a narrow body of water that separates Denmark and Sweden, connecting the North Sea with the Baltic Sea.

The Øresund Bridge is the longest combined road and railway structure in Europe.

How old is the Øresund Link?

The idea of connecting Denmark and Sweden was first proposed in the early 20th century, but it wasn’t until the 1990s that plans for the Øresund Bridge began to take shape. Construction began in 1995, and the bridge was officially opened on July 1, 2000, by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden.

The Øresund Link has three sections

The Øresund Link is an impressive feat of engineering and is made up of three sections.

A satellite image showing the location of a bridge between Sweden and Denmark across dark blue water with an island in the middle of the strait.
Satellite image showing Øresund Bridge between Denmark and Sweden. Image: NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team, 2017.

Starting on the Denmark side at Copenhagen there is a 3,510-meter (2.2-mile) underwater tunnel. The underground portion of the Øresund Link was designed in order to allow ship traffic to travel through the Øresund Strait. A tunnel was chose in lieu of raising the bridge in order not to interfere with air traffic in the region.

The next segment starts at the artificial island, Peberholm, that sits in the middle of the Øresund strait just south of the natural island, Saltholm, which is part of Denmark. There, a 4,055-meter-long (2.5-mile-long) roadway stretches across Peberholm. Finally, the 7,845 meter-long (4.9 miles) cable-supported Oresund Bridge completes the connection to Malmo, Sweden.

An aerial image of the The Øresund Bridge between Copenhagen and Sweden.
The Øresund Bridge between Copenhagen and Sweden. Photo: © AeroPixel/stock.adobe.com.

Benefits of the Øresund Link

The Øresund Link has had a significant impact on the region’s economy, making it easier for people to travel between Denmark and Sweden. The bridge has also made it easier for businesses to operate in both countries, facilitating trade and commerce. The bridge has also been a boon to tourism, making it easier for visitors to explore both Copenhagen and Malmö.

By providing an alternative to air and sea travel, the connection has helped to reduce carbon emissions. The bridge has also reduced traffic congestion, particularly in Copenhagen, where it has helped to alleviate some of the city’s traffic problems.

Overall, the Øresund Bridge is an impressive feat of engineering that has had a significant impact on the region’s economy, environment, and transportation and strengthened the close relationship between Denmark and Sweden.

References

Andronache, V. M., Baumbach, L. K., Czunyi, S., Figel, T., Firpo, F. D., Hayes, J., … & Xin, O. (2011). Energy Futures Øresund: Bridging the Gaps to a Greener Tomorrow. Lund: IIIEE.

Ejermo, O., Hussinger, K., Kalash, B., & Schubert, T. (2022). Innovation in Malmö after the Öresund bridge. Journal of Regional Science62(1), 5-20. https://doi.org/10.1111/jors.12543

Jespersen, P. H., & Lohse, S. (2012). 3. A Green Transport Corridor within the Øresund RegionRethinking Transport in the Øresund Region, 51.

Oresund Bridge. (2016, July 11). NASA. https://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/image_feature_549.html

Related

Photo of author
About the author
Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey is the editor of Geography Realm and holds a master's degree in Geography from UCLA as well as a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from SJSU.

Free weekly newsletter

Fill out your e-mail address to receive our newsletter!
Email: