It is easy to get around North Denmark by public transport once you know how the system works.
Nordjyllands Trafikselskab (‘NT’) is the public transport provider in North Denmark. You can find information on NT’s bus timetables and other travel information here (mostly in Danish with some in English). Denmark also has an extensive national train network run by DSB (Danish Train System). You can read about travelling by train on DSB’s website here.
The cheapest and easiest way to travel by public transport is by using a pre-paid travel card (‘rejsekort’). The travel card can be used to travel throughout Denmark without a paper ticket. You can also earn discounts using the card if you regularly travel on certain routes, which makes it cheaper than buying a ticket in person or on your phone. You can order a travel card online and keep it topped up with money through a payment system that is available in English. For more information about the payment system, to order a travel card, or to top up an existing card, click here.
In order to use the card, simply hold it against the blue “orb” as you enter the bus or prior to boarding the train (there are rejsekort posts on all train platforms) and wait for the tone. Remember to do the same as you exit the bus or just after you get off the train. You can see the cost of your journey and your remaining balance on the screen after registering your journey.
The best tool for planning your journey in Denmark is the Journey Planner (‘rejseplanen’), which offers an English language option. Just input your start address and destination, and the site will find the easiest route via bus and train for your journey, along with approximate cost and maps.
If you wish to drive in Denmark and currently hold a driver’s license, you will need to ensure that your license is valid in Denmark. This may mean that you need to exchange your license for a Danish one. In some cases you may be required to take the Danish driving exams.
The system is split into three groups of countries. Which rules apply to you depends on which country issued your current driver’s license.
The groups are split as follows:
EU/EEA countries and Nordic countries
No need to exchange one’s license; you can drive indefinitely in Denmark with your non-Danish license as long as it is valid
Australian Capital Territory, Brazil, Japan, Russia, South Korea, Switzerland, Taipei (Taiwan), Ukraine
Must exchange your license within 14 days of receiving your CPR number
All other countries
Must exchange your license and take both theory and driving tests
If you fall into group one, you will not need to exchange your driver’s license and you are able to legally drive in Denmark for as long as your license is valid. However, be aware that it can be hard to renew or obtain a new driving license from your issuing country. If you do wish to obtain a Danish driver’s license, just visit your local Citizens Service Office with your current EU/EEA or Nordic driving license, a passport photo, and 280kr (you can pay by card.)
Your new Danish license will be forwarded to your home address (you will be granted a temporary paper license for the interim. Note that this may not be valid as a driving license/proof of identity outside of Denmark.)
If you fall into groups 2 or 3, you will need to exchange your license. For group 2, this needs to be done within 14 days of receiving your CPR number. For group 3, you will also need to pass theory and driving tests, a process that can take 3 months or longer.
To exchange your license you will need to visit your local Citizens Service office with the required documents. These documents are used to confirm your identity, and it is important to include them all in order to complete your application:
- Valid foreign driver’s license (must be translated by a state-authorized translator if not in English, French, or German)
- Completed application form (which one can get at Citizens Service)
- Doctor’s certificate issued by one’s doctor. The certificate is placed in a sealed envelope and must not be older than 3 months.
- Yellow health card
- Valid photo with a stamp from one’s doctor. This will accompany the doctor’s certificate in a closed envelope.
- Valid residence permit (if one is not an EU citizen or citizen of a Nordic country)
- Dankort or cash to pay administrative fee (280kr, accurate as of 2015)
- If you are an applicant from group 2, you must also bring a statement from your home country, declaring that you have not been disqualified from driving for the last 5 years.
You can get a valid doctor’s letter by visiting your General Practitioner (be aware that you will need to pay an administrative fee of 400kr for the letter.)
Once you have handed in your application at the Citizens Service office, you will receive a temporary drivers license issued in Danish valid for 3 months or until you receive your new license. Note that this may not be valid as a driving license / proof of identity outside of Denmark. If you are required to take the driving tests, you will need to do this within 3 months of receiving your temporary license. However, this can be extended at the Citizens’ Service, as often the process of taking the tests can take longer than 3 months.
Taking the driving tests
When you hand in your current license to begin the exchange process, you will find out about taking the theory test. The theory test is offered in both English and Danish, although there are fewer times available to take the English version and they tend to fill up quite quickly. (It is important to note that if you sign up to take the theory exam in English then you MUST also take the driving exam in English, and pay for an official translator to accompany you during the exam.) You have to take and pass the theory exam before you can take the driving exam, which you sign up for through a driving school. Some driving schools will require you to take at least one or two driving lessons before they will sign you up for the driving test. Many driving schools offer tuition in English.
If you fail either part of the exam, then you will have to pay a further fee (870 kr. as of 2015) to re-take it.
Here are the costs accrued by an American (group 3) who does not own a car and went through the process of exchanging her license in Aalborg between August 2014 and January 2015:
129 DKK – Drivers license photos
400 DKK – Doctor’s office exam for license
280 DKK – Initial fee for exams and paperwork at Citizens Service
200 DKK – Physical copy of Danish Driving Theory Book
100 DKK – one month subscription to prove.dk
2500 DKK – Driving lessons and rental of car for exam
300 DKK – translator
Total cost of getting a Danish license: 3,909 DKK
A car is an expensive possession in Denmark, whether you buy one here or bring one with you. If you bring your car to Denmark, you can expect to pay a registration fee (‘registreringsafgift’) to the Danish tax authorities (‘SKAT’), which is based on the value of your car. Your car must be registered, and Danish number plates secured, within 30 days of arriving in Denmark. See SKAT’s web page for instructions on paying the fee, registering your car, and getting your number plates.
The easiest way to get around in Danish cities and towns is often by bicycle. There are dedicated bike lanes in most places. It can often be quicker, cheaper, and simpler to cycle than to drive, especially when it comes to finding a parking space!
There are many options for purchasing a bike. Bike shops offer new bikes for the higher budgets (although they often offer sales), whereas supermarkets such as Bilka may have new bikes available at a much lower price. Still, even the most professional Dane will be happy to have a second hand bike, and there are lots of opportunities for finding the right used bike. For second hand bikes, try websites such as guloggratis.dk or dba.dk for classified adverts.
Alternatively, police stations hold regular auctions of second hand bikes that have been left unclaimed. You can pick up a real bargain here, although it may be worth taking a Danish friend with you to help with the auction process, especially if you do not speak Danish well. The dates of auctions in North Denmark are listed here (in Danish).