Goodbye to Storebæltsbroen

In 2025, the 1000-kroneseddel will no longer be legal tender and, with that, Storebæltsbroen will disappear from Danske kroner.

It’s rare to actually see paper banknotes in Denmark, but on the 1000-kronesedlen there’s a picture of Storebæltsbroen, the pride of danish engineering.

It is a marvel but it can also be hard to appreciate. Times have changed. In the gode gamle dage, a new bridge would have a whole country talking and people would travel from all over to watch the opening ceremony. When Storebælt opened, some celebrated and others even protested. But people now look at the bridge with the same yawn that they would give a painted wall waiting to dry.

It was not always like that. From 1883 until 1998 (115 years) you would have to take a ferry between Fyn and Sjælland. And not some speedboat with rapid boarding times – it would take you at least an hour just to cross 16km of water. Now, it takes just ten minutes.

Ask a Dane who is a bit more gammel and they’ll heave a big sigh as they remember the hassle of going West from Sjælland. A good friend told me of times they would load train carriages and cars onto Storebæltfærgen and passengers would simply drink beer to pass the time (this is Denmark, after all).

He added that the decision to go between the two parts of the country was a major one. You want us to go over to København? Seriously? Give me a list of really good reasons.

And then, in the middle of 1998, a new bridge came. It’s big and shiny! It has a tunnel for trains! It’s the second-longest suspension bridge in the world and definitely deserves to be on the biggest banknote possible!

And now, 26 years later? People grumble at the price of Storebæltsforbindelsen. No matter the cost, people are always going to be slightly angry they have to pay for the bridge.

Fun fact: when people moan “det er for dyrt!” just remind them that it’s DKK 196 with the free app (and 235 if you return the same day.)

As a humble immigrant, I find it impressive. It’s the second tallest in Europe at 254 metres. It comprises two bridges, is a total of 18km long and the east bridge has huge ‘anchor blocks’ which weigh 325,000 tonnes – almost the weight of the Empire State Building! And all of this in little Denmark – a country famous for Carlsberg, pork and silence.

In 2025, the 1000-kroneseddel will no longer be legal tender and, with that, Storebæltsbroen will disappear from Danske kroner. But you can still look up at those 250m-tall columns with admiration every time you cross the Great Belt strait – even if you did just pay almost DKK 200 (275 without the app).

P.S. In 2022, Storebælt was crossed during Tour de France. It really made me chuckle to imagine all those cyclists having to slow down for the tolls: some employee who didn’t get the email saying, “beklager, men broen er kun til motorkøretøjer. Du skal cykle tilbage til Korsør Station og tag DSB med en cykelbillet.”