Here are Denmark’s longest commutes

The distance Danes travel to and from work varies greatly across the country, a new study shows.

Here are Denmark’s longest commutes
File photo: Steffen Ortmann/Ritzau Scanpix

At 62 kilometres, employees working in Høje-Taastrup municipality have Denmark’s longest commutes, writes

That is how far employees at companies in Høje-Taastrup commute to and from work on average, giving the municipality the honour of having the longest commutes in Denmark.

Second on the list comes Allerød with 59 kilometres, followed by Ballerup and Ikast-Brande – the only one of the top four to be located in Jutland. In the two latter municipalities, employees at local companies travel 56 kilometres to and from work.

These are the results of a new analysis of the commutes of Danish workers, carried out by think tank Kraka on behalf the Danish Transport Federation.

The relatively long commutes testify to the fact that Danes are willing to make a great effort to go where their competences are most beneficial, according to director of the Danish Transport Federation Michael Svane.

“It is impressive that employees in parts of the country travel over 50 kilometres to and from work. After all, few people really enjoy spending time on transport,” Svane said.

“I’m pleased that so many people are willing to spend extra time behind the wheel or in the train. This benefits both companies and the employees themselves. The more mobile Danes are, the greater the chances of securing the perfect match between employee and company,” he added.

Setting aside island municipalities, Halsnæs, Frederiksberg and Odder are the municipalities in Denmark where employees have the shortest commutes to work. Here, the average commute is around 30 kilometres.

There are several explanations for why the distance that workers commute varies so greatly across the country, Svane said.

The ease of getting to and from the municipalities is an important factor. Poor transport connections will dissuade people from travelling to that municipality for work.

Also important is the type of companies located in the municipality. Companies that draw upon highly specialised labour may need to attract workers who live far away.

“Bottom line is we must always strive to make it as easy as possible for Danes to get to and from work. Spending less time on transport will improve people’s everyday lives. At the same time, it will make it easier for companies to attract the competences they need in order to create growth and jobs,” Svane said.

READ ALSO: One third of Danish commuters faces congestion: report

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Commuting: How many people in Germany travel to another federal state for work?

The number of people who travel long distances to get to work in Germany has been rising in recent years. How could petrol and public transport costs change - and will the pandemic affect working habits?

Commuting: How many people in Germany travel to another federal state for work?
Drivers on the Autobahn 7 in north Germany. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Bodo Marks

Nearly 3.4 million people in Germany travelled to work in a different federal state than their place of residence last year. 

That’s according to current commuter figures from the Federal Employment Agency (BA), which were requested by the Left Party, and made available to DPA.

In recent years, there has been a significant increase in commuter numbers in Germany. In 1999, only 2.1 million people didn’t have their place of work in the state in which they lived.

The BA figures do not show, however, how many people temporarily did not have to commute because of coronavirus-related restrictions that have led to many people working from home.

In the statistics, a comparison is made between the place of residence and the place of work, a BA spokeswoman explained. “Whether the place of work is actually visited cannot be mapped out,” she said.

But the Federal Statistical Office previously conducted a survey on the influence of the pandemic on commuting behaviour, which gives us some insight. According to it, there was a decline in commuting from March 2020. In April, the decline became more pronounced, and in May 2020, more people were commuting again.

There is currently a lot of discussion about whether people will also be able to do more home working after the pandemic and therefore also have to commute less.

READ ALSO: Home Office makes employees more effective and happy, Germany study finds

Why is commuting being discussed in Germany right now?

This issue has come to the forefront because of the federal election coming up this September. Parties have been debating how to reduce carbon emissions, while also balancing out people’s car usage and Germany’s love of the automobile. There’s also been talk about the cost of public transport.

Green Party co-leader Annalena Baerbock has – according to her party’s draft programme – advocated to raise the tax on petrol by 16 cents a litre if the Greens were to win power, in an effort to push the country more towards carbon neutrality.

It would increase gas prices by around 10 percent.

Against the backdrop of the current debate on gas prices, the Left Party’s Sabine Zimmermann called for consideration to be given to commuters. It would be “cynical if the price of getting to work were to be pushed ever higher,” she told DPA.

Zimmermann added: “Employees are being asked to be mobile and, in some cases, to travel long distances to work. No federal government, not even the Greens, have wanted to change anything about that so far.”

As far as transportation is concerned, Zimmermann did call for an end to the internal combustion engine. However, she said, the government must keep the commute to work affordable. This includes the expansion of railroads with low-cost tickets and affordable electro-mobility options. 

Where are Germany’s commuters?

Compared to 2019, the number of people living and working in different federal states last year fell slightly, according to the BA statistics. There were 3.381 million federal state commuters subject to social security contributions in 2020. In 2019, there were 3.396 million.

According to the statistics, the most commuters between federal states in 2020 were 225,000 going from Brandenburg to Berlin, and the fewest were 41 from Bremen to Saarland.

The example of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state, shows the extent of commuting beyond urban areas: 93,000 employees lived in North Rhine-Westphalia but worked in neighbouring Lower Saxony, 64,000 in neighboring Hesse. Meanwhile, 47,000 NRW residents worked in Bavaria and 38,000 in Baden-Württemberg.

In 2020, around 408,000 eastern German employees commuted to the west, according to the Federal Agency’s figures (2019: 415,000). Conversely, around 178,000 employees came from western Germany to work in the east, remaining unchanged from the previous year.

It is yet to be seen how the pandemic will impact long-term habits of commuting in Germany. 

MUST READ: Will working from home become norm post-corona crisis?


Commuter/commuters – (der or die) Pendler

Place of work – (der) Arbeitsort

Comparison (der) Abgleich 

Against the background of – vor dem Hintergrund von

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