When is it legal to walk on frozen lakes in Denmark?

Police across Denmark intervened in several instances over the weekend as members of the public endangered themselves by walking on to frozen lakes.

When is it legal to walk on frozen lakes in Denmark?
Copenhagen on February 5th. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Lakes, fjords and other waterways in Denmark should be considered off-limits for walking or skating unless signs clearly mark that it is safe to do so. That is not the case in many places, despite the current sub-zero weather.

In Copenhagen, 18 people were charged last weekend after breaching rules to walk on frozen lakes, police said.

“I hope what was communicated today has helped so that residents in Copenhagen have had their eyes opened to that fact (walking on frozen lakes) can be dangerous,” Paw Kaltoft of Copenhagen Police told news wire Ritzau.

“I don’t know of anyone in Copenhagen who has fallen through the ice. But it has happened in other places,” he said on Saturday evening.

That includes three people who fell through ice on the island of Mors in North Jutland, and an incident on Zealand which required a helicopter rescue, the news agency reports.

News broadcaster TV2 reported that police had charged individuals with trespassing on the ice.

According to Danish law, individual municipalities decide when ice is thick enough for the public to be allowed to walk on it.

Although rules can therefore vary locally, the ice must generally be at least 13 centimetres thick. In Aarhus, the ice layer must be 16 centimetres, according to Ritzau.

READ ALSO: Arctic sea ice melting faster than forecast, Copenhagen researchers find

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Denmark records deepest snow level for 13 years

Blizzards in Denmark this week have resulted in the greatest depth of snow measured in the country for 13 years.

Denmark records deepest snow level for 13 years

A half-metre of snow, measured at Hald near East Jutland town Randers, is the deepest to have occurred in Denmark since January 2011, national meteorological agency DMI said.

The measurement was taken by the weather agency at 8am on Thursday.

Around 20-30 centimetres of snow was on the ground across most of northern and eastern Jutland by Thursday, as blizzards peaked resulting in significant disruptions to traffic and transport.

A much greater volume of snow fell in 2011, however, when over 100 centimetres fell on Baltic Sea island Bornholm during a post-Christmas blizzard, which saw as much as 135 centimetres on Bornholm at the end of December 2010.

READ ALSO: Denmark’s January storms could be fourth extreme weather event in three months

With snowfall at its heaviest for over a decade, Wednesday saw a new rainfall record. The 59 millimetres which fell at Svendborg on the island of Funen was the most for a January day in Denmark since 1886. Some 9 weather stations across Funen and Bornholm measured over 50cm of rain.

DMI said that the severe weather now looks to have peaked.

“We do not expect any more weather records to be set in the next 24 hours. But we are looking at some very cold upcoming days,” DMI meteorologist and press spokesperson Herdis Damberg told news wire Ritzau.