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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Trains delayed and roads slippery in Sweden despite lower snowfall

Sweden's state-owned rail company SJ cancelled several train services on Tuesday as a result of the snowy weather, while forecasters warned that roads could still be slippery in many regions.

Trains delayed and roads slippery in Sweden despite lower snowfall

SJ is cancelling several regional trains on Tuesday between Stockholm and Uppsala, Stockholm and Västerås, and Gävle and Linköping at the request of the Swedish Transport Administration, which wants to free up space on the tracks. 

At the same time, weather forecaster SMHI warned that, while snowfall would decrease over the day, there would still be a risk of slippery roads in many areas.

“It’s still continuing to snow, but the intensive snowfall we are now warning about will come to an end during the day, starting in the south of the country,” state meteorologist Angelica Lundberg told the TT newswire.  “Over the coming days there may be an increased risk of slipping and this is the case most of all close to the coast.” 

Bengt Olsson, press officer for the Swedish Transport Administration, told SVT that the disruptions seen on Sunday and Monday looked likely to ease off on Tuesday. 

“It’s a bit calmer so far. There’s another type of road surface to day. It’s starting to freeze up a but. There’s a lot of crust from the snow and patches of ice out on the road, so its the risk of skidding that we are trying to deal with today.”

The slippery roads have led to some busses being cancelled, with Dalatrafiken, the bus operator in Dalarna, cancelling several regional bus services. 

Buses parked at the Keolis bus depot in Värtahamnen cruise terminal in Stockholm.
Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Stockholm’s transport operator SL suspended the Lindingöbanan Light-railway line on Tuesday morning, and has also reduced some commuter train services. In Söderort, Huddinge and Botkyrka all bus services have been cancelled. 

“The measures taken to prevent skidding aren’t working,” SL’s press spokesperson Andreas Strömberg told SVT. “At Juliaborg in Huddinge six of our buses got stuck, so the traffic controllers decided to cancel all further services so we can get in snow ploughs.

Snow was continuing to fall on Tuesday over much of central Sweden, and SMHI has issued the lowest “yellow” weather warning for Sörmland, Västmanland, Örebro, Dalarna, and the north of Värmland. 

In most places, there is now between 5cm-15cm of snow, with 20cm in some places.