Crossing the Oresund Bridge

The Swedes wanted a bridge and the Danes wanted a tunnel, so they solved it the most Scandanavian way possible – they compromised.

Okay, it wasn’t that utopian. What happened was that Copenhagen and Mälmo wanted a bridge to connect each other – to create a Singapore-Johor Bahru or Hong Kong-Shenzhen economic area – to bring the southern the Swedish region into closer contact with the economic powerhouse of Copenhagen. It also made sense especially since both countries were part of the Schengen area, and yet there was no way anyone could drive from Denmark to Sweden. So they commissioned structural engineers to build a link between Mälmo and Copenhagen.

The Architectural Marvel of Oresund (Source)

But there was a problem. Copenhagen had a thriving port and airport located extremely close to the city which was also next to the coast, this meant that is was not safe to build a bridge close to Copenhagen. And although Malmo did not have a port at the immediate coast (it had one further away), it did have one and it needed a way for ships leaving its own port, so while the Danes needed something preferably invisible, the Swedes needed something huge. Building a bridge between these two land masses was expensive enough, and a tunnel costs more to bore and set up than a bridge. So the architects designed a crazy solution one that was almost impossible to make.

The solution was not as crazy when I think about it now – build as long a bridge as possible that later merges into a tunnel when it gets too close to the airport for comfort. But it hadn’t been done before, and not at this length anyway. It was to become to longest Combined Road and Rail Bridge in Europe at a distance of 7.845 kilometres (but the shortest sea route in the Baltic and Nordic sea)

The end product of the practical and bold design solution is a bridge to seemingly no where, a bridge that gets engulfed by a manmade island and disappears. It’s such a sight that a trip to either Copenhagen or Malmo is not complete without at least trying the bridge.

Where the Bridge becomes a tunnel (Source)

Obviously, I had to experience this trip myself. So when a trip to Copenhagen opened up, flying was not an option, I had to travel to Copenhagen by land. So as to catch the sunrise, intelligent me decided to take a night bus from Stockholm to Copenhagen… Well, actually, the bus ticket was half the train ticket (but 10 times less comfortable) and I was cheap – I just tried to rationalise the decision while on the bus.

The sun was rising as the bus reached crossed the bridge onto Copenhagen. “Welcome to Copenhagen,” said the Swedish passenger opposite me to her Mexican travel companions. I turned to look at the window in their direction. It was a glorious sight.

Here I was, after an 8 hour overninght bus journey, riding a testament to human ingenuity, over a man made marvel greeted by nature in her glory.

I was ready to start a weekend in Copenhagen.



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