Planning the countryside

The majority of Denmark is countryside, i.e. areas not built-up and areas not planned for building. The majority of the countryside is used for agriculture or forestry.

The rural areas contribute particularly with production of food, but also with public benefits such as landscape, cultural heritage and recreation. In recent years there has been an increase in newcomers to rural areas around the large Danish cities. On the other hand, rural areas remote from large cities have experienced a decline in population as well as employment.

Development in the countryside is regulated through legislation, e.g. the Danish Planning Act, the Danish Nature Protection Act, the Danish Forest Act, the Danish Environmental Protection Act and the Danish Agriculture Act.

Coastal zone

Conserving open stretches of coast is in the national interest. Therefore there are special regulations in the Planning Act for the 3 km-wide coastal zone.

Landscape interests

In order to preserve landscape values, it is important to keep the countryside free of everything other than the buildings and installations necessary for society.

Rural zone

Areas in rural zones should be free of all other buildings than those necessary for the operation of agriculture, forestry and fisheries.

Golf courses

In some cases good golf-course planning can help restore and improve the environment and landscape.

Wind turbines

More and larger wind turbines place great demands on finding the right location that does not disturb humans and the environment more than necessary.

Holiday homes

Summer cottage areas should be kept for recreational and leisure purposes and are therefore covered by special regulations.

Advertisements in the countryside

The regulations on advertising hoardings in the Nature Protection Act are to keep the countryside clear of advertising and propaganda hoardings.

Building and protection lines

The surroundings adjacent to coasts, lakes and rivers as well as ancient monuments, forests and churches should be kept clear of buildings and other landscape interventions.

National test centre for wind turbines

Denmark is to have a national test centre for wind turbines. Folketinget (the Danish Parliament) has decided to locate the centre in Østerild Klitplantage; a dune plantation in Thy in Jutland.


Agriculture is an important factor for nature and the environment in the countryside and for the prosperity of rural districts.