Public drinking in Copenhagen

Two people drinking from bottles in the sunset.
Public drinking is totally acceptable in Denmark

Can you drink in public in Copenhagen?

Yes, it’s totally legal to drink in public in Copenhagen and in the rest of Denmark as well. This can be seen especially during summer, when people enjoy the warm weather and meet in the public parks, with cold beers or wine. Should you visit during a weekend, you will also experience public drinking late at night, in the vicinity of bars and discotheques.

What isn’t legal is disturbing law and order, so even though it’s social acceptable to drink in public, being heavily intoxicated could get you into trouble, depending on how loud and obnoxious you are.

A good advice for both tourists and locals would be to drink moderately when in public.

Wondering whether the streets are safe in Copenhagen? Click here to read the article I recently did.

What is the legal drinking age in Denmark?

With your parents’ consent the legal drinking age is technically zero. If you want to buy alcohol (under 16.5%) in a shop you must be 16 years old. If the alcohol percent is 16.5% or above, you must be 18 years old. This applies to tobacco and e-cigarettes (with and without tobacco) as well.

Should you go to a bar; you must be 18 years old to buy any alcohol above 2.8%. Some light beers are below the 2.8% limit and can be served to customers who are 16 years old.

According to the Danish Health Authority, the Danish youngsters are among the first to drink alcohol in Europe. 20% of the Danish 11-year-old boys (7% of the girls) have tried drinking alcohol. When turning 15 it’s 80% percent of both boys and girls who have had their debut.

Do I have to show ID?

In the last couple of years, it’s my impression that shops are more likely to ask for ID, when young people buy tobacco or alcohol. So, even though it’s nothing like the US, where they tend to ask everyone for ID, yes, make sure you have your ID (with photo) on you, when buying alcohol and tobacco, just to be on the safe side.

The authorities do perform random inspections, where they check if shop attendants ask for ID, when selling to a person, who could be under the legal age. Failing to comply will result in shop owners being reported with the police.

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