New ferry route



The new ferry route between Grenaa and Halmstad will open on the 1st of February 2020. The vision is to connect eastern Jutland with southern Sweden as a new region that enhances growth and development on both sides of the Kattegat.

“If you look up the words Kattegat Region on Wikipedia, there will be no hits – none at all. We are now at the point of making history and giving the region an identity.”

Tony Michaelsen, manager of Stena Line’s service between Frederikshavn/Gothenburg and the future route between Grenaa and Halmstad, enthusiastically describes his visions for the Kattegat Region at the Port Centre at Port of Grenaa. Overlooking the port area, where his ferry docks daily, he describes the thoughts behind the Kattegat Region:

“I believe in a strong synergetic effect once eastern Jutland and Halland/Småland in southern Sweden see themselves as one big region in one big market, and the new route between Grenaa and Halmstad is the first step towards a new Kattegat Region.”


The Grenaa/Halmstad route replaces the Grenaa/Varberg route as of the 1st of February 2020, and according to Tony Michaelsen, this will make a huge difference:

“The Grenaa/Varberg route did not have an identity; we did nothing to market it or develop the concept, and the shipping company’s only reason to keep the route was to protect the Frederikshavn/Gothenburg route. However, with the Grenaa/Halmstad route, we will make all efforts to make the route known and attractive.”


Tony Michaelsen expects that relocating from Varberg to Halmstad and developing the Kattegat Region will greatly increase the current number of lorries and cars transported from Grenaa to Varberg: “Every year, many thousand lorries are crossing the bridges between Jutland and Halland/Småland in southern Sweden in both directions. We can draw in these vehicles once the route Grenaa/Halmstad opens” says the manager of the Swedish service line convincingly.

Up till now, Stena Line has freighted 45,000 lorries a year between Grenaa and Varberg. Given the expected extra 30,000 lorries, Tony Michaelsen reckons that the figure will increase to 75,000 lorries on the Grenaa/Halmstad route by 2024. He also anticipates that the number of cars will double from currently 45,000 to 90,000 by 2022. With the overall increase in the number of cars and lorries, Tony Michaelsen believes that the 150,000 passengers, which Stena Line currently transports between Grenaa and Varberg will increase to 300,000 passengers using the Grenaa/Halmstad route.


To Tony Michaelsen, the Grenaa/Halmstad route is the bridge that will connect the two areas in the Kattegat Region. The new region is based on an agreement made between Norddjurs Municipality, Halmstad Municipality and Stena Line to provide a common platform for the communities on both sides of the Kattegat to meet. In addition, Norddjurs Municipality just signed the partnership agreement “The Kattegat Alliance” with Halmstad Municipality and the mayor of Norddjurs Municipality, Jan Petersen, believes that these agreements have paved the road for deploying the vision of a Kattegat Region:

“We establish the framework where representatives of tourism, industry, education, culture and sports from both sides meet, have a talk and see the opportunities of incorporating the other side of the Kattegat into the concept. We are facilitators, arranging meetings and starting processes and it is then up to industry, educational institutions, hotels and tourist attractions on both sides to continue the development.”


The mayor of Norddjurs Municipality sees a wide scope of perspectives in the Kattegat Region:

“The opportunities of close cooperation between eastern Jutland and southern Sweden have been neglected; now they open up. Norddjurs Municipality has a close cooperation with Syddjurs Municipality, Visit Aarhus, Business Region Aarhus, Grenaa Business Innovation Network and Business Djursland. At the same time, we keep in touch with tourist attractions in eastern Jutland as well as cultural and education institutions and I see great opportunities for all players in the area.”


Tony Michaelsen agrees:

“I believe that we have started a development, allowing companies on both sides to view each other much more as potential business partners, customers and suppliers. Tourist attractions, cultural institutions and hotels will all increase their efforts, alone and together, to develop attractive offers targeted at tourists from the other side. Educational institutions like Aarhus University will make exchange agreements with the University of Halmstad and entrepreneurs will establish a network, covering the entire Kattegat Region. All will benefit, when the extended market increases the chances of higher turnover – and, on the other hand, this will create new jobs.”

Tony Michaelsen mentions Kattegatcentret as an example of a tourist attraction, which may increase its sales significantly as a result of the Kattegat Region and the new ferry route:
“Not least, if Kattegatcentret seizes the opportunity and develops strong offers to the citizens in the Halmstad area – for instance by inviting Swedish pupils to stay overnight at Kattegatcentret.”


According to Tony Michaelsen, once the Kattegat Region becomes reality, the people of eastern Jutland will see that the number of Swedish tourists will increase in the region. Jan Petersen looks forward to it: “I particularly look forward to extending the tourist season in Djursland beyond July. We and Stena Line alike have an ambition of creating and selling much more of the experience potential outside the high season. A potential that encompasses culture, nature and attractions like Gl. Estrup Manor, Aros, Moesgaard Museum, Tivoli Friheden, Museum Aarhus – Den Gamle By, the adventure park Djurs Sommerland, The Green Museum, Mols Bjerge National Park, Kattegatcentret, Fregatten Jylland and Glasmuseet Ebeltoft.”


Tony Michaelsen is certain that the foundation of the Kattegat Region will soon have an impact on the Grenaa-Halmstad route:

“This development will increase the need for transport between Grenaa and Halmstad, so I am certain that the increasing demand will result in another ferry on the route already within a year.”

According to Tony Michaelsen, the expected doubling of the number of passengers to 300,000 each year will require an extension of the road system between E45 and Grenaa. Jan Petersen agrees: “It is crucial that we get two roads + one road around Tirstrup and Trustrup for a start, and a bypass road south of Auning. I just wrote to the Minister of Transport and asked him to take action, because he is responsible for ensuring that the infrastructure will match the greatly increased traffic volume.”


In order to ensure continuous progress in developing the Kattegat Region, Tony Michaelsen has teamed up with Øresundsinstituttet, observing and documenting the development of the Oresund Region:

“This means that we can use the experience from the development of the Oresund Region and gain insight into their initiatives; which ones actually worked and which ones did not. It is further a guarantee of Øresundsinstituttet documenting all areas of the development of the Kattegat Region – in terms of tourism, business and industry, education and culture. This will ensure that we keep our vision for the Kattegat Region on track.”