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Knife laws throughout Europe

Discussion in 'Knives' started by SBloke, May 6, 2009.

    SBloke Loaded Pockets

    I'm wondering, what are the laws on knives in Europe. I know some of them but not all and so far I haven't found them all in one place. So I'd like to try and get them all on one page here. It's about what's legal for anyone above 18 to EDC without a permit or anything.

    Things to consider:
    Locking
    Fixed
    Maximum length
    Number of edges
    Serration
    Automatic/assisted opening
    Types of knives not allowed
    Other characteristics that are illegal
    Anything else you can think of


    I want to update the first post in this topic with anything that you guys tell me.

    The Netherlands
    Locking: Allowed, maximum 28cm opened
    Fixed: Legal
    Maximum length: 28 cm
    Number of edges: One, multiple edges is illegal
    Serration: Allowed
    Automatic/assisted opening: Automatic knives are legal if the blade is under 7 cm, smaller than 14mm wide, has only one edged side and has no penetrating power.
    Types of knives not allowed: Balisongs (above blade length 7 cm and below 14 mm wide)
    Other characteristics that are illegal: Hand guards
    Anything else: EDC-ing in The Netherlands is all about discretion. If the knife does not fit the situation/environment you might get in trouble. It's not illegal to have a knife, but it's highly uncommon to actually see someone using a knife in public.

    France
    Locking: not allowed
    Fixed: not allowed
    Maximum length: length is not a factor
    Number of edges: not allowed
    Serration: are not a factor
    Automatic/assisted opening: not allowed
    Types of knives not allowed: any blade that is fixed or can be locked
    Other characteristics that are illegal: no special caracteristics
    AFAIK for France the law says that one cannot carry any blade (except legitimate use - defense not being a legitimate use). But case-law is a very little more tolerant. The following criterias concern case-law (don't hesitate to correct me if necessary)

    The only factor is the locking system. Slip joint and friction folder are normally allowed to be carry. But the law officer don't know the law and they can be not very nice with somebody carrying a knife. But i have example of people controlled with bud nealy specialist in the back whose haven't got any problem. That is function of the situation and the law officer.

    The rules. No locking knife and no fixed blade.

    Finland
    Locking: legal
    Fixed: legal
    Maximum length: n/a
    Number of edges: as many as you like
    Serration: legal
    Automatic/assisted opening: legal
    Types of knives not allowed: none
    Other characteristics that are illegal: a gun/knife combo would require a gun permit/licence

    it's legal to buy and own any kind of blade, but it's illegal to carry them in public, unless you have a professional need or other valid reason (e.g. a carpenter or a handyman is allowed to carry a work knife). "In public" basically means around the town, or in other populated areas. It's legal to carry a knife out in the woods or when camping etc.

    (In addition to knives, it's also illegal to carry saps, batons, knucks, nunchakus and such in public. And technically also SAKs and multitools, if they have blades.)

    The UK
    UK (England and Wales for definite, im 90% sure Scotland is the same and Northern Ireland i would assume was the same but would check with both)

    For EDC:
    LockingNone locking (slipjoint, friction etc) only
    Fixed illegal
    Maximum length 3 inch maximum length
    Number of edges I have no reason to think this is relevent, however without checking id only recommend a single edge
    Serration Serration is not a legal issue
    Automatic/assisted opening Automatic/assisted opening - autos are definetly not allowed ever, assisted openers are a grey area (you can buy them here online easily for instance) but if you were found with one you will probably be the first to go through the courts with it and you will almost certainly lose - dont be a test case unless you can afford to be the test case
    Types of knives not allowed as well as autos, balisongs are illegal
    Other characteristics that are illegal if it is marketed as a weapon id steer clear - this is why i wouldnt recommend a double edged blade (even though im 99% sure they are legal) because it will be viewed as a weapon first and tool second a lot more than a single edge will - you can EDC a knife but if it is carried as a weapon it is illegal. It is up to the courts to prove you are carrying it as a weapon

    Anything else you can think of

    Provided you are not carrying a banned knife (auto, balisong) and provided you are not carrying it as a weapon (ie dont tell someone you will stab someone if they mug you etc) there isnt really any limit on what you can carry with a justifiable reason. So if you are camping carrying a machete or large bowie is fine, if you use a locking knife for your job then its fine to have it when at the job or going to or from it and if you need one for a hobby like if you have an allotment and are taking a large pruning knife to it to tend to your tomatoes you are fine.

    Its common sense what a reasonable excuse is (on your part and the police officers part) but if in doubt then stick with the EDC rules above (3" cutting edge or less, none locking).

    Edit, reminded thanks to the Aussie laws, no stealth knives allowed (cane swords, blades in pens etc).

    The UK list of banned items which contains loads of "ninja weapons" does not include nunchaku for quite an amusing reason. The law was written when someone in power saw a magazine advert for a shop selling such things, and copied his stock list directly into the banned items list. Nunchaku are not banned simply because the guy didn't have any in stock when the ad was published.


    Austria
    No knives in public buildings like courthouse or federal buildings. Most schools have restrictions in the school rules too.
    No knives at large events like soccer games or concerts, not forbidden by law but by house rules
    No knives that seem to be harmless things. So no canedagger, no beltknuckle knives, no blade in a pen. These are forbidden by law and even owning them can be punished severely!

    All other knives are allowed save automatic knives and gravity knives (balisong at your own risk)

    So
    Locking: Allowed
    Fixed: Allowed
    Maximum length: carry a sword if you are 18 or older, not a problem
    Number of edges: whatever you like
    Serration: Allowed
    Automatic/assisted opening: Sure!
    Types of knives not allowed: Knives that can not be recognized being knives, so anything that seems to be harmless but has a blade.
    Anything else: You are allowed to use and to carry knives, but some people are scared here too. So you might earn suspicious looks if you carry a large fixed or tactical blade visible in public.

    Poland

    Exactly the same laws as Austria

    Hungary:
    Locking: Allowed, max 8 cm blade length
    Fixed: Legal, max 8 cm blade length
    Number of edges: whatever
    Serration: Allowed
    Automatic/assisted opening: Automatic knives are illegal, I'm not sure about assisted openings
    Anything else: Batons, Shurikens/Shakens (="Ninja Stars"), pepper spray, ballistic knives are illegal.

    Denmark
    Locking Illegal
    Fixed Illegal, unless you are carrying it to/from place of work (with legitimate need) or to/from fishing/hunting expedition - in a direct path (ie you can't stop at the supermarket and do your shopping if you're carrying the knife on your person or have it in your car)
    Maximum length Blade 7 cm (= 2 3/4")
    Number of edges Not regulated
    Serration Not regulated
    Automatic/assisted opening Illegal. Only folding knives which require both hands to open are permitted.
    Types of knives not allowed For EDC, everything that is not a folding knife with blade less than 7 cm.

    Czech Republic
    Carrying knives and other non-firing weapons is not regulated at all. But they are confiscated by police on places where is the high suspicion of immediate usage as a weapon against other people (eg. marches of football/soccer hooligans, neofascists and other radicals).

    sbillard Loaded Pockets

    AFAIK for France the law says that one cannot carry any blade (except legitimate use - defense not being a legitimate use). But case-law is a very little more tolerant. The following criterias concern case-law (don't hesitate to correct me if necessary) :

    Locking: not allowed
    Fixed: not allowed
    Maximum length: length is not a factor
    Number of edges: not allowed
    Serration: are not a factor
    Automatic/assisted opening: not allowed
    Types of knives not allowed: any blade that is fixed or can be locked
    Other characteristics that are illegal: no special caracteristics

    illusion Loaded Pockets

    Pretty much the same here in Norway..
    Ballisongs and autos are illegal!
    • Administrator

    Valerian Tea-powered admin

    Finland is easy: it's legal to buy and own any kind of blade, but it's illegal to carry them in public, unless you have a professional need or other valid reason (e.g. a carpenter or a handyman is allowed to carry a work knife). "In public" basically means around the town, or in other populated areas. It's legal to carry a knife out in the woods or when camping etc.

    (In addition to knives, it's also illegal to carry saps, batons, knucks, nunchakus and such in public. And technically also SAKs and multitools, if they have blades.)

    Locking: legal
    Fixed: legal
    Maximum length: n/a
    Number of edges: as many as you like
    Serration: legal
    Automatic/assisted opening: legal
    Types of knives not allowed: none
    Other characteristics that are illegal: a gun/knife combo would require a gun permit/licence
    Anything else you can think of: see above

    cardoso5fr Loaded Pockets

    The only factor is the locking system. Slip joint and friction folder are normally allowed to be carry. But the law officer don't know the law and they can be not very nice with somebody carrying a knife. But i have example of people controlled with bud nealy specialist in the back whose haven't got any problem. That is function of the situation and the law officer.

    The rules. No locking knife and no fixed blade.
    • In Omnia Paratus

    Enkidu Loaded Pockets

    See red text above,Information gathered from This site

    Mr. Henk Empty Pockets

    About the Dutch knife laws.
    Read this: http://www.knivesandtools.com/nl/info/messen-wetgeving.htm

    Automatic/assisted opening: illegal
    Automatic knives are legal if the blade is under 7 cm, smaller than 14mm wide, has only one edged side and has no penetrating power.

    Fixed: Allowed as far as I know
    As far as I know or have read fixed blades are not illegal, only if it has 2 edged sides (aka a dagger).

    Other characteristics that are illegal: Hand guards, blood grove
    Blood groves are not forbidden by law.
    • +2 Supporter

    Dr. Bahn Loaded Pockets

    I always thought none one-handed locking knifes are allowed in France!?! At least I used my Fällkniven TK4 for about 14 days last summer over there.... :-X

    phill Loaded Pockets

    UK (England and Wales for definite, im 90% sure Scotland is the same and Northern Ireland i would assume was the same but would check with both)

    For EDC:
    None locking (slipjoint, friction etc) only
    3 inch maximum length
    I have no reason to think this is relevent, however without checking id only recommend a single edge
    Serration is not a legal issue
    Automatic/assisted opening - autos are definetly not allowed ever, assisted openers are a grey area (you can buy them here online easily for instance) but if you were found with one you will probably be the first to go through the courts with it and you will almost certainly lose - dont be a test case unless you can afford to be the test case
    Types of knives not allowed - as well as autos, balisongs are illegal
    Other characteristics that are illegal - if it is marketed as a weapon id steer clear - this is why i wouldnt recommend a double edged blade (even though im 99% sure they are legal) because it will be viewed as a weapon first and tool second a lot more than a single edge will - you can EDC a knife but if it is carried as a weapon it is illegal. It is up to the courts to prove you are carrying it as a weapon

    Anything else you can think of:

    Provided you are not carrying a banned knife (auto, balisong) and provided you are not carrying it as a weapon (ie dont tell someone you will stab someone if they mug you etc) there isnt really any limit on what you can carry with a justifiable reason. So if you are camping carrying a machete or large bowie is fine, if you use a locking knife for your job then its fine to have it when at the job or going to or from it and if you need one for a hobby like if you have an allotment and are taking a large pruning knife to it to tend to your tomatoes you are fine.

    Its common sense what a reasonable excuse is (on your part and the police officers part) but if in doubt then stick with the EDC rules above (3" cutting edge or less, none locking).

    Edit, reminded thanks to the Aussie laws, no stealth knives allowed (cane swords, blades in pens etc).

    Woz Empty Pockets

    AUSTRIA:

    No restrictions. Auto, OTF, Dagger, Balisong - you are allowed to carry almost everything and every size.
    Exeptions:

    No knives in public buildings like courthouse or federal buildings. Most schools have restrictions in the school rules too.
    No knives at large events like soccer games or concerts, not forbidden by law but by house rules
    No knives that seem to be harmless things. So no canedagger, no beltknuckle knives, no blade in a pen. These are forbidden by law and even owning them can be punished severely!

    All other knives are allowed.

    So
    Locking: Allowed
    Fixed: Allowed
    Maximum length: carry a sword if you are 18 or older, not a problem
    Number of edges: whatever you like
    Serration: Allowed
    Automatic/assisted opening: Sure!
    Types of knives not allowed: Knives that can not be recognized being knives, so anything that seems to be harmless but has a blade.
    Anything else: You are allowed to use and to carry knives, but some people are scared here too. So you might earn suspicious looks if you carry a large fixed or tactical blade visible in public.

    Woz
    MWDP likes this.

    Ripp Loaded Pockets

    If anybody will ever wander in Poland we have the same rules as Austria. I could copy&paste Woz post, but i think there is no sense. So in case of knives - carry whatever you like.

    Wanna smile? The thing that are forbidden (non-blade):
    -replicas of baseball bat's (you can carry original one)
    -nunchaku's (to much Bruce Lee i think)
    -brass knuckles
    -and sadly handguns unless you got special permission from police (which is very very hard to get)

    RacerX Loaded Pockets

    Platinum Empty Pockets

    Hello EDC'ers and hello Woz,

    I'm an Austrian. I read the laws concearning knives and though like you, that there are no restrictions, as long as the knife is not a forbidden object, like, as you said, having the apperience of another object or being combined with a forbidden object, like brass knuckles.

    My father, who is a police officer for more than 30 years now, told me, that this is not entirey true. Automatic knives and gravity knives are NOT LEGAL in Austria, unless you are allowed to carry weapons. If you can read German, here is the court rule (Fallmesser = gravity knife): http://tinyurl.com/ptxo4e [1]

    Also, since gravity knives are forbidden, I wouldn't carry a balisong too.

    But everything else, if it comes to knives, is legal in Austria.

    A good knife-shop in Vienna has this linked on their homepage, also in German. It's an article about knife laws in Europe:
    http://www.messermagazin.de/infothek/messer_und_recht/messer_und_recht_im_ausland.pdf

    [1] Full URL, just remove the lineendings:
    http://ris.bka.gv.at/Dokument.wxe?Abfrage=Justiz&Dokumentnummer=
    JJR_19700512_OGH0002_0100OS00055_7000000_001&ResultFunction
    Token=c0ac3b45-ec52-4476-8082-fdd546b9c58d&Gericht=&Rechtssatz
    nummer=&Rechtssatz=&Fundstelle=&SucheNachRechtssatz=True&Suche
    NachText=&GZ=&VonDatum=&BisDatum=08.05.2009&Norm=&ImRisSeit
    =Undefined&ResultPageSize=50

    ChargeTTi Empty Pockets

    The UK list of banned items which contains loads of "ninja weapons" does not include nunchaku for quite an amusing reason. The law was written when someone in power saw a magazine advert for a shop selling such things, and copied his stock list directly into the banned items list. Nunchaku are not banned simply because the guy didn't have any in stock when the ad was published. ;D

    SBloke Loaded Pockets

    A lot of working getting this list done, but I think it's worth it to anyone traveling through Europe... Just imagine the *bleep* you'd be in with a Leatherman tool (locking blade) in the UK....

    on the other hand. As faras I know fixed blades are illegal in the UK. How does Ray Mears manage that with his "Woodlore" knife?
    • +2 Supporter

    Dr. Bahn Loaded Pockets

    Actually it is a great idea IMO! O0 I will do the same for Germany but I won´t have the time until next week.

    ChargeTTi Empty Pockets

    Locking blades and fixed blades are seen as the same thing by the law. "If it locks open it doesnt fold" That said, you can carry anything thats not on the banned list if you have good reason
    Ray Mears has a good reason, he is in the woods doing bushcrafty things. :)

    You do not need a good reason to carry a kinfe whose blade has a cutting edge of three inches or less and can fold without having to operate a button or mechanism to let it fold.

    phill Loaded Pockets

    Its one of the all time greatest scenes in film imo, i also didnt mean to post that link in this thread, lol.

    Charge has basically covered this, but i just wanted to add that a list like this is so good because its so easy to get the impression that Europe is very anti knife when you only see the sound bites of politicians as reported by the media plus the general (accidental) misinformation that happens.

    I dont have a link to hand, but whenever politicians talk on the subject they use sweeping statements like "we plan to introduce a minimum sentence of 5 years for anyone found carrying a knife". Of course the law doesnt work that way and society would grind to a halt if it meant all knives all the time and what they mean is they want to have a 5 year minimum sentence for anyone illegally carrying a knife - it also doesnt help that when you have those weird one in a million cases happen its those that are concentrated on and reported on forums such as this one, so you end up with an opinion of the situation which isnt close to the actual reality.

    Daniel_sk Empty Pockets

    I don't know of any knife regulations in Slovakia, you can probably carry whatever you want. I hope this won't change anytime soon.