Danish nationwide registries were used to investigate temporal trends in initiation of rivaroxaban or apixaban or dabigatran versus Vitamin K antagonists (VKA) in patients with venous thromboembolism (VTE). Patients treated with one of the NOACs (rivaroxaban, dabigatran, apixaban) or VKA were identified between February 2012 and September 2016. A total of 19,578 patients were included of which 10,844 (55.4%) were treated with VKA and 8,734 (44.6%) were treated with NOACs (rivaroxaban 7,572, apixaban 1,066, and dabigatran 96). Temporal trends showed a decrease in the initiation of VKA (p-value for decreasing trend, p < 0001) and an increase in the initiation of rivaroxaban and apixaban (p-value for increasing trend, p < 0001). By September 2016, 12%, 70%, 16%, and 2% of patients with VTE were initiated on VKA, rivaroxaban, apixaban, and dabigatran. Patients with previous VTE, chronic kidney disease, liver disease, cancer, and thrombophilia were more likely to be initiated on VKA compared with one of the NOACs. In conclusion the initiation of rivaroxaban and apixaban is increasing significantly over time in patients with VTE. Patients with previous VTE, chronic kidney disease, liver disease, cancer, and thrombophilia were more likely to be initiated on VKA compared with rivaroxaban or apixaban.