To assess the association between use of glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists and risk of serious renal events in routine clinical practice.This was a cohort study using an active-comparator, new-user design and nationwide register data from Sweden, Denmark, and Norway during 2010-2016. The cohort included 38,731 new users of GLP-1 receptor agonists (liraglutide 92.5%, exenatide 6.2%, lixisenatide 0.7%, and dulaglutide 0.6%), matched 1:1 on age, sex, and propensity score to a new user of the active comparator, dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP-4) inhibitors. The main outcome was serious renal events, a composite including renal replacement therapy, death from renal causes, and hospitalization for renal events. Secondary outcomes were the individual components of the main outcome. Hazard ratios (HRs) were estimated using Cox models and an intention-to-treat exposure definition. Mean (SD) follow-up time was 3.0 (1.7) years.Mean (SD) age of the study population was 59 (10) years, and 18% had cardiovascular disease. A serious renal event occurred in 570 users of GLP-1 receptor agonists (incidence rate 4.8 events per 1,000 person-years) and in 722 users of DPP-4 inhibitors (6.3 events per 1,000 person-years, HR 0.76 [95% CI 0.68-0.85], absolute difference -1.5 events per 1,000 person-years [-2.1 to -0.9]). Use of GLP-1 receptor agonists was associated with a significantly lower risk of renal replacement therapy (HR 0.73 [0.62-0.87]) and hospitalization for renal events (HR 0.73 [0.65-0.83]) but not death from renal causes (HR 0.72 [0.48-1.10]). When we used an as treated exposure definition in which patients were censored at treatment cessation or switch to the other study drug, the HR for the primary outcome was 0.60 (0.49-0.74).In this large cohort of patients seen in routine clinical practice in three countries, use of GLP-1 receptor agonists, as compared with DPP-4 inhibitors, was associated with a reduced risk of serious renal events.