How Denmark is governed
Denmark is a representative democracy where the most important decisions are made by elected politicians in the Danish Parliament, the regional councils or the local councils.
State, region and municipality
In Denmark, public sector tasks are divided between the State, the regions and the municipalities.
The State, a collective term for the Danish ministries and a number of institutions, has the overall responsibility for running the country. Among other things, the State is responsible for taxation, youth and higher education and foreign policy.
Denmark has five regions, their primary task being the running of the public health care service.
The 98 municipalities are the citizens’ entry to the public sector services. The municipalities are responsible for a wide range of tasks close to the daily lives of citizens, among other things employment, citizens’ services, childcare and primary and lower secondary education.
Tripartition of power: Legislative, executive and judiciary
In Denmark, the legislative, the executive and the judiciary are three independent branches.
The Danish parliament, Folketinget, is the legislative power which passes legislation in Denmark. The Danish parliament has 179 members who are elected for a four-year period. The prime minister may call a general election before the end of the election period.
Read about general elections
The executive power is the government and the public administration – State, regions and municipalities – which uphold the laws passed by the Danish parliament.
The government will typically consist of ministers from several parties. The government is headed by the prime minister, who appoints ministers for specific departments.
The government prepares bills which must be passed by the Danish parliament. Governmental institutions, regions and municipalities are responsible for the implementation of Danish acts.
The judiciary is the system of courts which decides whether Danish legislation is complied with. The courts of law are independent.
There are 24 city courts, two high courts and one supreme court. The city court will typically be the court of first instance and city court decisions can be appealed to the high courts. High court decisions can be appealed to the Danish Supreme Court, but Supreme Court decisions cannot be appealed.
Democracy and freedom of speech
Denmark is a democratic society characterised by freedom, obligations and rights for everyone irrespective of gender, skin colour, cultural background, religion and sexual orientation.
Everyone is free to think, speak and write, form societies or practise their religion. Personal liberty and equality are fundamental to Danish society, and liberty is limited only by the duty to respect other people’s rights to freedom and equality.