08 August


The Danish Parliament “Borgen”

By Margaret Forrest 2014 Bursary No Comments

On a recent personal trip to Copenhagen I visited Christiansborg Palace, the home of the Danish Parliament.  This was particularly thrilling for me as someone who is a big fan of the Danish TV show Borgen.  Borgen is the nickname for Christiansborg Palace and means “the Castle”.

The first castle on this site was built in 1167.  The current palace is the third building erected on this site and was completed in 1928.  The main tower of the palace is the tallest tower in Copenhagen and it provides a magnificent view of the city from above.  Despite the clouds, I could even see the bridge that links Denmark to Sweden.

View from Tower

View of Copenhagen from the Christiansborg Palace Tower.

As well as the Parliament, the palace is home to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Supreme Court.  Several parts of the palace are also still used by the Monarchy (the Royal Reception Rooms, the Palace Chapel and the Royal Stables), making this the only building in the world that houses all three branches of a country’s government.  Similar to Australia, Denmark is a constitutional monarchy. Denmark now has a unicameral parliament known as the Folketing after the Upper House was abolished in 1953.

Because members are elected via a system of proportional representation, the Danish political system has traditionally generated coalitions.  Since 1901, no party has won the 90 seats necessary for an absolute majority.  Interestingly, it is not a requirement that government ministers hold a seat in parliament.  After the most recent general election that took place on 18 June this year, the Liberals formed a minority government supported by three right-wing parties, the Danish People’s Party, the Liberal Alliance and the Conservative People’s Party.