Denmark Government and Politics

By | December 18, 2021

Political and administrative order. – The current political constitution (Grundlov) of June 5, 1915 is a development of that of June 5, 1849, which introduced the parliamentary regime in Denmark. It was modified by the law of 10 September 1920 only because it was necessary to take into account the annexation of northern Slesvig (Schleswig). The monarchy is hereditary in the male line of the house of Slesvig-Holstein-Sönderburg-Glücksburg. The king, who must belong to the Lutheran confession, is the head of the executive power, which he exercises through his ministers: declares war, signs peace, and concludes treaties, but the approval of the diet is necessary for those who surrender part of the national territory or modify existing laws. The king also has the right to sanction laws. The diet (Rigsdag) meets every year on the first Tuesday in October. It consists of two chambers: 1. the Senate (Landsting): 76 members with a term of 8 years, half of which are eligible every four years; 56 are elected by indirect suffrage by the voters for the second chamber who have reached the age of 35, 19 are elected by the previous Landsting, both with the system of proportional representation; 2. the Chamber of Deputies (Folketing), elected by all citizens (men and women) who have reached the age of 25; 149 members, of which 117 elected in 23 constituencies according to the proportional representation system, 31 distributed to the various parties based on the votes obtained in the various constituencies other than those for which they have already been mandated, 1 elected by simple majority from the Fœrœer islands. Folketing’s powers last for four years, but the king can dissolve it even earlier. A popular vote is required for amendments to the constitution. The ministers form the Council of State (Statsraadet) under the presidency of the king: they are accountable to the king and parliament.

Administratively the country is divided into 22 provinces (Amter) 88 urban municipalities and about 1300 rural municipalities: all the municipalities have a council elected with the system of proportional representation. Copenhagen has a special regime.

Justice is administered by courts of first instance, by three appellate courts and by the supreme court (Højesteret), whose members, together with other judges elected by the Landsting, make up the Rigsret, a court that can only judge the ministers placed in state indictment by parliament.

The relations between Denmark and Iceland, recognized as an independent state, are governed by the federative treaty (Sambandslov) of 30 November 1918 valid until 1943. According to it, Denmark and Iceland have in common only the king and a committee consultative for common affairs, half elected by the Danish Rigsdag and half by the Icelandic National Assembly. Iceland’s foreign affairs are handled by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and by diplomatic and consular agents of Denmark: but the treaties concluded by the latter, after the stipulation of the Sambandslov, are mandatory for Iceland only with the consent of the government of that state. Danish citizens enjoy the same civil rights in Iceland and Icelandic citizens in Denmark as nationals.

Religion. – The national church, of Lutheran evangelical confession, had (in 1921), 3.2 million members, 97.9% of the total population. Freedom of religion is complete: the Protestant communities dissident from the national church are constantly increasing and in 1921 had 21,471 members. Furthermore, while the Israelites amount to 5947 residents, And the 12,744 not enrolled in any religious community, the members of the Catholic Church are 22,137. Today the Catholic Church is represented in Denmark by an apostolic vicar, titular bishop of Roskilde, residing in Copenhagen. The national church, on the other hand, is organized under the primatial see of Seeland (Copenhagen) in nine kinds of dioceses which, besides Seeland, are: Aalborg, Aarhus, Odense (Funen), Haderslev, Nykøbing (Laaland-Falster), Ribe, Roskilde and Viborg. For Denmark religion, please check

Army. – Military service is compulsory, but the number of men called to arms annually is limited to 9,000. Stops vary with weapons: 5 months, for infantry; 7 months, for the artillery; About 14 months for the cavalry. Reservists are required to complete two 4-week periods. Danes who are not incorporated into the active army receive a two-month brief military education, so that they can then serve in the “landsturm” in case of need.

Three divisions were formed with the active troops: two from Jütland, with the headquarters in Senderborg and Viborg, and one from Seeland, with the command stationed in Copenhagen. The infantry comprises 11 regiments, each of 2 battalions of 4 active companies, two in reserve and a company of machine guns; the guard includes an active battalion, a reserve battalion and a company of machine guns; in all 35 battalions. The cavalry is made up of 3 regiments, each of two active squadrons and one in reserve. The field artillery includes: 3 regiments of 9 batteries of 75, and 18 batteries of heavy and shore artillery. The genius includes 3 pioneer battalions on 3 companies and a telegraph battalion on 4 companies.

Marina. – The Danish navy, after having had in the past centuries periods of splendor that corresponded to the moments of predominance of Denmark in the Scandinavian union, and allowed it to sustain long struggles with the Hanseatic league, has been declining following the blow inflicted on it by ‘England in the Battle of Copenhagen and is to be counted among the minor navies. It includes: the coastal battleship Niels Juel, launched in 1918, of 3900 tons. and 16 knots, armed with 10/152; the coastal battleship Peder Skram, launched in 1908, of 3800 tons. and 16 knots, armed with 2/240 and 4/152; the two coastal armored H. Trolle and OR. Fischer, of 1899-1903, of 3700 tons. and 16 knots armed like the previous ones; the protected cruiser Hejmdall, of 1894, of 1300 tons. and 17 knots; three 300-ton torpedo boats and 28 knots armed with 8 x 450 launch tubes under construction; 20 torpedo boats of 100-300 tons. and 21-27 knots; five submarines of 1920-24 of 300 tons. and 14 knots in emergence, 380 tons. and 9.5 knots in immersion armed with 5-6 450 laucio tubes; eleven smaller submarines of 180-200 tons. and 13-6.8 knots. In addition, some subsidiary units, including the royal ship, some minelayers, torpedo boats and submarines, etc. The staff is about 4,000 men, including officers.

Aviation. – It is currently tending towards its unification, which will be able to give greater yield. Navy aviation is concentrated in Amager (Copenhagen) and that of the army near Amager. In 1931, a flying school of land-based aircraft for the navy will operate in Agnø. The army school will be relocated from its current location in Amager to Tofilund. Military aviation is concentrated in a single department that also functions as a school. It is equipped with Heinkel and Fokker C equipment. 5. Given the tendency to disarm, scarce sums are dedicated to it (2 and a half million crowns in 1930).

Finance. – The Danish budget is made up of two parts: the ordinary budget, which includes ordinary income and expenses, and the extraordinary budget, which includes loans, sales of state property, capital investments and, from the financial year 1925-26 , also the expenses for the service of the public debt. The ordinary budget in the last financial years is, except for 1928-29, in surplus, as can be seen from this mirror (figures in millions of crowns):

The main income assets are direct and indirect taxes, the income of state enterprises, lotteries, state property. The most important items of expenditure are those for the Ministry of Social Affairs, for public education and for military defense. The public debt of Denmark was contracted in part to fill the large deficits of the years preceding the formation of the parliamentary government and in part for the construction of railways, ports, lighthouses and other public works: as of March 31, 1929 the total amount of public debt was 75.6 million pounds of which 39.8 million of foreign debt.

The monetary unit is the crown 100 øre, equal to 1.38 francs gold and 1 / 18 Pound. The amount of national bank notes in circulation at the end of ’29 was equivalent to 367 million crowns.

Denmark Government