Municipality (Denmark)

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Denmark is divided into 98 municipalities.

The municipality is the smallest independent political and organizational unit in Denmark . The local self-government is enshrined in the Danish Constitution ( Grundlov § 82).

In the official EU statistics, the Danish municipalities form the LAU 1 level . A Danish municipality has an average of around 55,000 inhabitants ( England 137,000, Sweden 30,800, Germany 5,600). The median - or the “typical size” of a municipality - is 43,000 in Denmark, 119,500 in England, 15,500 in Sweden and 1,300 in Germany. In Germany, 80 percent of the municipalities have less than 5,000 inhabitants, in Denmark it is only three percent: specifically the island municipalities of Læsø , Fanø and Samsø .


The highest body of a municipality is the democratically elected municipal council (Danish: Kommunalbestyrelse ; in some municipalities byråd , German city council; in Copenhagen borgerrepræsentation , German citizen representation) with the mayor ( borgmester ) at the head of the administration.

The chief official is the municipality director ( kommunaldirektør ; in Aarhus Kommune and Odense Kommune stadsdirektør ).

Main tasks

  • Social, healthcare, elderly care
  • Schools and kindergartens
  • Job centre
  • Roads and paths (except motorways and trunk roads)
  • Citizens' Registration Office, passports, driver's licenses
  • Parks, town planning, libraries
  • Local public transport


In a European comparison, the Danish municipalities have the greatest independence in financing their tasks.

You raise a municipal tax ( Kommuneskat ) independently . This is an income tax on private income (over 86 percent of tax revenue) and various property taxes (a good 11 percent). The tax rates have to be negotiated with the Minister of Finance by the Central Association of Communes Landsforening (KL) . In 2015, the average tax rate was 24.9 percent.

In addition, there is income from municipal taxes (administration and user fees). In addition, there are state key allocations ( bloktilstud ) and reimbursement of costs for state-imposed obligations of the municipalities.

In contrast to German municipal finances, more than 40 percent of which are derived from trade tax , income from trade tax in Denmark ( selskabsskat ) largely goes to the state. The portion that is ceded to the municipalities only accounts for around 2 percent of the municipal tax revenue.


According to the law, local elections take place every four years on the third Tuesday in November. The legislative period begins on January 1st and ends after four years at the turn of the year.

The most recent local and regional elections took place on November 21, 2017. The Social Democrats remained the strongest party, followed by the right-wing liberal Venstre . Newly started, Alternativet achieved 2.9 percent. The other parties saw little change. Local groups of voters and individual applicants received less than four percent of the vote.

The mayors are not elected directly by the people, but in the newly composed local councils. When the municipal council is constituted , the majority parliamentary groups conclude an agreement ( konstitueringsaftale ) that includes the distribution of posts and outlines important projects. Coalitions across the political camps in national politics are not unusual.

At sight

The municipalities are subject to state municipal supervision , exercised between 2013 and 2019 by the central state administration, Statsforvaltningen . Local supervision has been with Ankestyrelsen since 2019 . It only acts in addition to the technical supervision by the ministries. Here, the municipalities have an obligation to provide information to the minister within the scope of his department.

Administrative reform 2007

In an administrative reform on January 1, 2007 , the number of municipalities was reduced from 270, of which Bornholm (merged in 2003 after referendum on May 29, 2001) and Ærø Kommune (merged in 2006 after referendum and part of the reform), to 98. 67 municipalities were newly formed during the reform, including Ærø, and one, Bornholm, before the reform, i.e. 68 newly formed municipalities in all. Only 30 parishes remained untouched, 68 were formed through amalgamation. At the same time, the administrative districts , located between the state and municipal levels, were dissolved. Most of their tasks have been shifted to the municipalities, which at the same time have been assigned new tasks by the legislature. There were three referendums (1992 and 2000 in three municipalities and in one municipality (only Sydlangeland municipality ) February 12, 2003) on Langeland , where there were three municipalities. The last one, which took place in only one municipality, was in favor of a merger, but Langeland didn't decide to merge until January 1, 2007, like the other municipalities.

To prepare for the mergers, merger committees ( sammenlægningsudvalg ) were formed in the affected municipalities on January 1, 2006 : They consisted of the municipal representatives elected in the November 2005 municipal elections. The municipal councils elected in 2001 remained in office for an additional year in order to carry out everyday business. It follows that re-elected local politicians had a seat and vote in both bodies.

Faroe Islands and Greenland

There are 29 municipalities in the self-governing Faroe Islands . Even Greenland has recently strongly reforming its administrative divisions: Since 2018 there are five municipalities.

See also


  • Jens Garde, Karsten Revsbech: Kommunalret . 3. Edition. Jurist- and Ökonomforbundets Forlag, Copenhagen 2011, ISBN 978-87-574-2202-3 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Overview of the administrative structures in the EU ( Memento of the original from July 13, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. from Eurostat @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. Poul Erik Mouritzen (red.): Stort er godt. Otte fortællinger om tilblivelsen af ​​de nye kommuner . Syddansk Universitetsforlag, Odense 2006, ISBN 87-7674-185-0 , p. 19.
  3. Centrale skattesatser i skattelovgivningen 2008–2015 Skatteministeriet, accessed on January 22, 2015.
  4. Facts on the budget situation of the municipalities (Danish) ( Memento of the original from May 18, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Kommunernes Landsforening 2012, accessed January 24, 2015. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /