Administrative division of Denmark

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In addition to the continental European heartland, the Kingdom of Denmark also includes the autonomous outer regions of the Faroe Islands and Greenland . The constitutional unity of motherland and former possessions is known as the "Reichsgemeinschaft" (Danish rigsfællesskabet ). Since January 1st 2007, the administrative structure of the Danish heartland comprises five regions and 98 municipalities. The districts / districts (Danish amt ) were abolished in the course of a local government reform. Your responsibilities have been divided between regional and local levels.


Denmark's regions (since 2007)

Since January 1, 2007 there are five regions, population as of January 1, 2020:

region Administrative headquarters made up from population
(North Jutland )
Aalborg the former Nordjyllands office , the Mariager municipality of the former Århus office and parts of the former Viborg office 589.936
(Central Jutland)
Viborg the former Ringkjøbing office , the Århus office without the Mariager municipality and parts of the former offices of Viborg and Vejle 1,326,340
(Southern Denmark)
Vejle the former offices of Fyn , Ribe and Sønderjylland ( North Schleswig ) and parts of the former office of Vejle 1,223,105
( Zealand including the islands of Møn , Lolland and Falster )
Soro the former offices of Roskilde , Storstrøm and Vestsjælland 837.359
(capital Copenhagen and surroundings plus Bornholm )
Hillerød the former København office and the former Frederiksborg office as well as the formerly free municipalities of København , Frederiksberg and Bornholm 1,846,023

The main tasks of the regions are:

  • Hospitals
  • Public health insurance (reimbursement of treatment costs for general practitioners and specialists)
  • psychiatry
  • Offers for the severely disabled
  • Regional development framework for the areas of nature, environment, teaching and culture. The local authorities are responsible for the practical implementation.

Compared to the previous administrative districts, the tasks of the regions are limited. The regions no longer have an independent right to tax, but are financed by state key allocations.


Denmark's 98 municipalities (since 2007)
Municipalities by population
population Number of municipalities
Apr 1,
April 1,
Jan. 1,
> 150,000 1 4th 4th
100,000 - 150,000 3 1 2
40,000 - 100,000 10 18th 50
20,000-40,000 22nd 25th 35
15,000-20,000 13 2 0
10,000-15,000 22nd 41 3
3,000 - 10,000 206 160 3
<3,000 821 2 1
All in all 1,098 275 98

At the regional level, the country is divided into 98 municipalities . With a typical size of over 30,000 inhabitants, the Danish municipalities are among the third largest (1st  Great Britain , 2nd  Ireland ) in Europe and worldwide. 25 municipalities have fewer than 30,000 inhabitants (2010). The smallest municipalities are Vallensbæk , Dragør and Langeland with fewer than 17,000 inhabitants (2018), and Læsø , Fanø , Samsø and Ærø with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants; the last five are special cases as islands .

With the enlargement of the municipalities in 2007, the municipal tasks were expanded. This should enable the municipalities to further develop and streamline the public service . However, opponents feared that the gap between citizens and local politicians could become too great and that rural areas and villages in particular could suffer as a result of austerity measures. The Association of Danish Small Islands fears consequences such as school closings , reduced care for the elderly , restrictions in ferry traffic and restrictions in the maintenance of the dykes .

Christiansø and Frederiksø are the only areas in Denmark that are not part of the municipality. As a result, residents do not pay any municipal tax. The islands are subordinate to the Ministry of Defense , which is represented by an administrator on Christiansø.

Historical administrative divisions

Oldest structures

Medieval division in Syssel .
The Landstinge in the Middle Ages

The oldest division of the country were the Syssel and Harden , which emerged in the early Viking Age . The Landstinge above the Hardentinge existed in Viborg ( Nørrejylland ), Urnehoved ( Sønderjylland ), Ringsted ( Danish Islands ) and Lund ( Skåneland ). In the Middle Ages, the division into fiefdoms followed a feudal model, mostly subordinate to a manor house . Around 1200 the Duchy of Schleswig was formed, which remained connected to the kingdom as a royal Danish fiefdom, but developed its own administrative structures in part (see Ämter und Harden in Schleswig ).

Dioceses (from 10th century)

Danish dioceses in the Middle Ages
founding Diocese Cathedral city area annotation
948 Diocese of Schleswig Schleswig Schleswig / South Jutland At the time of the divisions of 1490–1523 / 1544–1711, the diocese included both the royal, the ducal and jointly ruled parts in Schleswig, unless it belonged to the diocese of Ripen. 1864/67 Prussian
948 Diocese of Ripen Ribe West Jutland
948 Diocese of Aarhus Aarhus East Jutland
988 Diocese of Funen Odense Funen , Langeland ; Lolland and Falster until 1803; Ærø and Alsen until 1815
991 Diocese of Roskilde Roskilde Sjælland , Møn and from 1653 Bornholm 1536–1922 “Diocese of Zealand”, 1922 Diocese of Copenhagen spun off
1060 Diocese of Viborg Viborg Central Jutland
1060 Aalborg diocese Aalborg North Jutland Initially “Diocese of Vendelbo” with a bishopric in Vestervig , from 1130 “Diocese of Børglum” with its seat in Børglum . 1554 diocese of Aalborg
1066 Diocese of Lund Lund Skåne , Halland , Blekinge , Bornholm 1103 Archdiocese . 1653 to Sweden , Bornholm to the Diocese of Zealand
1803 Diocese of Lolland-Falster Maribo Lolland, Falster spun off from the diocese of Funen
1819 Alsen-Ærø diocese Egen Alsen , Ærø Out of the Diocese of Funen. Alsen 1864/67 Prussian and under Schleswig, Ærø to the diocese of Funen
1922 Diocese of Copenhagen Copenhagen Baltic Sea country
1922 Diocese of Hadersleben Haderslev Eastern South and South Jutland, Alsen, Ærø Areas ceded to Denmark 1920-22 temporarily under Ribe
1961 Diocese of Helsingør Elsinore Northern Zealand Out of the diocese of Copenhagen

With the Reformation, the dioceses were in 1536 deaneries divided, the limits on the Harden -oriented.

17th and 18th centuries

After the introduction of absolutism , King Friedrich III. Divide Denmark into 44 administrative districts (Danish amt ) in 1662 .

Denmark's administrative districts 1662–1793
No. District No. District No. District
1 Åstrup, Sejlstrup, B ?? ørglum Amt 16 Koldinghus Office 31 Ringsted Office
2 Dueholm, Ørum, Vestervig Amt 17th Stjernholm Office 32 Korsør Office
3 Ålborghus Office 18th Hindsgavl Office 33 Antvorskov Office
4th Skivehus Office 19th Assen's office 34 Sorø Office
5 Mariager Monastery Office 20th Rugård Office 35 Sæbygård Office
6th Hald office 21st Odensegård Office 36 Kalundborg Office
7th Dronningborg Office 22nd Nyborg Office 37 Holbæk Office
8th Bøvling Office 23 Tranekær Office 38 Dragsholm Office
9 Lundenæs Office 24 Halsted Klosters Office 39 Jægerspris office
10 Silkeborg Office 25th Ålholm Office 40 Kronborg Office
11 Kalø Office 26th Nykøbing Office 41 Frederiksborg Office
12 Skanderborg Office 27 Møn Amt 42 Hørsholm Office
13 Havreballegård Office 28 Vordingborg Office 43 København's office
14th Åkær Office 29 Tryggevælde Office 44 Bornholm's office
15th Riberhus Office 30th Roskilde Office

For the duchy of Schleswig, which is connected as a fief and in personal union with Denmark, see the article Ämter und Harden in Schleswig .

From 1793 to 1970

After the formation of the entire Danish state , the administrative districts were enlarged and redesigned in 1793. This structure was essentially retained until 1970.

Denmark's administrative districts 1920–1970.
No. 13 and 14 were merged in 1932
No. District No. District No. District
01 Hjørring Office 09 Skanderborg Office (from 1824) 17th Holbæk Office
02 Thisted office 10 Vejle Office 18th Frederiksborg Office
03 Ålborg Office 11 Tønder Office 1 19th København's office
04th Viborg Office 12 Haderslev Office 1 20th Roskilde Amt (until 1808, then to K ?? øbenhavn's office)
05 Rander's office 13 Aabenraa Office 1,2 21st Sorø Office
06th Ringkøbing Office 14th Sønderborg Amt 1,2 22nd Præstø Amt (from 1803)
07th Ribe office 15th Odense Office 23 Maribo Office
08th Aarhus Office 16 Svendborg Office 24 Bornholm's office
1 These offices were set up in 1920 following the cession of North Schleswig to Denmark on the basis of a provision in the Versailles Treaty .
2 Sønderborg Amt and Aabenraa Amt were partially merged in 1932 to form the Aabenraa-Sønderborg Amt .

From 1970 to 2007

Denmark numbered by old ISO-3166-2-01.png

On April 1, 1970, the 23 offices (administrative districts) were replaced by 14 municipal authorities. The municipalities of Copenhagen and Frederiksberg carried out the official municipal tasks themselves because of their special requirements (metropolitan area).

At the same time, this reform reduced the number of municipalities. The municipalities were established in 1841, then in 1021. In addition, there were the towns with market rights (Danish: købstad ). The number of cities and rural communities had peaked in 1965 at 1345 (88 cities and 1257 rural communities). With the municipal reform in 1970, the title Købstad disappeared from the official vocabulary, the Harden ( Danish herred ) were also abolished and the number of municipalities was reduced from 1,098 to 277 after some voluntary amalgamations at the end of the 1960s. In 1974 the municipalities of Sengeløse and Høje-Taastrup were merged to form Høje-Taastrup Kommune and Store Magleby and Dragør to form Dragør Kommune . The number of municipalities was thus 275.

List of Danish municipalities (Danish offices ) 1970–2007
coat of arms Surname serial number
at the same time as ISO code
Administrative headquarters Geographical location Population
in km²
per km²
Københavns byvåben 1894.png Københavns Municipality
Free city
101 Copenhagen East Zealand 501.158 91.3 5,489.1
Frederiksberg Commune coa.svg Frederiksbergs Kommune
Official City
147 Frederiksberg Enclave in Københavns Municipality 91,855 8.7 10,560.5
København's office coa.svg København's office 015 Glostrup Outskirts of Copenhagen 618,529 526 1,175.9
Frederiksborg amt coa.svg Frederiksborg Office 020 Hillerød North Zealand 378.686 1,347 281.1
Roskilde amt coa.svg Roskilde Office 025 Roskilde Central Zealand 241,523 891 271
Vestsjællands amt coa.svg Vestsjællands Amt 030 Soro West Zealand 307.207 2,984 103
Storstrøms amt coa.svg Storstrom's Office 035 Nykøbing South Zealand , Lolland , Falster , Møn 262,781 3,398 77.3
Fyns amt coa.svg Fyn's office 042 Odense Funen , Langeland , Ærø 478,347 3,485 137.2
Sønderjyllands amt coa.svg Sønderjyllands Amt 050 Aabenraa South Jutland , Rømø , Alsen 252,433 3,939 64.1
Ribe amt coa.svg Ribe office 055 Ribe South West Jutland 224.261 3.132 71.6
Vejle amt coa.svg Vejle Office 060 Vejle Southeast Jutland 360.921 2,997 120.4
Ringkjøbing amt coa.svg Ringkjøbing Office 065 Ringkøbing West Jutland 275.065 4,854 56.7
Viborg amt coa.svg Viborg Office 076 Viborg Northwest Jutland 234,896 4.122 57
Nordjyllands amt coa.svg Nordjyllands Amt 080 Ålborg North Jutland 495.090 6,173 80.2
Århus amt coa.svg Aarhus Office 070 Aarhus Northeast Jutland 661,370 4,561 145
Bornholms regional municipality coa.svg Bornholm's office
from Jan. 1, 2003 regional commune
040 Rønne Bornholm Island 43,245 587 73.6
total 5,427,459 43.093 125.9

Note: Ringkjøbing Amt was officially spelled differently than its administrative seat Ringkøbing .

Mergers through 2006 and major local government reform

From 1970 to 2007, many changes were discussed, but few were implemented. In recent years, the relatively small and financially weak municipalities on the islands of Bornholm (five municipalities in 2003) and Ærø (two municipalities in 2006) have been merged into island-wide municipalities. Bornholm's office , which had existed unchanged as an administrative district since 1662, became an unofficial "regional commune" on January 1, 2003 Bornholms regional commune . That leaves 270 municipalities and 13 official municipalities (districts).

On Langeland , two referendums were held in 1992 and 2000 in the island's three municipalities. One reason was to avoid a feared possible merger with Svendborg Municipality . Sydlangeland Commune was against amalgamation in both. On February 12, 2003 there was a referendum only in the Sydlangeland municipality. The last one was positive for a merger, which was only implemented on January 1, 2007 in the course of the state-wide municipal reform.

With this reform, only 30 of the 268 municipalities that had existed since 1974 remained unchanged (and of course Bornholm and Ærø , which had only been established a few years earlier). The remaining 238 municipalities were combined into 66 large municipalities, so that now, together with the two municipalities that were established in 2003 and 2006 and the 30 unaffected municipalities, Denmark is divided into 98 municipalities. At the same time the official communes (districts) were abolished. Five regions were newly established . Compared to the previous administrative districts, the tasks of the regions are limited. The regions no longer have an independent right to tax, but are financed by state key allocations. Other competencies were transferred to the municipalities.


Individual evidence

  1. Statistics banks -> Befolkning og valg -> FOLK1A: Folketal den 1. i kvartalet efter tid og område (Danish)
  2. ^ Reform meets small islands , Danmarks Radio , June 2, 2007 (Danish)
  3. ^ Statistical yearbook for Denmark 2013
  4. Per Ingesman: Kirken , in: Leon Jespersen (Red.), Dansk forvaltningshistorie , Vol. 1, Copenhagen 2000. ISBN 87-574-7691-8 . Pp. 730-754, pp. 741.
  5. Grethe Jensen, Benito Scocozza: Politics bog om danskerne og verden. Hvem Hvad Hvornår i 50 år. Politics Forlag. København 1996. ISBN 87-567-5697-6 . P. 168.

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