Folketinget: The Danish Parliament in Copenhagen

Marked by a series of medieval-style clerestory windows, Folketinget, the Danish parliament, is a structure to look out for on your next trip to Copenhagen. This 18th-century Folketinget peacefully spreads out on the islet of Slotsholmen, representing the unicameral national parliament and the legislative power of the Kingdom of Denmark. The Danish Parliament is made up of 179 MPs from various political parties. 175 Members of Parliament are elected in Denmark, two in the Faeroe Islands, and two in Greenland.

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The Faeroes and Greenland form the Unity of the Realm with Denmark, and they were each awarded two members in the Danish Parliament by an amendment to the Constitutional Act in 1953. The Danish parliament is not only a site where significant national decisions are made, but it is also home to several paintings and artworks that are strewn around the structure. You may take a virtual tour of the impressive facilities or browse the collection online to learn more about the parliament

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The Folketing was one of two chambers of the bicameral parliament known as the Rigsdag from 1849 to 1953; the other house was called Landstinget. Because both houses had equal power in theory, the phrases “upper house” and “lower house” were rarely employed. The difference between the houses was the proportion of voters in each. The Folketing comprised mostly of independent farmers, traders, merchants and the educated classes, chosen by popular vote among males. The Landsting’s right to vote was confined to the richest from 1866 to 1915, and part of the members were nominated by the monarch, thus it mostly represented the landed gentry and other conservatives.

Since 1915, both men and women have had the right to vote in both chambers, and the Landsting, like the Folketing, is elected by popular vote, but indirectly and with a greater age restriction than the Folketing. During the following decades, lawmaking was mostly done in the Folketing, and the Landsting was considered as a redundant rubber stamp. A Danish administration, unlike most other parliamentary systems, can never be certain that its legislative agenda will succeed, and so it gathers a majority for each article of legislation.

An unwieldy enormity in a pinkish-brown hue enticed me to admire this dynamic structure at first glance. This historic signature style architecture represents Denmark’s monarchy at its finest. I noticed similar architectural styles characterised by notable features throughout Folketinget, which is located close to Borgen and the Christiansborg Palace. I was only here for a brief picture stop, but if you have the time, I highly recommend taking a guided tour of the interiors. This tour will take you through the regal reception halls, staterooms, apartments, royal chapel, and tower of Folketing.

The fascinating history of the Folketinget unfolds on several levels, from a unique paternoster lift to the copper Tårnet capped with a compass axis. Furthermore, the Tårnet is Copenhagen’s tallest building, and its rooftop terrace is said to provide the greatest city views. There is no charge for a tour of the tower, and you can even treat yourself to a meal at Restaurant Tårnet. It’s worth noting that the restaurant and the tower’s viewing platform have distinct lines. To reach the tower, take the lift from the King’s Gate entrance. The ideal times to visit Folketinget are between 11 a.m. and noon and 4 p.m. and 5.30 p.m.

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