Counties of Denmark

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The Counties of Denmark (Danish: Danmarks amter) were former subdivisions of metropolitan Denmark, used primarily for administrative regions, with each county having its own council with substantial powers. Originally there had been twenty-four counties, but the number was reduced to roughly fourteen in 1970 - the number fluctuated slightly over the next three decades. In 2006 there were thirteen traditional counties as well as three municipalities with county status (the island of Bornholm, which was a county until 2003, became a regional municipality with county powers). On January 1, 2007, the counties were replaced by five larger regions.

Copenhagen County comprised all the municipalities of Metropolitan Copenhagen, except Copenhagen Municipality and Frederiksberg Municipality which, on account of their peculiarity of being outside any of the traditional counties, had the equivalent of "county status". On January 1, 2007, these two municipalities lost their special status.

Greenland and the Faroe Islands are also part of the Danish Realm, but both enjoy internal autonomy. Both are largely self-governing, and each community sends two members to the Danish Parliament. The Faroe Islands obtained self-government in 1948; from 1816 to 1948 the islands had the status of a Danish county.

Reform[edit]

A government proposal in 2004 called for the counties to be replaced by five large regions with health care as their main responsibilities; two regions in Jutland, two regions in Zealand and one region covering Funen and the southernmost part of Jutland. The proposal also required the municipalities to merge reducing them from 271 to about 100, with a minimum of 20,000 inhabitants in each municipality, although some exceptions were made to this rule. From 2007 25 municipalities have fewer than 30,000 inhabitants each, with the average number of inhabitants being over 55,500 per municipality. Only the United Kingdom and Ireland have more populous entities at the lowest political administrative level.

The reform was confirmed by the Danish Parliament on February 24, 2005, and the counties were abolished on January 1, 2007.

List of counties (1970-2006)[edit]

Map of Denmark showing the former counties

The thirteen counties + the three first-level municipalities:

Name Capital Type of entity Population (2006) Total Area (km²) Pop. density
(per km²)
1 Copenhagen Municipality (Part of) Copenhagen Municipality 501,158 91.3 5,489.1
2 Frederiksberg Municipality Frederiksberg Municipality 91,855 8.7 10,560.5
3 Copenhagen County Glostrup County 618,529 526 1,175.9
4 Frederiksborg County Hillerød County 378,686 1,347 281.1
5 Roskilde County Roskilde County 241,523 891 271
6 West Zealand County Sorø County 307,207 2,984 103
7 Storstrøm County Nykøbing County 262,781 3,398 77.3
8 Funen County Odense County 478,347 3,485 137.2
9 South Jutland County Aabenraa County 252,433 3,939 64.1
10 Ribe County Ribe County 224,261 3,132 71.6
11 Vejle County Vejle County 360,921 2,997 120.4
12 Ringkjøbing County Ringkøbing County 275,065 4,854 56.7
13 Viborg County Viborg County 234,896 4,122 57
14 North Jutland County Ålborg County 495,090 6,173 80.2
15 Aarhus County Århus County 661,370 4,561 145
16 Bornholm Rønne Regional Municipality 43,347 588 73.7
Denmark Copenhagen Entire country 5,427,459 43,093 125.9

Note: Ringkjøbing County officially used a different spelling from its capital city, Ringkøbing. Ertholmene east of Bornholm are not and have never been a part of a municipality or county or (from 2007) region. Statistics Denmark calls them Christiansø and Frederiksø, named after the two inhabited islets.They are included in numbers for Denmark (92 inhabitants;0.39 square kilometers). Land area of Denmark: around 42394 square kilometers.

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