The Interiors

Christiansborg Palace was originally intended both as a residence for the Royal Family and as the headquarters of the Danish Parliament, so the Palace houses imposing rooms for entertaining prominent visitors as well as more modest offices.

Interiors
Større


Broadly speaking, Christiansborg Palace is divided into two halves. The southern half is used by the Danish Parliament, and the northern half is reserved for the Royal Family, the Supreme Court and the Prime Minister's Office. Each part of the Palace has its own entrance, and it is not normally possible to go from one part of the building to the other inside the Palace.

The beautiful storey

Christiansborg Palace is a five-storey building with a basement. The main floor is the first storey or the "bel étage", which is French for ”beautiful storey". It houses the most important rooms, such as the Chamber of the Danish Parliament and the Royal Reception Rooms. But the Palace as a whole is richly decorated with works of art offering an inspiring accompaniment to the daily work of Members of Parliament and employees.

Picture: Christiansborg chamber

The Chamber of the Danish Parliament is a large room occupying three storeys of Christiansborg Palace. The present appearance of the Chamber is not very different from the way it looked when it was inaugurated in 1918. However, the carpet and the works of art are additions of more recent date, as are also modern devices such as electronic voting boards and microphones. The room is dominated by the seats of the Members of Parliament (MPs), which are arranged in the shape of a horseshoe, with the Speaker's seat in the centre.

The Speaker’s seat

From the Speaker's seat, the Speaker, or one of the four Deputy Speakers, chairs debates and makes sure that voting procedures are followed correctly. The Rostrum is to the left of the Speaker, and parliamentary civil servants assisting the Speaker during debates sit on his right and at the table below the Speaker’s seat. On each side of the Speaker, electronic voting boards show the agenda item being debated and how MPs vote.

Left, right and centre in the Danish Parliament

When MPs are said to be on the right or on the left of Danish politics, this has to do with the way they are seated in the Danish Parliament – seen from the Speaker’s seat, this is. As a rule, MPs from the left-wing parties are seated left of the central aisle whereas MPs from right-wing parties are on the right. However, over the past 20-25 years, still more new parties have been elected to the Danish Parliament, and the division into "left wing" and "right wing" can no longer be maintained consistently.  

Members have permanent seats 

MPs of the same party are generally seated together in the Chamber, and each MP has his/her own permanent seat. The political group chairmen and spokespersons from the largest parties sit at the front of each section with their fellow party members behind them. Members with the highest seniority usually sit closest to the Rostrum. 
Ministers are seated together as a group, separate from their party colleagues, to the left of the Speaker's seat, with the Prime Minister closest to the Rostrum. 

Visitors’ galleries

Designated seats are available for visitors to the Chamber. From galleries on three sides of the Chamber, visitors can attend debates. In addition to visitors' galleries open to the public, there are galleries reserved for the press, the Royal Family and former MPs.

 

Picture: Christiansborg chamber

The Danish Parliament has only one chamber, called the Folketing. Until the middle of the 20th century, the Parliament had two chambers: the Folketing and the Landsting, but the latter was abolished in 1953 by an amendment of the Constitutional Act. Thus, today Denmark has a unicameral system. 

Until the abolishment of the bicameral system in 1953, the Landsting was the Upper Chamber of the Danish Parliament. The Landsting is located at the far end of an 80 metre long hall on the first floor of Christiansborg, with the Folketing (or former Lower Chamber of the Danish Parliament) located on the opposite end. Today, the former Upper Chamber is used primarily for parliamentary hearings and conferences.

Portraits of Danish Prime Ministers

There are 14 portraits of former Danish Prime Ministers hanging by the entrance of the former Upper Chamber. Danish Prime Ministers are entitled to commission a portrait following their term in office and active involvement in Danish politics. Each Prime Minister can choose his or her own artist, and therefore the portraits vary greatly in technique and style.

Picture: Christiansborg lobby 

The Lobby on the first floor of Christiansborg Palace is an 80 metre long hall that connects the  Folketing, the former Lower Chamber of the Danish Parliament, with the Landsting, the former Upper Chamber. In Danish, the Lobby is known as "Vandrehallen", which literally means the "Wandering Hall" or "Walking Hall", because Bills formerly had to "wander" between the two Chambers of Parliament  before they could be passed. However, this practice came to an end with the abolition of the Danish bicameral system in 1953.

The Danish Constitutional Acts

The Danish Constitutional Acts are displayed in the Lobby:

  • The first democratic Constitutional Act of 1849, where the King handed over power to the people. 
  • The Constitutional Act of 1866, which imposed tighter rules on election to the Upper Chamber. 
  • The Constitutional Act of 1915, which enfranchised women. 
  • The Constitutional Act of 1953, which abolished the bicameral system.

Picture: Exhibition in Christiansborg lobby

In addition, three important Official Acts from the constitutional history of Denmark, prior to the Constitutional Act of 1849, are also displayed:

  • The Jutland Act of 1241, which regulated the division of power between the king, the nobility and the church. 
  • The Coronation Charter of 1483, which limited the king's power and benefited bishops and the nobility. 
  • The King's Act of 1665, which is the "constitutional act" of absolute monarchy. 

The floral frieze in the Lobby 

A special feature of the Lobby is a 268 metre long floral frieze decorating the walls. The frieze was painted in 1918-21 by Rasmus Larsen, who later became known as "the cheeky painter" because he added his own, ironic remarks on political life to the frieze: "Not every cock that crows promises a new day". And: "Everybody wants to be the boss, but where work's concerned, they're at a loss." These are just a couple of “words of advice" and admonitions for politicians to think about when they pass Rasmus Larsen's work. 

Picture: Christiansborg lobby

Picture: Committee room

The meetings of the Danish Parliament's committees are usually closed and are held in designated committee rooms on the second floor of Christiansborg Palace. As the Danish Parliament has 26 standing committees, some of them have to share a room. However, the Finance Committee, one of the oldest committees in the Danish Parliament, has its own committee room on the second floor just below the tower of Christiansborg Palace.

The restaurant of the Danish Parliament is called ‘Snapstinget’, and this is where many Members of Parliament and employees meet for lunch every day. This venerable dining hall from about 1918 is richly decorated with stucco ceilings, columns and bays.
 
Picture: Snapstinget

Nobody knows why the restaurant was given the name Snapstinget, but a popular explanation is that the word dates back to the 15th and 16th centuries, where the first legislative meetings held right after Christmas were known as ‘snapsting’ – probably because a good deal of schnapps was involved. 
Another possible explanation is that the Danish word 'snap' has been formed from the Latin phrase Sessio Novi Anni Prima, which means 'the first thing in the New Year'. 
 
Visitors on public guided tours are not allowed to eat in Snapstinget. 

The Warehouse is located between Christiansborg Palace and the Royal Library adjacent to Copenhagen Harbour. Today, the building houses the Administration of the Danish Parliament, several MPs' offices and the State Archives’ Reading Rooms.

Picture: Warehouse

The history of the Warehouse

The Warehouse was built during the period 1603-06 for storage of provisions and other supplies for the navy, and was part of King Christian IV's naval base. At the time, there was a small harbour in the area between the Warehouse and the Royal Arsenal, where ships carrying provisions could dock. The harbour was demolished in 1867-68, and the area is now occupied by the Royal Library Garden. 
 

From the Warehouse, a passage offers direct access to Christiansborg Palace.

The Tower of Christiansborg, where the Danish Parliament resides, is now open to the public - for the first time ever.

Picture: Christiansborg

The tower is 106 meters high and is the tallest of Copenhagen’s many towers, providing a spectacular view of the city. The tour of the tower is free and can be combined with a visit to the new restaurant run by the acknowledged Danish chef Rasmus Bo Bojesen.
Until 2014 the tower and the upper chambers of Christiansborg have been used as store rooms. However, in 2012 Mogens Lykketoft, Speaker of the Danish Parliament, and the rest of the Presidium decided to open the historical rooms to the public.

The view

The view is name of the viewing platform and the highest level you can visit at the tower. It provides you with a magnificent, panoramic view of Copenhagen and on a clear day you can see all the way to Sweden. The viewing platform is situated at a height of 44 metres and has a maximum capacity of 50 people at a time.
Visiting the viewing platform is free of charge but it may be necessary to wait to come up in the lift.