Christiansborg as a Workplace

Christiansborg Palace is the centre of Danish democracy, and Members of Parliament (MPs) use most of the rooms in the building as offices and meeting rooms.

Større

 

But Christiansborg is not only a workplace for politicians and parliamentary employees. The Royal Reception Rooms, which are located on the first floor in the north wing, are at the disposal of the Royal Family, and the Queen performs many of her official duties there. The Prime Minister's Office is located above the Royal Reception Rooms, and the Supreme Court, the highest court in Denmark, next to them. 


Thus, the country’s most important and powerful institutions are all at Christiansborg. Consequently, members of the press take a keen interest in what goes on behind the walls. Christiansborg is the regular workplace of about 180 journalists who report on political news in Danish media.

Christiansborg is a lively workplace for MPs, administrative employees and journalists. On an ordinary day, some 1,200 people come to Christiansborg either to work or visit. In addition to the ‘permanent residents’ of the palace, Christianborg receives a large number of visitors every day: civil servants from the various ministries, lobbyists, tourists, schoolchildren, conference participants and many others.

Members of the Parliament 

The 179 Members of the Danish Parliament (MPs) are at the centre of all the activities going on at Christiansborg. They read about 450 Bills and proposals for parliamentary resolutions each year and attend countless meetings. But normal paperwork is also part of an MP’s job. Inquiries from the press, organisations and citizens must be answered, and the bulk of documents accompanying each Bill must be studied. This is why every MP has an office at his/her disposal.

Office location depends on seniority 

After each general election, MPs are assigned offices in accordance with their seniority. Newly-elected MPs occupy the remotest corners of Christiansborg from where it takes them seven minutes to walk to the Chamber. The more senior MPs' offices are closer to the Chamber. This arrangement means that right-wing MPs may sit next door to their left-wing opponents.

Meetings, meetings and more meetings

The daily work of MPs consists of a great number of meetings. Many parties begin the day with party group meetings at Christiansborg, where MPs discuss new Bills and determine the party’s position on various matters and issues. 
Some MPs are entrusted with the special task of acting as spokespersons for their parties on given issues. Spokespersons must present their parties' views in the Chamber, and therefore they must have in-depth knowledge of all relevant matters in their field. During the week, MPs also participate in meetings in one or more of the Parliament’s 26 standing committees. Particularly MPs from parties with only few seats are often members of several committees and must therefore attend many committee meetings every week. 

In addition, MPs often hold meetings with Ministers, lobbyists, journalists and citizens. Generally, they work very long hours, and you will often see the lights burning in many MPs’ offices if you pass Christianborg at night. 

The Presidium 

The Presidium is the supreme authority of the Danish Parliament. It comprises a Speaker and up to four Deputy Speakers, who are elected by the Parliament at the beginning of the parliamentary year or after a general election.

To sit in front 

The word Presidium derives from Latin and means ”to sit in front”. This refers in more concrete terms to the fact that a Member of the Presidium chairs sittings in the Chamber from the Speaker's seat, which is located in front of the 179 Members of Parliaments’ (MPs') seats. From here, the Presidium makes sure that MPs greet the other MPs when they take the Rostrum, that they keep within the time allotted for speeches and that they use respectful language.

The tasks of the Presidium

The chief task of the Presidium is to make sure that the work of the Danish Parliament is organised and performed in a satisfactory manner. This includes ensuring that parliamentary regulations are complied with, both when it comes to political work in committees and in the Chamber and when the administrative work of the Parliament is concerned. The Presidium thus has overall responsibility for the 179 MPs and the 440 employees of the Administration of the Danish Parliament. The Presidium's areas of responsibility and the regulations for the work of the Parliament are laid down in the Standing Orders of the Danish Parliament. 
The Members of the Presidium also act as representatives of the Danish Parliament when the Presidium receives the Royal Family at the opening of Parliament in October, when Denmark receives foreign Heads of State and when the Presidium travels abroad to other parliaments to exchange experience.

The most distinguished position

The post of Speaker of the Danish Parliament is considered the most distinguished position a person can be elected to in Denmark, and it usually goes to a seasoned MP who enjoys the general respect of other MPs. 

The Deputy Speakers of the Presidium are elected by the four political parties who have most seats in the Parliament, excluding the Speaker’s party. In proportion to their number of seats, the political parties then elect the first, second, third and fourth Deputy Speaker among their members. As a rule, the positions go to the most experienced MPs who have a long parliamentary career behind them.

The administration at Christiansborg 

The Administration of the Danish Parliament employs approximately 440 staff whose job is to ensure optimal working conditions for MPs by offering assistance and service. For example, Administration employees make sure that offices are clean, that IT systems work effectively, that detailed minutes of parliamentary debates are available and that MPs' guests are taken on guided tours of Christiansborg Palace. 

Various categories of staff, ranging from secretaries, drivers, lawyers, managers and inspectors to Parliament Officers, cleaners, tradesmen and librarians are therefore employed at the Administration of the Danish Parliament.

Organisation and employees 

The Administration of the Danish Parliament is headed by a management board comprising Secretary General Carsten U. Larsen and two Deputy Secretaries General each with specific areas of responsibility. The management team, which refers to the management board, comprises 17 managers, with distinct areas of responsibility.

Members of the Management

The Press 

Approximately 180 journalists, as well as photographers and technicians, work at Christiansborg on a daily basis. They report on political news in electronic or printed media every day, and thus act as the public's watchdog, who sees to it that Members of Parliament (MPs) live up to their responsibilities and promises.

Mutual dependence of MPs and members of the press 

The Danish Parliament places offices and other facilities at the disposal of the media's editorial boards. MPs and members of the press thus work next door to one another, which enables easy contact – something both parties exploit, for better or worse. Every day, journalists roam the corridors of Christiansborg or wait patiently outside committee rooms in the hope of getting a comment from a particular MP. They are always on the lookout for a good story, and the media constantly compete to be the first to report the latest political developments. 
Some MPs may find it rather a burden to have the press following their every move, but at the same time they are interested in getting media coverage. Coverage is necessary for MPs to get their ideas and viewpoints across to the public. Therefore, they often contact members of the press voluntarily. 

The Royal Family 

Even though Queen Margrethe lives permanently at Amalienborg Palace, she and the rest of the Royal Family frequently come to Christiansborg to use the Royal Reception Rooms, which are located there.

From King's residence to reception rooms 

When the present-day Christiansborg Palace was built at the beginning of the 20th century, it was intended to serve as permanent residence for the Royal Family. But the reigning king decided he would rather live at Amalienborg Palace, and Christianborg as it stands today has never been a royal residence. 
Today, the Royal Reception Rooms, located on the first floor in the north wing of Christiansborg, are at the disposal of the Royal Family. The Queen uses them for her official duties such as the New Year levee, reception of ambassadors and for audiences. 

The Royal Reception Rooms are open to the public when they are not in use by the Royal Family. Read more about visits and opening hours at the website of the Agency for Palaces and Cultural Properties.

The Prime Minister's office 

The Prime Minister's Office is located in the north wing of Christiansborg, above the Royal Reception Rooms. This is where the Danish Prime Minister works. The rooms were originally intended as the Royal Family's private apartment at Christiansborg, but they were never occupied as such, and could therefore be used for other purposes. They were taken over for use as the Prime Minister's Office in 1980. Today, the Prime Minister's own office is located in what was originally intended for the king's dining room