A representative group of citizens of Copenhagen meet and deliberate to make recommendations for how Copenhagen can develop as a city in the future.
Copenhagen is the capital and most populous city of Denmark, with a population of around 660,000 in the municipality and 1.4 million in the urban area. The city is on the islands of Zealand and Amager, separated from Malmö, Sweden, by the Øresund strait. The Øresund Bridge connects the two cities by rail and road. Originally a Viking fishing village established in the 10th century in the vicinity of what is now Gammel Strand, Copenhagen became the capital of Denmark in the early 15th century.
A sortition-based selection
50,000 Copenhagen residents were invited to participate in the citizens' jury, called "Københavnerting". The 36 seats were attributed thanks to a sortition system. In this process, participation criteria such as age, gender, education level and place of residence ensure that the jury is a mini-Copenhagen in terms of population composition. The Copenhagen Citizens' Assembly must fulfil the OECD principles of representation, independence and arm's length.
The project was launched in February 2023 and Copenhagen was the first Danish city to introduce a longer-term citizen's jury, after Brussels and Paris and the European scale. Each year, new members are recruited for the Copenhagen Parliament and a new theme is selected for the members to discuss.
The chosen facilitator was 'We Do Democracy', who helped with the citizen preparation, but also with the establishment and training of a democracy team among the employees of the Copenhagen administration.
Support the civic engagement
In 2023, citizens worked on "How can we develop Copenhagen together with well-being and space for all?" . For 2024, new participants will be selected for the citizens' jury. They will develop recommendations on a "How do we ensure that in the future, Copenhagen will have the employees needed to ensure dignified welfare for the vulnerable, at-risk and elderly?"
The citizens part of the jury make propositions then submitted in public and discussed and responded to during the City Council, to increase and to strengthen the dialogue between the citizens and the institutions, focusing on the development of Copenhagen. Indeed, the municipality was looking to increase the active participation of citizens in the city's public life.
The City has also developed and launched a website, as the base for a number of initiatives led by the municipality to strengthen citizen participation, in order to be a reference in terms of participatory democracy.
Sources of information (in English and Danish)
Facilitator 'We Do Democracy'
OECD - Eight ways to institutionalise deliberative democracy