Legislation

In Denmark, the state archival authorities represented by the Danish National Archives have ample opportunity to provide rules and regulations for public authorities' archival matters. The reason is that, compared to international standards, the Danish Parliament has adopted far-reaching legislation with respect to archives.

The Danish Archives Act

The Danish Ministry of Culture administers the State Archives. The Minister of Culture’s powers regarding the archival activities of public authorities are defined by the Archives Act which has been amended three times (in 1997, 2000 and 2007) since it was originally adopted in 1992.

The provisions of the Act on the management of records by public authorities apply to all activities conducted by the Public Administrative Authorities and the Judicial System. However, rules and regulations differ from one type of authority to another. Thus, only state authorities, the Courts and the recognised denominations are under obligation to transfer records to the State Archives. The Act, furthermore, authorises the Minister of Culture to specify rules and regulations relating to transfer, etc.

Finally, the Minister of Culture is authorised to determine that in certain circumstances, the rules and regulations governing archives may apply to specified companies, institutions and associations, etc., that may not otherwise be considered part of the public administration.

Executive Order on archives

The specific provisions applying to the activities of the Danish National Archives have been set out in an Executive Order by the Minister of Culture. In the order, the National Archivist is empowered to issue further rules and regulations on the following matters:

  • the accumulation of archives by state authorities, including
    • notification and approval of filing systems.
    • setting up, design, delimitation and operation of filing systems;
    • measures to ensure that electronic filing systems may be converted into filing versions that are independent of specific systems;
    • technical requirements for archival media, and
    • matters relating to the storing of records.
    • appraisal of state records.
  • time limits for transfer of records from state authorities, including filing versions of electronic filing systems and time for transfer;
  • how transfer to the State Archives should be effected;
  • lending records to a public authority, which have been transferred to the State Archives by that same authority;
  • following negotiation, appraisal and transfer of administrative records from special administrative bodies; and,
  • following negotiations with the municipal parties, appraisal and transfer of municipal records.

The Executive Order on archives also specifies that the Danish National Archives may require that public authorities provide the necessary information for inspection and archival purposes. If a public authority ignores such archival considerations, the Danish National Archives may instruct that authority to take the necessary measures to observe the relevant archival considerations.

The Danish Archives Act