Open air democracy
Folkemødet is a Danish festival for democracy and dialogue, inspired by the Swedish counterpart Almedalsveckan. Each year, the festival offers over 3,000 exciting events and attracts up to 65,000 visitors during the four-day festival, located in the small port town Allinge on the island of Bornholm.
Folkemødet is a unique platform for open debate where decision-makers meet citizens. The purpose of Folkemødet is to strengthen our democracy by bringing people together - whether you are a politician, lobbyist, businessowner, volunteer or an ordinary citizen. At Folkemødet we're setting the stage for democratic dialogue.
There's no entry-fee at Folkemødet, and all of the events - of which most are in Danish - are free to participate in.
Folkemødet is co-created by the association behind Folkemødet, Foreningen Folkemødet, and more than 1,200 organizations, parties, companies etc. participating in Folkemødet.
The story of Folkemødet
In 2008 and 2009, the mayor of Bornholm, Winni Grosbøll, visited the Swedish democracy festival on Gotland and began considering the possibility of creating a Danish version on Bornholm.
In the summer 2010, the then Minister of Interior and Health, Bertel Haarder, was invited to Almedalsveckan. He too was enthusiastic and began advocating for a similar event in Denmark.
The two tracks crossed when the Municipality of Bornholm applied to the Ministry of Interior for support for hosting a democracy festival on Bornholm. It was the beginning of a formal collaboration, and when the parliamentary parties also backed the idea, the work arranging the first edition of Denmark's own democracy festival began.
The first Folkemøde was held in the small port town Allinge in June 2011. It quickly became popular and over the following years, the festival grew larger and larger.
As part of the development and consolidation of Folkemødet, it was decided in 2016 to form Foreningen Folkemødet (the Association Folkemødet) outside municipal context. The decision was made with a desire to make the association financially sustainable, to develop facilities for participants and to enable the festival to involve even more volunteers.
Foreningen Folkemødet is the governing association behind Folkemødet. It strives to further develop, expand and improve Folkemødet in coordination with the organizations, parties etc. participating in Folkemødet.
The aim of the association is to strengthen Danish democracy by reducing the distance increasing the trust between citizens and decision-makers.
Foreningen Folkemødet is responsible for the Folkemøde Secretariat, which handles the day-to-day operations of planning and holding the festival. The Secretariat has offices in Allinge and Copenhagen.
Other democracy festivals
Almedalsveckan in Sweden was the first democracy festival, and started in 1968. Since then, more and more democratic festivals have emerged across much of Europe and in the Baltic countries.
In recent years, eight democracy festivals have established the International Democracy Festival Association (IDFA), to strengthen the existing democracy fesitvals and to help other countries and organizers build democracy festivals and to act as vehicles for democratic change.
To learn more about other democracy festivals and IDFA, visit democracyfestivals.org.