Borgen, popular political drama set in Copenhagen


Borgen is a Danish political drama sent in Copenhagen. Despite being a subtitled Danish show loosely based on complicated domestic Danish political events, it grew to unexpected popularity throughout Europe. Its protagonist is a prime minister attempting to hold together a fragile ruling coalition and trying to mitigate the ruination of her personal life. A central difficulty in the narrative is, not surprisingly, that the corporate media controls & often cripples political life. Journalists, who figure prominently, move seamlessly back and forth between paid political spin doctor and newscaster. What’s different about this show is that in both fields, politics and journalism, the main character is female.

Borgen also provides a window into Danish interior and urban design.

It was nice to see Danish modern in the formal political offices amidst the classical architecture. There are two Poul Henningsen Artichoke lamps in the prime minister’s office, extremely striking if it you’re not used to seeing them in a TV sequence. Or over a head of state.

Copenhagen proper with a population of 1.2 million is about twice the size of Vancouver but its metro area, at 1.9 million, makes it ultimately smaller. The city  contains no highrises and a dense concentration of low rises, old and new. Not unlike Vancouver it is land-limited, cut by water and criss-crossed by bridges. The largest of these bridges links the city to Malmo, Sweden. (See following post on The Bridge.)

Borgen -Poul Henningson artichoke lamp

Danish TV show Borgen

Borgen - kitchen at Marienborg

By the way, “Borgen is produced by DR, the Danish public broadcaster that has also produced another international Danish hit series, The Killing.” The Killing has been remade for the American market, set in Seattle but shot in Vancouver (on my block and in my immediate neighbourhood).

Borgen - view of Copenhagen over bridges



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