The regions were created on January 1, 2007 as part of the 2007 Danish Municipal Reform to replace the country's traditional thirteen counties (amter).
At the same time, smaller municipalities (kommuner) were merged into larger units, cutting the number of municipalities from 270 to 98.
The most important area of responsibility for the new regions is the national health service.
Unlike the former counties, the regions are not allowed to levy taxes, and the health service is primarily financed by a national 8% (sundhedsbidrag) tax combined with funds from both government and municipalities.
Each Regional Council consists of 41 politicians elected every four years, the first time as part of the 2005 Danish municipal elections.
Most of the new municipalities have a population of least 20,000 people, although a few exceptions were made to this rule.
Greenland and the Faroe Islands are also parts of the Kingdom of Denmark, but have autonomous status and are largely self-governing, and are each represented by two seats in the parliament.