The Council has 87 elected members. Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden each have 20 members. Of these, two of the Danish representatives are from the Faroe Islands and two are from Greenland, while Finland has two representatives from Åland. Iceland has seven members.
Denmark, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden were the founding members of the Nordic Council when it was formed in 1952. Finland joined in 1955, the Faroe Islands and Åland in 1970, and Greenland in 1984. The Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Åland have exerted greater influence on Nordic co-operation since the Åland Document was adopted by the Ministers for Nordic co-operation in Mariehamn, Åland, on 5 September 2007.
Members and presidency
The members of the Council are members of the national parliaments and are nominated by the party groups. There is no procedure for direct election to the Nordic Council.
The Nordic Council, which is run by a Presidium, comes together at two annual meetings – the Ordinary Session and the Theme Session, at which the Nordic politicians make decisions on issues that they call on the Nordic governments to implement.
The President, Vice-President, and members of the Presidium for the forthcoming year are elected at the Ordinary Session every autumn. The Presidency alternates between the countries. The Ordinary Session is held in the country holding the presidency of the Nordic Council. The Theme Session is held every spring in the country holding the presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers.
The on-going political work in the Nordic Council is conducted through committees and party groups.
The Nordic Council is served by a secretariat that shares its premises with the Secretariat to the Nordic Council of Ministers in Copenhagen. There is also a national secretariat in each of the Nordic parliaments
The Secretary General
The Nordic parliamentary co-operation, the Nordic Council, is led by the Secretary General to the Nordic Council in Copenhagen with the help of staff at the Secretariat. The current Secretary General is Britt Bohlin, Sweden.
The Secretary General with the Council Secretariat prepares the business procedures which are processed by the Nordic Council.
Preparations are made in consultation and collaboration with the Secretariat for the Nordic Council's national delegations and the party groups.
The Secretary General submits reports to the Nordic Council's executive body, the Presidium.
The agenda for the Presidium's meetings is drawn up together with the Nordic Council's President.
The Secretary General and the President also prepare the decision items on the agenda.
For the items on the agenda not requiring decisions the Secretary General will consult with a meeting of the Secretariat, which consists of the heads of the secretariats of the national delegations and the party group secretaries.
The Presidium may pass the right to make decisions on certain issues to the Secretary General.
2007-2013 Jan-Erik Enestam, Finland
1999-2007 Frida Nokken, Norway
1996-1999 Berglind Ásgeirsdóttir, Iceland
1994-1996 Anders Wenström, Sweden
1990-1994 Jostein Osnes, Norway
1987-1989 Gerhard af Schultén, Finland
1982-1987 Ilkka-Christian Björklund, Finland
1977-1982 Gudmund Saxrud, Norway
1973-1977 Helge Seip, Norway
1971-1973 Emil Vindestmo, Norway