Calling all Copenhageners! The charge for citizenship starts today!
Meet at the City Police Station on Halmtorvet at 15:30 see you there!
Following parliament's approval of dual citizenship in Denmark earlier this month, a group of internationals are gathering today to apply for citizenship together.
It’s happening on Halmtorvet
Larry Feinberg, an American who runs a number of meetup groups for foreigners in Denmark and has campaigned for years for dual citizenship, has planned a media happening for foreigners who wish to become Danish – and who meet the requirements – to meet up at the City Police Station on Halmtorvet in Vesterbro, Copenhagen on Monday June 16 at 15:30 and apply for Danish citizenship.
“Thanks to the agreement between the majority of parliament we are no longer required to renounce our birth citizenship,” Feinberg said. “This is huge and we want to thank the parties who have signed this agreement.”
According to Feinberg, the agreement states that no-one will be required to renounce their birth citizenship from now on. He therefore suggests that nobody should sign the page on the application, but instead attach a page with a copy of parliament’s majority agreement, highlighting the paragraph that refers to the fact that nobody will be required to renounce their birth citizenship as of now.
According to Feinberg, the police at the Halmtorvet station have confirmed they will have a stack of citizenship applications available for the happening.
An historic agreement
The new parliament agreement will permit foreigners to become Danish citizens without having to give up the citizenship of their own country, and it will also allow Danes who have given up their citizenship for another to be able to reclaim it.
“Many people today choose to settle in foreign countries, but still retain a strong attachment to their country of origin,” said the justice minister, Karen Hækkerup, in a statement.
“We should not force people to choose.”
All thanks to report
The government’s decision to allow dual citizenship is based on a report by a panel that it established in late 2012 to look into the issue.
The panel initially looked into the possibility of limiting dual citizenship to other EU nations or countries in NATO, but found that such a law would risk violating to European human rights conventions concerning discrimination.
The panel's findings also pointed to the dual citizenship ramifications in other countries, including Sweden, which has allowed dual citizenship since 2001.
“I applaud the thorough report because it provides a solid foundation for discussing the question of dual citizenship,” Hækkerup said back in March.
“We won’t change a comma regarding what it takes to become a Danish citizen,” she added.
Light at the end of the tunnel
While the agreement means that the dual citizenship law change will be imminent, it isn’t expected to come into force until the summer of 2015. But, despite the wait, dual citizenship advocates are jubilant. Indeed when the Copenhagen Post posted the news story on its Facebook page, it received a quarter of a million page impressions – smashing our previous record by 170,000.
Anne Marie Dalgaard – the secretary-general of Danes Worldwide, an association for Danes living abroad and long-time advocates for dual citizenship – was extremely pleased with the news and applauded the political parties and Justice Ministry for their role in the decision.
“We’ve been working with this for years and we are really happy that finally there is a light at the end of the tunnel,” Dalgaard told the Copenhagen Post.
The 250,000 abroad
“It will make a huge difference to those tens of thousands of Danes – there are 250,000 Danes living abroad – and their possibility of integrating better into the countries where they are living while maintaining their identities as Danes.”
Dalgaard went on to explain that the law will also have a great impact on foreigners living in Denmark, citing that many Danes Worldwide members have returned with a foreign spouse, and that the law will allow them to become better integrated into Danish society.
According to Dalgaard, there are no figures available on how many Danes have been forced to give up their citizenship over the years, and she couldn’t say how many would be trying to reclaim their citizenship.
Security and voting rights
And it will of course make a massive difference to the thousands of non-Danes about their futures.
“It gives us security in our situation in Denmark,” Feinberg told the Copenhagen Post. “It’s not enough to have a permanent residence or a work permit because that can be taken away.”
“We all pay tax here. We want to be able to vote and have a say in who runs the country, and being a citizen will help us do that.
Anne Marie Dalgaard, the tireless secretary-general of Danes worldwide