Danish News Round-Up: Sting in the hand for new citizens of Denmark - The Post

Danish News Round-Up: Sting in the hand for new citizens of Denmark

Elsewhere, 2019 ties as the wettest ever year and there were crackdowns on au pairs and the postage service

That handshake is going to cost you (photo: Hasse Ferrold)
January 6th, 2020 11:05 am| by Ben Hamilton

For a whole year now, new citizens have been required to pay 3,800 kroner for becoming Danish – up from 1,200 kroner in 2018 – and now it transpires that 600 kroner of the total goes towards the costs of the ceremony itself.

Mattias Tesfaye, the immigration and integration minister, made the admission under questioning in Parliament.

READ ALSO: Political opposition to ‘handshake’ law growing

No u-turn
Ceremonies are held twice a year and involve Danish cultural performances, lots of flag-waving and an obligatory handshake with a senior municipal official.

Many had expected the government to do away with the handshake, but Tesfaye’s party Socialdemokratiet backed the new measures in June 2018, which became law in January 2019.

New stamp collection to mark queen’s 80th birthday this year
A collection of five stamps will this year mark Queen Margrethe II’s 80th birthday, PostNord has confirmed. The motifs will mark out five key moments in the Danish queen’s life, including her marriage, the christening of her first son, Crown Prince Frederik, and an official photo taken at Marselisborg Castle last summer. During the reign of the monarch, whose birthday is on April 16, no less than 158 stamps have been issued bearing her likeness.

2019 ties record for wettest ever … 0.3 mm short of immortality
Last year failed to go down in history as the wettest ever recorded in Denmark. Its total figure of 905.2 mm tied the 905 mm set in 1999 – back when decimals were not used in calculations. With two weeks remaining of 2019, the prospects had been relatively bright, but the year ended up finishing quite dryly. DMI confirmed that if the final figure had reached 905.5 mm, it would have been rounded up to 906 – the highest figure since records began in 1874.

Rogue wind turbine causes havoc in northwest Jutland
The police were forced to close off some roads in Mors, northwest Jutland, on December 30 after a wind turbine went rogue. It was feared the 30-metre, 175 kilowatt turbine, which was turning despite being switched off, might dismantle like a similar turbine in the same area in 2015.

Millions of years after its creation, T-rex to finally make Danish debut
Visitors to Statens Naturhistoriske Museum in Copenhagen will from April be able to view an almost intact fossilised skeleton of a tyrannosaurus rex – the first time that one has ever been displayed in Denmark. The 3.4 metre-high, 12 metre-long, black-coloured, Danish-owned T-rex, which was discovered in the US state of Montana in 2010, will be exhibited alongside five other dinosaurs. It has been christened ‘Tristan Otto’ after the two sons of the owner Niels Nielsen. Some 170 of its 300 fossilised bones are original.

Crackdown on au pair cleaning services and the families who hired them
North Zealand Police has confirmed that a number of families from the area face heavy fines for hiring au pairs to primarily clean their homes. With the help of the Fagbladet 3F trade union, the police force has been investigating 84 families who have allegedly hired au pairs – mostly female Filipinos – to carry out cleaning work without the necessary work or residence permits. In some cases, the women have been living ‘underground’ in Denmark for five years, during which time they have expanded the number of their clients – typically to encompass 10-15 homes, charging 100-120 kroner an hour.

American choir singer and employers fined for illegal work
The 29-year-old American woman found guilty of illegally performing for seven choirs without the necessary work permit has escaped prison. Instead, the Malmö resident and former Det Kongelige Danske Musikkonservatorium student has been fined 15,000 kroner and given a suspended sentence of ten days. Prosecutors at Frederiksberg Court had demanded a jail term and expulsion from Denmark. The seven choirs were all fined 10,000 kroner for every month she worked – ranging from 4,000 to 48,000 kroner.

Postage service facing inquiry over alleged fraud
National postage service PostNord Danmark faces a Transport Ministry investigation after an anonymous tip-off containing various fraud allegations was sent to various politicians. It is believed the allegations, according to Jyllands-Posten, pertain to the postage service gaining an unfair competitive edge by allegedly merging its letter and parcel deliveries with other logistical tasks.

Far-right politician given seven years for multiple offences
A leading member of the far-right party Frit Denmark has been sentenced to seven years in prison after being found guilty of a number of different crimes, including violence and the possession of weapons. Michael Ellegaard pleaded in court that he made a pipe bomb in his front garden in the Odense suburb of Bolbro in an act of self-defence against potential terrorists from nearby neighbourhood of Vollsmose. He was also found guilty of possessing a functioning World War II machine gun, violence towards a woman, and making threats against the municipality.

Drone case heading to Østre Landsret following city court convictions
The long-running drone case, in which three men have been convicted of acquiring parts for Islamic State, will next be heard in the Østre Landsret high court. At Copenhagen City Court, the three men were convicted in December and sentenced to two and a half years in prison, three and a half years in prison, and four years in prison and deportation.

Think vocationally not socially, municipalities urge school children
A proposal submitted by KL, the interest group for the country’s 98 municipalities, suggests there should be a common exam for children who want an upper-secondary education. Presently, it argues, too many children think socially and attend gymnasium because their friends are doing so. A new system, it argues, would persuade more to think vocationally.

Gender not an issue for returning foreign fighters, rules PM
PM Mette Frederiksen has ruled against distinguishing between men and women who joined Islamic State, thus ruling out the possibility of the children of any Danish foreign fighters returning to Denmark. The issue continues to be a thorny one for the government, with many human rights advocates warning the government’s stance sets a dangerous precedent.