Deep Focus | Soon to be known as Denmark's DC Day
It happened on the evening of 4 June 2014. A late-night gander at that enduring procrastination harlot – familiar to most as Facebook – revealed a piece of news that I had been so eager to receive. It is a political, social and economical hot potato that has long been discussed on these shores, vicariously turning Denmark into a priggish laughing stock amongst its EU neighbours, particularly the Swedes. What else but dual citizenship?
A reflection of our times
It’s a subject close to the hearts of many foreigners and non-natives alike, and the law change – scheduled for a summer 2015 initiation – proves that a lengthy quango panel report and decades of impassioned protest can force parliament to take action and elect some common sense.
Before the ruling, much of the dispute or outright political indolence was wrapped up in the alleged problem of Denmark’s diminishing nationhood and homogeneous society. Whether or not this existential crisis is a crisis at all is subject to another column altogether, but what is truly baffling is to discover how some of the naysayers are unable to see how more people being granted Danish citizenship can only increase, enrich and underline the values of this great country, and its citizens. Obtaining a dual passport is not a privilege. It is a reflection of the general zeitgeist: one is encouraged to travel the world and told that it is your oyster.
Citizens who contribute
But it’s not all peachy. The Draconian stipulations for citizenship will remain, meaning that international, would-be Danes have to pass the notoriously hard, démodé assimilation test and can only apply after nine years of permanent residence here, or a three-year marriage with a fully-fledged citizen.
After nearly three full years of living in Copenhagen – and not planning to propose to my partner just yet (especially not in this column!) – I am a long way off from being a Danish citizen. But that’s okay. Nothing good in life comes easy, and hopefully those years will fly by like the last. At the very least, the double passport ruling is a symbolic win, rather than a genuine law feat, and it’s fantastic that my émigré kin are starting to be recognised as a benefit to Denmark (although getting the right to vote in a parliamentary election would be nice). We’re not here to soak up the social benefits of a Danish lifestyle – we want to contribute, hopefully with a fresh perspective courtesy of our various national identities.
A time of transitions, this is likely to be the last column I scrawl for The Copenhagen Post. After two long and fruitful years, I’ve decided to hand over the typewriter to another bloviator and pursue my career with a local travel company (you might have heard of it; it rhymes with nonondo). A firm that successfully blends its Danish heritage with a vibrantly international working environment, it couldn’t be more emblematic of the great possibilities this citizenship ruling will bring.
So, shoo your cynicism! New beginnings don’t have to mean an end to old traditions, and I certainly hope that the evolving Denmark will continue to resemble the same little perfect province I fell in love with upon my first visit back in 2009. I’m positive that it will.