Hundreds of people turned up for Parliament’s annual citizenship day on Sunday dedicated to welcoming and celebrating all those who were given Danish citizenship over the course of 2016.
With dignitaries such as Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen and singer Caroline Henderson present, the purpose of the day was to mark the importance of gaining Danish citizenship and displaying the short distance that exists between politicians and citizens in the nation.
“Today, we say congratulations to all of you who have obtained Danish citizenship in 2016,” Pia Kjærsgaard, the speaker of Parliament, opened in her speech.
“It’s wonderful to see so many happy children here. You usually account for the jovial atmosphere and help make the day into a party. It’s a party we celebrate with all you new citizens, but also one that celebrates Danish democracy. It’s a party where we stop and tell one another what a lovely society we live in and what a wonderful nation we live in.”
Kjærsgaard went on to say that Denmark was full of opportunity and it was up to the citizens themselves to make the most of those opportunities.
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Cake with Inger
Among the other dignitaries taking part in the celebration were the foreign minister, Anders Samuelsen, the justice minister, Søren Pape Poulsen, and the integration minister, Inger Støjberg, who was, perhaps surprisingly given her harsh immigration stance, mobbed by new Danes eager to say hello and have their photo taken with her.
Kjærsgaard, backed up by Henderson and Denmark’s grand old man of politics, Bertel Haarder, then led those present in singing the national anthem ‘Der er et yndigt land’, and before that the Pivot Dance Company put on a show for the crowd.
“Not until 1915 could Denmark be referred to as a democracy that permitted all to participate,” Kjærsgaard concluded in her speech.
“I also hope you want to participate. We hope so and, actually, we expect you to. It is – and should be – a very big deal to get Danish citizenship. It should be appreciated. So, dear new Danish citizens, welcome once again to Christiansborg. Welcome to Parliament and our democracy.”