Setting a megatrend

Addressing the use of English in universities, Marianne Jelved, the minister of culture, told Kristeligt Dagblad that “regardless of whether we are talking about teaching, researching or publishing, researchers need to be able to communicate at a high level in both English and Danish.” And she would probably agree that the same public administration and business.

But as revolutionary as this might sound to some, this isn't going far enough. Soon, if Denmark realises its potential, demanding Danish in such matters will be a part of history.

English across the board
When Medicon Valley Alliance had its yearly summit at Kastrup Hilton, it gathered representatives from more than 200 companies in the Øresund region. It is all about attracting talent. And it is all in English.

The government has introduced English for first grade kids – and just in time.

Danish kids encounter English everywhere, be it through music, TV and internet services. Danish kids particularly benefit from reading the subtitles – in Germany and the other big European countries, the films tend to be dubbed.  That is good for the adults too. 

More than a half of all the papers released by Danish universities are now written in English in the first place – possibly with a Danish abstract and not the other way round as it used to be. Lectures are more often in English, thus giving the foreign Anglophone students a head-start.

More and more corporate entities are now operating with English as their official language, thus making international business easier and the integration of foreign talent faster and more efficient.

Just like the euro
It’s like the Danish attitude to the euro: they choose to stay outside the Eurozone officially, but operationally join it. In fact, many Danish corporations can now report their annual accounts in euros and in English.

With an increasing intake of foreigners – experts, students and other immigrants, from within and outside the EU – it is about time Denmark took a vital step and adopted English as its official second language. 

Integration will be made even easier, and assimilation will surely follow as the Danish, Dutch, Hungarians, Poles, Vietnamese, Sri Lankans and Huguenots all merge into one. Yes, English really ought to be the official second language in Denmark.

No threat to culture
Danish culture survived when the kingdom was partly German, Norwegian and Swedish. It has survived the integration of Danish dialects into the King’s Danish (Rigs Dansk). It is robust – so don’t worry. 

We invite the politicians to debate this in the coming election campaign. After all, we now a potential 400,000 more voters with an international background. They could decide the colour of the government. 

So now is the time to leap into the future. It is not just a trend, it is a megatrend, so do not fight it, lead it!