Internationals celebrate as Denmark passes dual-citizenship law

At 11 this morning people rejoiced knowing they could finally get the citizenship they want

Spirits were high outside Christiansborg today as a group gathered in anticipation of Parliament's vote on the dual-citizenship law – a law some have been wanting to change for decades, which will now come into effect in September 2015.


”We live here, we pay taxes, we want to vote, we want security,” said Larry Feinberg (left), who has been championing the law change for the last eight years. ”We don't want to renounce our birth citizenship, it's like renouncing ourselves.”

Many showed up with the Danish flag in hand as well as that of their birth nation or the one they're trying to become a citizen of.


”I'm German, I want to keep my roots," said Kirsten Kock (centre), who has been living in Denmark for 17 years. ”I'm happy there's been so many people to take on the fight.”

”Now it's time to be 100 percent Italian," said Charlotte Sylvestersen (left), who has been living in Milan, Italy for the last 23 years. "If I apply for Italian citizenship, Denmark will take my Danish citizenship away; but this is not just for Danes living abroad – if it was just for us it wouldn't be democratic."

The group was invited in to watch the voting procedure. They arrived while politicians were debating point 11 on a long agenda. The morning looked like it could be a long one.


As the politicians went through the points, the group looked on from the balcony patiently waiting for point 23. When it finally came up, less than an hour after they had taken their seats, the group leaned forward on the benches, pulled out their phones and cameras, and recorded the momentous occasion that they feel will change their lives and the lives of others in the same situation.


A monitor on the wall shows how the politicians vote, and as it started to turn green, the normally quiet Christiansborg erupted into applause and excitement that made some of the members look up and smile. The new dual citizens hugged and cried and raised their hands in victory.


For many it's been a long fight and now that fight is finally over.

”I was a little teary. It's a big day. I don't have the words for it. It's big,” said Ann Powell Groner, an American who has been living in Denmark for 31 years. ”I want to contribute, I want to belong. When you have two homes, you have no home. When I come home to Denmark I have to walk through the 'non-EU passports' line and it feels like I'm an outsider.”  


”I feel awesome," said Feinberg (left). "People were crying tears of joy. People can be free to live their lives. We can vote in national elections."

But what is Feinberg going to campaign for now? "Now it's time for me to go into politics,” he suggested.


"It's wonderful. I feel like a full person," said Ole Holgensen, a Dane who lost his citizenship when he decided to become Canadian, but has since moved back to Denmark. "I've been waiting for this for a long time.”


"It touched me more than I thought," said Sylvestersen.

”Some of us were crying, I think that shows how we're feeling,” said Kock (centre back)


”I'm jubilant. I want to be part of Danish society and now I can do that," said Carol Steif (left), an American who has been living in Denmark for 49 years. "I want to be a part of what's going on.”





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