Denmark, we need to talk…

Hey, Denmark.

Got a minute? Good. Uh, have a seat. I’d like to have a quick chat.

Look, you and I both know that we have a bit of a migrant problem. And by “migrant problem” I mean “thousands of desperate refugees escaping a bloody, five-year civil war that has likely claimed more than 300,000 lives.” But hey, you say “tomato,” I say “soul-crushing tragedy.” Semantics, right?

But I’m afraid you’re starting to have a bit of an image problem, too. You see, while some EU countries welcome the refugees, you are—how do I put this—acting like a bit of a dick.

Wait. Don’t get upset. I’m not saying you are a dick.

I’m just saying that when European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker suggests introducing quotas to accommodate the refugees and you respond by saying that quotas are not “something you care for” and insist that you have an opt-out of EU’s refugee policies, you look like a bit of a dick. When exhausted refugees get to your borders and you turn them around, you look like a bit of a dick. When you straight up block all highways and rail traffic from Germany to stem the passage of refugees to Sweden, you look like a bit of a dick.

When you take out ad space in Lebanese newspapers to tell potential refugees about your strict asylum policies in order to discourage them from ever coming to the country and holy crap, I can’t believe you actually did that! Jesus Christ, Denmark. Fuck! What are you even d–

I’m sorry, I lost my temper. My apologies. But do you see how that makes you look like a dick?!

So what I’m saying is: Maybe turn that down a notch?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I totally get it. We can’t possibly find physical space for all those refugee hordes here. I can barely find an extra seat on the train to put my feet up on the way to work. Now I suddenly have to share that space with an actual person?! Not on my watch!

Plus those refugees are from mystical, foreign lands, and if we know anything at all about foreigners it’s that they are automatically inferior to us and are totally incapable of ever grasping our progressive concepts like democracy, capitalism, and paranoid xenophobia. They have their own savage goals like “finding a place to sleep,” “having a roof over their heads,” and “not dying.” We’ll never see eye to eye.

And don’t even get me started on how much money we’d have to spend on all those refugees. Sure, Denmark, you may be among the richest countries in the world, but you’re not the richest, right? Why should you take responsibility?!

I can already hear some silly hippies with their silly words: “We have more money than we need. We can all help. You don’t need a second car or a new TV.” But if I can’t buy a TV for my bathroom, then how am I supposed to watch those adorable cat videos while sitting on the toilet? By using my smartphone? Honestly, have you seen how tiny a smartphone screen is? It’s minuscule! I can barely tell whether I’m looking at cats or some furry blobs making meowing noises. Nobody should be made to suffer that kind of injustice.

So yeah, it’s clear that you can’t do much to help those refugees. I’m not suggesting you start acting all compassionate or human or something. But maybe you can at least pretend? Maybe take in a few thousand more refugees, if only to make those smug Swedes look less high and mighty with their generous refugee policies? Maybe don’t actively punish your own citizens for helping drive refugees across a bridge? Maybe save money on printing ads in foreign newspapers and use that money for sensitivity training instead?

It’s like this. You can keep acting the way you do and be this Hungarian camerawoman:

Or you can clean up your image a bit by being more like these Germans:

I know it’s tough, but I’m sure you have it in you. Can you try and make an effort? For me? Thanks!

I’m glad we had this talk. Now go out there and make me proud!

And hey—Denmark—don’t act like such a dick anymore, okay?

If you’re in Denmark, here’s a bunch of stuff you can do to help refugees. If you’re not in Denmark, you can help as well.

65 thoughts on “Denmark, we need to talk…

  1. Paul Logan says:

    I wonder if Daniel wrote wrote to all the Arab countries that have not taken in one single refugee ???? Or done something himself apart from write a “dick letter” ?? Or realised the fact that most of the refugees that did come here where actually on their way to Sweden effectively making them not refugees anymore ( as refugee status means you have to register as such in the FIRST county you enter) and more tourists.
    I have no doubt that there are genuine refugees that need our help but there are a LOT more that are in it for other reasons than fleeing for their lives but if we mention THAT we are automatically racist or some other shit like that.
    The outpouring of emotion is high at the moment but these same people never lift a finger to help the needy and vulnerable on their own doorstep, same with governments all of a sudden finding millions of spare cash to send in aid, but their own citizens are homeless and sleeping in the streets that they could not give two fucks about.
    Double standards are alive and well.


  2. Thorbjørn Piet Boisen Andersen says:

    Hi Daniel. Well written, and I must admit you are dead on, with some of your views.
    I think there is much more to this “case” then just the goverment, or how the danes act’s as a nation.
    In denmark We are facing some “problems” with the way sick danes are being treated by the goverment. And by the sick I mean people that have serius illness, both psycical and mental. The danes is not a nation of people that scares easily, but when they one a daily basis, see how the danish goverment treat the danish population, and wont even give the danish natives a fair and dignified way of opholdene theyr æivingstandards, after serius illness, I think that man danes have a: “lets get denmark back on track, before We start saving the rest of the world” Kind mindset.
    I think ( think) that is what we saw with the last election. I think (and I hope) that this “issue” we as mankind are facing, with wars and poverty is a result of ignorence, by the western leaders. The lack of tolerance towards any Kind of mindset that isn’t set on capital headfonds.. ( maybe and hopefully I’m wrong, and this is just my opinionen)

    Fyi I have lived in 7 different centres, and travle the world, I have friends all over the world, and they repræsentanter every religion. Religion is Not the root of all Evil, ignorence and lack of will to Learn, is!


    • Thanks for your comment, Thorbjørn. I hear you!

      I’m sure there are many good reasons for people to be reluctant about accepting refugees. I also think we’re capable of having compassion for sick people, old people, and refugees running away from war at the same time.

      But in general, I have trust in the kindness of Danes. We’ll be fine!


  3. Danny says:

    Tak for artiklen Daniel (In English: thanks for the article).

    I am not a Dane, but an Indian who has lived in Denmark for the last 8 years. I am not a refugee and I left India on my own will. I have never lived on state-provided money, and I never will. I have always been employed and have always paid tax.I speak Danish, German, Spanish and English. So I feel that my profile places me in a more “neutral” position to comment on this topic (I hope).

    I will admit that I am a bit of an humanitarian, in the sense that I hate to see people hurt or killed whether that may occur due to war or due to a drunk driver. I am sympathetic to a refugee’s situation, I would run too if my country was under civil war and my life was in danger. From a humanitarian perspective, I want the refugees to feel and be safe, no matter in which country they decide to apply for asylum. Denmark does do its share in supporting refugees, I will admit that and whether it does enough or not is a question with no right or wrong answer, because it is completely relative on individual viewpoints.

    On the other hand, being a scientist, I am able to look at the migrant influx from a logistic and economic point of view. Denmark is a physically small country, so of course, space is at a premium, and this therefore puts restrictions on how many refugees can actually come here. Concerning whether the Danish welfare model can sustain a large influx of refugees, who will need shelter, clothing, food etc. my opinion (not based on concrete facts unfortunately) is that it cannot do it in the long run. The welfare model is only sustainable and completely dependent on the number of employed people. Unless there is some form of guarantee that every refugee of working age who comes to Denmark gets a job immediately, the welfare model will get more and more stretched until it breaks. And there is no way to guarantee jobs for everyone in the free market system adopted by the world.

    And yes, refugees will bring in their own culture, language and way of thinking. You cannot expect them to change their culture to match that of the country they end up in (ask any social scientist or your local psychologist). Would a Dane stop talking in Danish or stop thinking and behaving like a Dane or change their culture if they moved to a different country? I don’t think so. I don’t think I could do it either. I still love Indian food and I still welcome friends to my home who drop by uninvited (this is an Indian thing). A change in way of thinking requires many generations…it doesn’t happen overnight. So yes, refugees will not start dressing like Danes, eating like Danes and talking like Danes overnight. And they shouldn’t have to. People in Denmark have the right to dress how they like, eat what they like and say what they think, and practice any religion they like, if they like to. Why should a refugee not have these rights too?

    That being said, refugees also have to understand that they are coming to a different country with a different culture, and so they absolutely have to make an effort to adapt to the new environment as much as possible. I stress on “as much as possible” because every person adapts to different degree. Older refugees might not want to or cannot make enough effort because they are “old and set in their ways” (a common theme among old people in all countries might I add).

    I believe the only hard requirement from a foreigner (immigrant or refugee) should be that he/she respects the law of the land. You can do whatever you like, think whatever you like, eat whatever you like, speak whatever language you like (although learning the local language is extremely important…how else can you talk to the locals???), just DON’T break the law!!

    What I don’t like but observe often is generalisation…mainly due to my training as a scientist. Just because one or few immigrants commit a crime, all people of the same ethnicity are labelled “bad”. If a Dane commits a crime, does that make all Danes bad? No it does not. I have experienced racism in Denmark – I have been called a “perker” by an ethnic Dane, which is a derogatory term in Danish for a person of turkish or pakistani origin (Turks were the one of the first migrant workers to arrive in Denmark after the 2nd World War). Now my tax money goes towards supporting this person too. If he gets sick or loses his job and has to live on state benefits, my tax kroner is being used to support him. So I am supporting someone who is racist and doesn’t like me….hmmm should that be ok or not? I don’t know. but I don’t hate ethnic Danes just because one Dane called me a “perker”. The same should apply to foreigners too. It is only fair.

    I believe that integration, an understandably hot topic in Denmark, will only work when both the foreigner and the local actively make an effort to change themselves enough to get along with each other. If you force only foreigners to change, they will eventually resist. If you force only the locals to change, they will also resist. This is basic human nature…you can’t change it. But if both parties share a common understanding that everyone has to change their way of thinking a little bit to get along with the other, it would definitely improve integration. The question is – can everyone locals and foreigners swallow their ego and accept that they have to step out of their comfort zone and change themselves just enough?

    The reason why foreigners of a particular ethnic group stick together is because it is more comfortable for them and easy to do. No wonder you have certain areas in the country where only Middle Eastern people live..which are called “ghettos”. No one likes to go out of their comfort zone (again, any psychologist will confirm that). Even Danes stick together when they are travelling. Just go and check out any holiday package to southern Europe that is advertised in Denmark. The flights offered are usually charter flights…which means a group of Danes who may or may not know each other get together on a plane and are taken on a guided tour to a common holiday destination. That way they stay within their comfort zone (among other Danes). I’m not saying there is anything wrong with it, it is just human nature. This very human nature leads to segregation, which leads to suspicion about foreigners, which leads to mistrust, which ultimately leads to generalisation when one foreigner breaks the law.

    For those who claim, crime has increased because of immigrants, it is easy to find tons of published scholarly studies on Google search which show that crime is linked to socio-economic conditions such as poverty, unemployment, loneliness and lack of integration (I really wish I could give some links to particular studies myself and am sorry for not doing that). So maybe, just maybe, crime is increasing in immigrant populations because they are unemployed and therefore frustrated? I don’t know the real answer to this. If I was unemployed for a long time and had lots of free time on my hands and did nothing, I would get frustrated too. I wouldn’t take that frustration out on others and harm them though. There is a very old saying in English – “An empty mind is the Devil’s workshop”. And any psychologist will tell you that an empty mind almost always drifts towards negative thoughts. So maybe this is the reason for increase in crime when the population of unemployed immigrants increases?

    And for those who believe politicians will do everything that they promise during elections….keep dreaming 🙂 Unfortunately politics is a made-up game which affects real lives (but that’s just my opinion). Therefore, instead of relying on politicians, I believe the average Dane has to get out of his/her comfort zone and make the effort to actively TALK to foreigners. And the same goes for foreigners. They need to get out of their comfort zones and make the effort to actively TALK to Danes. It is only fair.


    • Hi Danny,

      Thank you for the very detailed comment. It’s hard for me to address your reply in full since you’ve made so many different points. Some of them I agree with wholeheartedly, some of them sound to me like excuses for not doing enough for the refugees. Lack of physical space is not a good argument against accepting more people into the country. This quirky article from Wait But Why is a good look at how little physical space the whole human race truly needs:

      In general, I fully agree that this is all about give and take. Of course everyone has to respect the culture of other people and together try to build a society that functions. This also means finding a way to make sure that refugees and other immigrants are well integrated into the Danish welfare state and become a healthy, contributing part of it. This is not an insurmountable task.

      Thanks again for taking the time to respond.

      (PS: I myself have lived in Denmark for almost 20 years and am a Danish citizen.)


      • Danny says:

        I’m sorry for my rant, I realized that I was trying to cover many different points. But this whole topic of integration encompasses all these different points and more. So there is no easy way to talk about this.

        I’m sorry that you see some of my points as excuses, that was not my intent. But it is easy to say that Denmark can do more, but hard to define what would qualify as “more”. Taking in more immigrants seems like the obvious thing to do, and I do agree with it, but if the plan is to just bring them in and then try to process them through the same bureaucracy and figure out what to do with them later, it would take forever and they would end up in asylum centers in limbo just like many are now. It would keep them safe yes, but is it a long term solution? I don’t know. The current system does not work, and this needs to change.

        I am saying, take in more refugees but understand that the problem is not just about money to support them or finding a place for them to live. There are many more and deeper issues here that the government needs to think about.


      • I think you and I agree: Of course keeping people in asylum centers in limbo is not a great long-term solution.

        And when you say that there are issues that the government needs to think about, that’s pretty much it: The current government appears to be more comfortable finding a way to explain how we simply can’t do anything than finding ways to try. Hence my post.


      • Danny says:

        Oh we definitely agree, I loved your article and agree with it. I just wanted to the debate to explicitly include the points I mentioned. On my first read, your article did sound like Denmark-bashing, and I was wondering if these points were considered or not 🙂 I am very happy that Danes are stepping up to help the refugees 🙂


  4. Igor says:

    Maybe the Danish government is impressed by all the wonderful things massive immigration has brought to Sweden. You can check out Malmö. It’s just across the bridge. Compassion is important but maybe thinking about your country’s future is more important.


    • I have no idea what point you were trying to make, but I have been to Malmö multiple times and always enjoy going there. I’ve also been to Stockholm and Gothenburg. Sweden is a beautiful country that is more than welcome to inspire Denmark and others, as far as I’m concerned.


      • Igor says:

        Islamisation is my point. Its happening real fast in Sweden. Many islamic immigrants don’t want to adapt and integrate. They are not interested with emracing swedish national identity. So its not a “melting pot” like in America and its the swedes who are going to be the minority in the not so far away future. While the immigrant majority is not going to be very friendly. It has recently become the country with most rapes in the world. Concidence? I dont think so. Sweden is currently destroying itself.


      • Igor says:

        Well i really, extremely hope I’m wrong about this. But in 2012 – 42% of Malmo residents were immigrants! By 2015 Swedes may really be the minority. The jewish community shrunk 50% in latest ten years there. Because jews get harrased and dont feel safe anymore. Denmark will get its share of trouble. A palestinian man shot and killed two people at the sinagogue in Copenhagen, i think it was this year.


      • Anonymous says:

        To equate Islam with rapists is one of the more offensive things I have heard regarding the religion. I don’t see how a country can destroy itself by allowing people a safe place to sleep, eat, and live who would otherwise be murdered in their own country. Your comment is the very reason he probably wrote this article in the first place.


      • Igor, you’ve made your anti-immigrant points abundantly clear. I kindly ask you to keep your “evidence” to the far-right corners of the Internet where it finds warm support. My blog isn’t one of those places. Thanks.


      • Igor says:

        Well thats a little sad, that views different from yours aren’t worth discussing and it’s not welcome to speak about facts, like the terrible antisemetism that immigration has brought with it to Sweden. Well, ok, it’s your blog.


      • Igor says:

        Thanks for interesting info. Totally different from wikipedia article on the matter.

        theres a link in the article to The 2005 U.S. State Department Report on Global Antisemitism.

        “After Germany and Austria, Sweden has the highest rate of antisemitic incidents in Europe…”

        same article – “Fredrik Sieradzk of the Jewish community of Malmö told Die Presse, an Austrian newspaper, that Jews are being “harassed and physically attacked” by “people from the Middle East,” although he added that only a small number of Malmö’s 90,000 Muslims “exhibit hatred of Jews.””

        But maybe those sources aren’t correct, who knows.


      • First, I think this may be the most poignant part of your pasted quote:

        “although he added that only a small number of Malmö’s 90,000 Muslims “exhibit hatred of Jews.””

        Second, we’ve side tracked the discussion. My article is about compassion toward refugees fleeing a devastating war. Not about the grossly exaggerated risk of foreigners “destroying” Europe you’re talking about.


      • Igor says:

        OK so you choose not to read the wikipedia page, where same person says – “Malmo is a place to move away from, right now many Jews in Malmö are really concerned about the situation and don’t believe they have a future here” he said, citing antisemitism as the primary reason.

        But anyway, I feel really sorry for people fleeing from war. And the compassion from danish people is amazing! It’s just important to have a strategy before accepting loads of people into a tiny country.

        Like determening are all the people really from Syria? Theres people from Pakistan and other places throwing away docs and pretending to be war refugees.
        Then planning jobs, housing and integration for the refugees.
        And what to do if they don’t want to integrate.


  5. Christy Thomas says:

    Hi Daniel. I think what you wrote was well written and poignant on top of being witty, sarcastic and correct. I am not a Dane, but an American citizen and my sister (who lives in Denmark and is married to a wonderful Dane herself) sent it to me. I happen to be a high school History teacher in California and when I teach my students about WWII, I always also talk about the rescuers in Denmark who saved over 1000 Jews by smuggling them to Sweden, sometime in row boats. Denmark was the only invaded country to not hand over their Jews to the Gestapo. It’s admirable and shows compassion and empathy in a time of such chaos. That’s what I thought about when I read your article. The government of Denmark might be the ones to blame. They are the “dicks” in this situation, but as a democracy, Denmark should also take responsibility, that as a democracy, their government is run BY the people. The people of Denmark are the government. That is what being a democracy is. If you no longer give your consent and approval to the government, do something about it.
    It may be easy for me to make these comments sitting over here in the Cali sun quite a distance from the flood of refugees Europe is facing that are seeking any kind of help, but I do know that as a country of immigrants, we are accustomed to immigrants making their way to our borders, shores, etc, just because they want a better job, home, lifestyle, healthcare. Not all are compassionate here, (please excuse us for Donald Trump), but I at least recognize that I was lucky to be born here. I didn’t earn anything nor do I deserve anything more than any Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Columbian immigrant who happened to be born where they were. It was just the luck of DNA, sperm, whatever that landed me here. I wish more of us would realize that we are citizens of the world first, not citizens of a country. Borders are arbitrary, citizenship is a social construct; we are all on this planet together, for better, for worse.
    Thank you for your thoughts and sorry if I rambled or offended anyone. That was not my intent.


    • Thanks for the insightful comment, Christy. Thing is, most people are acting. They’re starting volunteer groups to help refugees and voicing their disagreement. Some, like myself, have the chance to write a blog post and link people over to sites where they can help. And so on.

      And yes, we’re all human beings, so asking for compassion isn’t exactly a bizarre idea.


  6. Kris says:

    I agree that it is stupid that the Danish Government refuses to take part in the quotas. Could atleast take part in the discussion and give their opinion on why they shouldn’t be spread evenly. BUT! Stopping the traffic between Germany and Sweden is only being done because it wouldn’t be fair towards Sweden. Since they would end up with a ton of refugees while they already have so many. Another thing is we’re supposed to stop them. As a member of the EU we’re under the Schengen Treaty/Accord(not sure what to call it) which means refugees needs to be registered in the first country they enter. Taking refugees across borders is just against the law.

    A dane meself by the way. I don’t mind them all coming up here, but getting pissed or “act like a dick” like you so nicely put it, because we stop them, because we’re bound by a treaty annoys me.


    • Thanks Kris.

      I think without arguing a few specific details, we can agree that the Danish government’s response to this situation has been mostly appalling. That’s the main point of the post.


      • Kris says:

        Appalling no. Stupid yeah. But all the other things you mention is this article is something we’re required to do. And breaking the law, no matter the reason, is not defendable in any way. The law is there for a reason.


  7. Anonymous says:

    I both agree an disagree on your statment. I miss that you give the Danish people more credit. The way our cuverment choose to act does not atumaticly reflect its inhabitants. Off all nations you should know that. But I agree on being a Dane right now is not one of our most memorable moments.
    But I wish this would spread to the world


    • Well, seeing how I’m a Danish person myself, I guess the “giving Danish people” credit goes by default.

      “Denmark” in this post is more the government and less “the Danes” in general. Thanks for sharing the link that illustrates that very well!


  8. Danish here. Thank you. Our government is an embarrassment, and having our horrible “integration” minister use tax money on those shameful adds is an utter disgrace. I’m glad someone is speaking up, even if it’s not our current excuses for political leaders.


  9. Martin says:

    Your whole premise is wrong. Denmark doesn’t owe any nation or any people anything what so ever. Moving to another country to live of its tax payers is not a fundamental human right. Once you’re safe, i.e. away from the perils of war, you’re no longer a refugee. You’re a wanderer. If you keep wandering, through many countries, towards the countries that pay you the most, you’re a wanderer and an opportunist. So, essentially, we’re wisely not for an EU ‘solution’ because the whole problem with people swarming across our borders is grossly mislabeled. It’s an invasion of fortune seekers – pure and simple.


  10. Now now Daniel.

    As a Dane I agree: The adds in the Lebanese paper was one of the saddest moments in our recent history. Period!

    And I am not a leftist. But I am one of a majority of Danes who thinks that the adds were plain wrong.

    They don’t portray the real nature of the Danish people.

    And let’s face it. Adds in newspapers won’t stop refugees, so what are they there for? To win over the voters scared of anything new. So the minority government (who I used to back) are in for a shocker come next election. Anyone with a heart can’t sit this one over and it will have consequences.

    That said, now back to you.

    The problem with the ad is that now the entire Horde of the Press is hunting this image of Danes being heartless and cruel. Or a bit of a d…

    But as with anything in these social media times you can’t trust the Press anymore. It is no longer about the truth facts or objectivity. It is about the feelings because they sell clicks airtime and newspapers.

    The easiest feeling to trigger is fear with anger and outrage as close second and third. Which by the way is what makes people read this post. Including me.

    This is why I don’t trust the Media anymore.
    And so shouldn’t you.

    Mainly because these stories don’t get nearly the attention that they should have:

    Danish police hugs refugee:

    Danish police officer playing with Syrian refugee girl:

    I am sorry that I pick the links from the same site but it is a bit difficult finding the stories in English out there.

    I am sure you don’t like to be looking like a d…? Neither do I. But if you believe in whatever nonsense the fear mongering Press serves you, then you will too.

    Trust in humanity, love and compassion. They always win. Take it from someone who used to go and fight for these ideals abroad and watched them bloom as soon as we provided the security and trust for them to do so.

    In my mind there are more pressing questions at hand:

    I still don’t understand why we accept that people have to flee! We didn’t in Kosovo in 1999 and put a stop to the unrest.

    And I am outraged by the lack of commitment and responsibility shown by the extremely wealthy Arabian oil states. This is in their backyard and they don’t lift a finger.

    But those are arguments for another time.

    When you own the power of the word like you do I urge you to use it carefully and accurately. Because people read your words and will follow. Not because you are right. But because you are good – with words.


    • Hi Lars,

      Thank you for the detailed comment. As a Dane myself, I can fully understand your point.

      I hope you can read between the lines of my post that my anger is at the way the government has handled this. I have no doubt in my mind that the majority of regular people like you and I (and most of my friends) are capable of showing kindness and compassion. You will also find those same heartwarming images of the Danish policeman and the girl on my Facebook page.

      This post serves two main purposes: To show my disagreement with the Danish government’s approach to refugees and to give people who read it a chance to contribute (which is why I’ve linked to some helpful sites at the end.)

      I am less concerned with what oil states do (or do not) to help refugees. I’m concerned with what I can affect: The country that I’m now a citizen of.

      It sounds like you and I agree – humanity, love, and compassion always win.


  11. Donjon says:

    But 99% of the migrants want to go through Denmark ti Sweden. Because they dont want to asign alysum in Denmark. Sorry, but this post is filled with just another “blame”. If they would thwy could seek alysum in Denmark, but they wont since Denmark made a statement of sending people back seeking alysum, if they are denied. But the refugees cases are being revalued every 5 years. If theres peace in their homeland, and they arent aproved for alysum they can return. (Ofc thi is not happening ) in Sweden they can get permanent stay, what is Denmark actually doing wrong? Sending people who are illegal further as they wish? And stopping them entering the country, who don’t wanna be here anyways? Honestly, this post ia discriminating and wothout facts….


    • Thanks for the effort you’ve put into this long comment. Now, kindly, please take some of that same effort to click on the orange hyperlinks in the blog post to get a better sense of the facts I’m referring to.


  12. LE says:

    The sad part is, it’s not the Danish people… but perhaps the ones in charge. There’s a MASSIVE movement of citizens who have done everything they can (roughly 20,000 people) taking time off work, driving refugees around, donating TONS of clothing, food, sleeping bags, duvets, even the police are being fairly kind and helpful (from what I’ve seen). This FB group is working around the clock to help everyone and has spawned 5 other groups (and more) which are coordinating efforts to do everything possible for the refugees. Sadly, DK’s politics aren’t helping things much.


    • Agreed! Most of the people I know are ashamed of how the government’s been treating this. It’s heartwarming to see so many people step in where governments don’t.

      Thanks for sharing the group, I’ll add it to my post!


  13. I loved this piece! Your approach actually made me want to read more about a tragic situation rather than skip or skim…so much sad stuff comes our way daily through the news that unfortunately it hardens us a bit…but this piece invited me in with its wit and sarcasm and made me drop my guard. Well done!!


  14. I was just reading about the quotas in the paper today, but I didn’t know Denmark was so resistant to it. It’s such a tragic situation, and that video of the camerawoman tripping and kicking people is just unbelievable. What kind of stone for a heart must someone have to do that? Thank you for including the clip from Germany too. That one warmed my heart and restored some of my faith in humankind. I still can’t get the image of the toddler washed up on the Turkish shore out of my mind. Don’t think I ever will.


    • Denmark has always been one of the stricter EU countries when it came to immigration. But this feels like a new low.

      Like another commenter pointed out, Danish people in general are extremely friendly and welcoming, stepping in where government won’t. So not all is lost.

      And yes, that image is dark, and sadly, there are many others.


      • Lars Kroll says:

        I can actually still remember when Denmark was a frontrunner,back in the 80s, and Danes took pride in how much we could help when we put our mind to it. We could of course still do that, we have not, as a nation, become less capable. We have however become less compassionate, not as people I think, but as a nation: Absolutely. The political will and determination to help, has been replaced by a stinginess, and a “sure, we want to help, but it’s so expensive”. So basically, yeah: We want to help, but we dont want to help if its actually hard, expensive or troublesome. This change in attitude is a clear consequence of 25+ years of dedicated propaganda on the part of primarily the Danish Peoples Party.

        70 years ago, Danes helped jews flee to sweden from Nazis that had occupied us. Today, we elected a party into power, that punishes Danes for helping refugees flee to sweden.


      • Hi Lars,

        Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I think you’ve put it beautifully.

        It’s a shame that the government is the way it is, but the good news is that it doesn’t represent the majority. Most of us are more than willing to help, even if the government won’t.


      • Camryn says:

        Lars Kroll – Very well put – I couldn’t agree more. What has happened to make stinginess so pervasive in a citizenry? That’s exactly what it is. It has eclipsed the proud sense of ‘humanity’ and doing the right thing that used to mark this country. I have my theories as to why the ‘fearful’ mindset is so rampant in DF voters, and I’m sure it’s a highly unpopular opinion. But why not try to explain… 🙂

        I blame the beautiful, awesome, well-intended but slightly oppressive welfare state that we have here in DK. This ‘system’ has worked gloriously for a long time now. It’s empowered productivity and a generous attitude where the ‘broadest shoulders’ carrying the biggest load; and I believe that system is hyggelig and idealistic, and should be pursued for as long as humanly possible…but then.

        Then. We can all agree that this ‘system’ isn’t cheap. It requires us all paying our fair share, of course. But I can’t help but feel that The System has perhaps gotten too big. People get a little too ‘used to it.’ They get…hmmm…spoiled. I’m quite sorry, but I think a lot of Danes are spoiled. And somehow, their need for the system and faith in the system is all that matters — and then they see what it costs to welcome immigrants and refugees who could fall on the dole, and it all gets too scary. Shit just got real. I don’t think Danes are afraid of Islamization or people of a different skin colours or faiths, they’re afraid of losing some benefits. Of disrupting the successful yet fragile model of our welfare-state system. “Wait, you mean, letting people IN means less money earmarked for healthcare, for efterløn, for SU?” Well then, nej tak!”

        It’s this clenching, desperate, you will pry my benefits ‘out of my cold dead fingers’ fear-of-change that has overpowered a core sense of humanity. The Danes have had it too good a little too long.


      • Thanks Camryn,

        I think you’ve touched on something interesting there. We humans quickly get used to good things, and it’s sometimes terrifying to imaging losing the status quo. Change can be scary.

        I know for a fact that most Danes aren’t some racist, foreigner-hating caricatures. Today’s rally in front of the Parliament in support of relaxing refugee policies is a good testament to that.

        I have no doubt that we’ll find a way to remain human in all of this.


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