Introducing: The Danish Citizenship Test

by: Tim Anderson (

If there is one thing that can be said about the current government in Denmark, it's that they are becoming rather predictable.

Needing the proudly xenophobic/racist Dansk Folkeparti to prop up their minority government, the government has developed a nasty little habit of throwing their support behind various proposals propogating the idea of 'Danishness' (thereby helping to ward off perceived threats to whatever it is that this so-called 'Danishness' is...). The Dansk Folkeparti loves squeezing out these sorts of legislative turds from the bowels of their parliamentary caucus, as they are the self-proclaimed protectors of the Danish society and cultural identity in parliament. And the government knows how to apease the Dansk Folkeparti.

Their latest is the Danish 'cultural knowledge' Test, a test that prospective Danish citizens will now have to take as the final step to being granted Danish citizenship. Apparently the Danish government has granted itself monopoly rights to decree exactly what it is to be 'Danish'. Amusingly, it has been noted that many Danes are unable to answer many of the proposed questions.

The funny thing is that those taking the Danish cultural knowledge test will have already lived in Denmark for many years. So such people are already a part Danish culture and society - even if political parties like the Dansk Folkeparti have a hard time accepting this reality.

As a Canadian, I should note that a similar sort of test exists in Canada - and it is equally irrelevant and full of nonsense. (For example, I challenge any Canadian in the crowd to name the Lieutenant Governor of their province, a real question from the Canadian version.)

Prospective Danes can take the 'Danish Cultural Test' as many times as necessary in order to pass, and the questions will be published beforehand, making the test essentially an act of memorization. Which doesn't change the fact that it is laughable and unnecessary. Ironically, Danish education basically eschews memorization as a means of learning, but never mind that...

Admittedly, I have no idea whether or not I possess enough of whatever the government's version of 'Danish cultural knowledge' is to pass the 'Danish cultural knowledge' test. However, after 6 years here, I know that
I possess certain pockets of specific and highly relevant Danish cultural knowledge.

So, I thought to myself, why not help out the test writers by proposing a few Danish cultural knowledge questions of my own, from my own experience living here? The test writers are probably overworked already, just trying to pin down just what it is to be Danish, after all (and are apparently doing a lousy job of it given all the wrong answers 'real' Danes have been giving).

So here are my suggestions:

1. Name five sunny, holiday destinations abroad served by discount airlines flying out of Kastrup Lufthavn (Copenhagen airport)?
2. Name 3 Danish websites where you can book last minutes package holidays to these sunny southern vacation spots?
3. Describe how to make a proper 'Danish smørrebrod' of your own with any three or four ingredients.
4. Is the number '13' an unlucky number in Denmark, or does it mean something else to many people - for example, students?
5. Name three Danish beers that can be bought at the supermarket for under 3 kroner per bottle?
6. Name two different supermarket chains that sell these cheap beers?
7. If you are having a loud and late party in your apartment and the police show up at your door at 4 AM, what can they do about it?
8. It's 3AM in the morning. Where can you buy a pølser (hot dog)?
9. It's 5AM in the morning. Where can you buy a pølser (hot dog)?
10. It's 8AM in the morning. Where can you buy a pølser (hot dog)?
11. Can you ever NOT buy a pølser (hot dog) in Denmark? (Yes/No)
12. If it wasn't for the fruit and veg shop around the corner, it would be impossible to get fruit and vegetables after ___PM on weekdays, and ___PM on Saturday.
13. The guy who runs the fruit and vegetable shop around the corner is not from Denmark, he is from __________.
14. If you are white and/or from a 'western' country and you already meet the other criteria for being awarded Danish citizenship, will anybody actually bother to grade your Danish Cultural Test? (Yes/No)

Wondering about the answers? Well, you can cue the answers, right here.

And if you want a sample of some of the 'real' proposed test questions already considered by the real test writers, click here (questions in Danish, of course).

And finally, a little shout out to Benno Hansen for his Newsvine link to this article and Benji at YIE for the mention and link! Thanks, it's appreciated!

6 Response to "Introducing: The Danish Citizenship Test"

  1. Anonymous says:

    Anyway Danish people have right to protect their own identity. It's a small country if they don't care who will?, of course not you. Small natios like Denamark make the world richers and more diverse. real multiculturalism is provided by countries with strog identity, no by kebab restaurants.

    Tim says:

    I agree with you, small countries should definitely take steps keep protect their identity - and in Denmark's case for sure, I'm all for it. For example, Denmark shouldn't water down its laws and regulations simply to match the those of other countries in the EU, if those laws elsewhere aren't as strong and effective as certain ones in Denmark. On the other hand, the Danish cultural knowledge test does nothing to protect or strengthen Danish culture - anyone taking it will have already lived here for several years. For such people, Denmark is already their home, making them a part of Danish society and culture already. That's why the test is rather a silly idea.

    Anonymous says:

    squeezing out these sorts of legislative turds from the bowels of their parliamentary caucus
    Loving this bit of literary smack.

    The purpose of having a test, where the majority of "natives" can't even answer the questions is absurd, in any country. Ask any 18 year old Dane what the Reformation was, and I bet 100DKK you'll get some interesting - yet wrong - answers.

    As a response to "protecting their own identity," culture is about change, adaptation and growth. It's not about xenophobic and archaic immigration policies that are meant keep out the so-called "undesirables" whom are labelled as the spoilers of the sacredness of Danish (or any other) culture/society.

    ps - multiculturalism has nothing to do with a strong national identity; and even if it did, Denmark would be a terribly poor example of it.

    Anonymous says:

    I could write this in Danish, but since this site is in English...
    I am one of those white guys from a western country, the USA to be specific. I have a Danish wife, a Danish son, a Danish house, two Danish-registered cars (at Denmark's stupid vehicle registration fees), I have a Danish job at a Danish company where I sell 100's of millions of Danish kroner's worth of Danish goods to other lands, I make enough money to pay the top Danish income tax, I have learned the Dnaish language and passed the test, and I am still not good enough to get a permanent residency because some racist jackass in the Dansk Folkeparti is worried that I might surreptitiously arrange somebody's marriage, even though I am not muslim and not from one of those countries. In the meantime the sheep who are the Danish people just go along with this charade because any other course might cause them to have to think for themselves. In the last seven years I have gone from loving my new home to being completely disgusted with the idiots who live here.

    Nicholas says:

    you seem to be totally clueless about how some immigrants live in the West. you assume anybody living here "for a long time" has already absorbed the culture and language. haven't you seen immigrants in kebab-shops or call shops etc. working all day with fellow citizens and watching tv channels of their country of origin? a couple of years ago a pakistani girl was killed by her father and uncle in Brescia (Italy) for having an italian boyfriend! the father was in line for italian citizeship which means he had lived in italy for at least 10 years! and this is by no means an exception! and the fact that some ignorant locals can't pass the test doesn't mean we should give easy passports to others. we can't strip ignorant locals of their voting rights but at least they are not capable of honor killing, or blowing themselves up in underground stations if they are unhappy with the government's foreign policy!

    Tim says:

    A bit paranoid, no, Nicholas? You pull out a couple extreme cases and use that as an apparent basis for your entire view on immigrants. I think you should try a bit harder to understand non-danes. And by the way, like it or not anyone living in Denmark is contributing to Danish culture and a part of Danish culture, whether you like it or not - even those who are not 'integrating' the way some locals, apparently including yourself, would like them to. And lest you fail to understand my point - this is never never never condoning illegal actions of anybody - immigrants or otherwise, which obviously should be treated with the full force of the law.

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