Denmark has stolen children from their foreigner parents

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Will I be able to find work in Denmark?

As a student, I believe you are allowed a certain number of work hours - but don't quote me on that. If you're out of school, finding work will require tremendous commitment and aggressive tactics. The best thing you can do is to get a Danish company in your field to sponsor you before you leave home. To do so, they will have to prove that no Dane can do your job. Engineers, IT specialists and nurses are the most sought-after at the moment.

Some large, export-oriented Danish companies, like Novo Nordisk and Lundbeck, have English as their corporate language and are happy to employ qualified non-Danes. They are great companies to work for, with great benefits, and therefore receive a lot of applications from both inside and outside Denmark.

Working off-the-books in a restaurant or as a cleaning person is possible, although illegal and not always reliable.

If you are coming to Denmark to be with a boyfriend or girlfriend, getting married will not necessarily make things easier for you, work-wise. In fact, your partner will have to prove to the Danish government that he or she can support you before you can get a "fiancee visa" - and since you won't be eligible for government support, you should plan on living off your partner for at least a year or two before you know enough Danish to get a full-time job. Can your relationship survive that?

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Visit Iceland

Unlock the secrets of one of Europe's most unspoilt countries: Iceland, a breath of fresh air.
A wonderful natural playground, combining some of the most extraordinary landscapes with the funky sophistication of capital Reykjavik. Experience Nature as you've never seen it before or relax in one of Iceland's welcoming hotels. Get the adrenalin flowing with a typical Icelandic adventure tour, then relax like the locals in a natural spa.
A destination to be enjoyed at any time, Iceland is pure, natural and inspiring. Discoveries the Entire Year.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

A foreign student in Denmark

Here is a comment by Ales from Slovenia, a foreign student in Denmark, at DTU.

My name is Ales. I am a MSc. student in Denmark. I am a Slovene citizen, but have lived in Munich, Germany, most of my life. Now that I have been living for more than one year in Denmark, I believe that I can offer the following observations.

The word "integration" implies that the foreign-originating population should strive to become increasingly a part of the host population. This means sharing language, employment and study opportunities, as well as having immigrants (and their descendants) represented in academia, public sector jobs and culture.

The other side of the coin is the willingness of the host population to accept the immigrants.

In this context, I believe that my stay in Denmark as an exchange student (at the Technical University of Denmark, known as the DTU) enables me to make the following observations -

It is virtually impossible for a foreigner (even if possessing the permit to work in Demark) to find a job here. Foreigners are seen in very few occupations outside cleaning, catering or newspaper distribution. This applies even to highly-qualified foreigners (engineers, for example). People who possess the permission to live in Denmark (EU nationals or foreigners married to Danes) who are qualified as engineers even from the DTU, the leading technical university in the country, have not even been called for interviews! This situation exists despite the fact that there is a shortage of skilled professionals in Denmark. Despite the fact that I have had a high average of grades, and relevant work experience from my home country, and possessing the right to work in Denmark (now that Slovenia, my country, is in the EU) , I have not been called for a single interview. Danish students who attended the same classes as me, at the DTU, had no problems finding a job within one month after graduating.

In a country that has acute shortage of doctors, there are medical graduates from countries like Pakistan or Lebanon driving taxis here!

In certain clubs and discos in Copenhagen (ie. the well-knwon Rosy MacGees), foreigners who don't have a Nordic appearance are routine excluded. Sometimes the bouncers do not conceal the reason for that! My appearance could be mistaken for Nordic because I have light hair, but on at least 3 occasions where I had been accompanied by friends from Pakistan, Israel or Greece (studying with me), we have all been denied entry.

Anti-foreigner sentiments are wide-spread in Denmark. Foreigners are blamed for usurpation of the social security system, for the increase in crime, and for simply being alien to the country. Even educated Danes do not attempt to disguise their opinions that foreigners should be made to leave the country. On a number of occasions, I have heard remarks such as "Hey, you Yugoslav! Don't bring your Balkan to our country".

Having dated a Danish girl for a short period, we have been subjected to insults when it appeared that I was not Danish. For example, if we were speaking English on a bus or train, we would be the focus of hostile stares and occasionally an insult.

Rules here make it virtually impossible for foreigners married to Danish people to come to Denmark. Such couples are encouraged to settle in the foreign partner's land. Often on senseless grounds that "their collective connection to the foreign land is greater than to Denmark". The authorities claim this on the strength of the Danish partner's foreign origin and sometimes even extended visits to the foreign land, is used by the Danish authorities as a ground to deny permission for family re-unification.

There is usually zero interaction, in the university where I study (Technical University of Demark) between Danes and foreigners. This is so despite the fact that most foreign exchange students s are quite eager, during their stay here, to meet local people and many make the effort to learn a bit of Danish. There are certain gatherings of foreigners. The Danes make it clear that to those who attempt to show up at "their" parties that their presence is undesired.

These have been my observations about Denmark. I have been living here. I am not even an immigrant! I have to say that I was not expecting this.

Links to this post Forum, Forum (in bulgarian language)

Extreme Right in Denmark

Le : L'extreme droite danoise alimente une xenophobie bien-pensante

Below is a very rough translation of the article starting at paragraph 2 and going down through paragraph 4, I do believe. These paragraphs focus on Denmark, while the other two briefly discusses Norway & Sweden. Again, it's a rough translation for now, and if there are any mistakes, you francophones, please let me know (and try not to laugh to hard at them).
In Denmark, nothing changed: neither since the arrival to power of the Liberal-Conservative government in 2001, nor since the end of the 1990's, when the social-democrats were in power. It is at this time when the Danish People's Party, formed by the extreme-right Pia Kjaersgaard, came to impose her agenda in Danish politics. "The Danish People's Party doesn't accept Denmark transforming into a multi-ethnic society. (...) The free access to Denmark destroys our welfare state" clearly affirms her program. Since, her success hasn't been refuted.


For numberous Danish observators, the scandal of the cartoons of the Jyllands-Posten newspaper - principle publication of the right and the largest printing in the Danish press - has to be put in this context. "It's not by accident that this scandal exploded in Denmark. No other member of the European Union is so islamophobic and xenophobic," says Bashy Quraishy, a Danish of Pakistani origin who presided over ENAR (European Network Against Racism - financed by the European Commission) today.

In 2000, in a newspaper, a German and a British residents in Denmark had described the Danish debate over immigration as "cursory, irrespectful, and insolent." The Danes prefer to say that [they do not have a taboo?]. Pia Kjaersgaard succeeded in making common xenophobic opinions, such as, recently, comparing Muslims to a "cancerous tumor." Or, since 2001, her party (13% in legislative elections in February 2005) is the indispensable supporter of the minority liberal-conservative government in Parlaiment. Her success is explained by, notably, the role played by certain newspapers, such as Jyllands-Posten, in making commonplace negative clichés against the Muslims, according to the Danish Center on Human Rights in their 2005 report. "The story of this week's drama, that is story of a triumph domestic policy that becomes a catastrophy in foreign policy, that's the heart of the problem." says Toger Seidenfaden, Director of editing of the daily of the center left, Politiken.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Søren Kierkegaard

Danemarca, o ţară mică, nu a dat lumii mulţi oameni celebri. Totuşi, unul dintre ei, care iese în evidenţă, este Søren Aabye Kierkegaard, cel mai mare filosof danez.
Søren Kierkegaard s-a născut la 5 mai 1813 la Copenhaga şi a murit la 11 noiembrie 1855 la Copenhaga.
Prin concepţia sa filosofică asupra constrângerii omului de a-şi alege destinul a exercitat o influenţă hotarâtoare asupra teologiei şi filosofiei moderne, în special asupra filosofiei existenţiale. Kierkegaard constata că cel mai important bun al individului este recunoaşterea propriei şi unicei sale determinări. Omul ar trebui să descopere acel adevăr valabil pentru el însuşi, respectiv acea idee pentru care trăieşte şi moare. Împotriva credinţei clasice a unui concept universal asupra "binelui" si "răului", pentru Kierkegaard nu există o bază raţională pentru luarea unei decizii morale. Dupa Kierkegaard, anxietatea (die Angst) ca experienţă sensibilă - spaima structurală în faţa lumii - este de nedespărţit de fiinţa umană.
Gândirea şi stilul de viaţă a lui Kierkegaard reflectă drama vieţii filosofului, chinuit de paradoxul sfâşierii între un Dumnezeu neînţeles, căruia i se supune, şi disperarea individului părăsit într-o lume, în care trebuie să existe, dar care i se refuza. Disperarea la Kierkegaard nu este agonie, ci pierderea individului. Omul trebuie să-şi aleagă, respectiv să-şi determine destinul, lăsat singur, fără speranţă, în haosul existenţei. În faţa dilemei "ori, ori" (Entweder - Oder, 1843), pentru a ieşi din plictiseala existenţei, pendulează între un hedonism rafinat şi o disperare fără mijloace de consolare.
Kierkegaard a criticat vehement atât hegelianismul timpului său şi ceea ce a constantat în formalităţile lipsite de sens ale bisericii daneze. Cea mai mare parte a lucrărilor sale abordează probleme religioase cum ar fi natura credinţei, insituţia Bisericii creştine, etica şi teologia creştină, şi emoţiile şi trăirile individuale când se dă piept cu alegerile din viaţă. Lucrările sale din tinereţe au fost scrise sub diferite pseudonime care prezintă punctele sale de vedere personale distincte într-un dialog complex. Kierkegaard este considerat părintele existenţialismului epocii moderne, este calificat drept neo-ortodoxist, postmodernism, umanist. Trecând de barierele filosofiei, teologiei, psihologiei şi literaturii, Kierkegaard este cea mai importantă şi influentă figură a gândirii contemporane.
Søren Kierkegaard este înmormântat la Asistents Kierkegård în Copenhaga.

Fiind la cursul de daneză, am avut ocazia să vizitez Muzeul oraşului Copenhaga, împreună cu clasa de daneză. Acolo există o cameră unde pot fi văzute obiecte personale ale lui Kierkegaard. Profesoara de daneză ne-a spus că un student din S.U.A. a venit special în Danemarca să înveţe limba daneză numai pentru a citi operele lui Kierkegaard în original.

Pe cardul bancar de la Jyske Bank există un citat din Kierkegaard cu portretul său:
„Livet må leves forlæns, men forstås baglæns“. Ceea ce înseamnă:
„Viaţa trebuie trăită în viitor, dar trebuie înţeles trecutul“.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


În Danemarca sistemul de distribuţie a reclamelor este foarte bine pus la punct. Magazinele, buticurile, hyper-marketurile îşi distribuie reclamele prin firme specializate. Astfel reclamele vin la uşa apartamentului de două ori pe săptămână, în număr impresionant. Aceste firme angajează distribuitori de reclame, care de obicei sunt copii sau străini care pot câştiga un ban în plus, deşi plata este modestă.
Împreună cu reclamele pot fi distribuite şi ziare care sunt gratis.
Munca de distribuţie presupune un efort de sortare a circa 10-12 reclame pentru aproximativ 200 de apartamente şi mersul la fiecare apartament în parte deoarece cutia poştală în cele mai multe cazuri constă într-o deschizătură în uşă pentru corespondenţă. Această muncă durează vreo 3-4 ore.
Cetăţenii pot face reclamaţie la firma de distribuţie dacă nu îşi primesc reclamele, sau dacă acestea au fost introduse incorect (rămân pe jumătate afară), sau au fost puse în faţa uşii, pe preşul de şters picioarele. Astfel distribuitorul care a făcut munca incorect poate primi penalizare.
Există posibilitatea ca cetăţeanul să ceară să nu mai primescă reclame, dacă aceasta este dorinţa lui. Astfel pe uşă apare un semn caracteristic „Ingen reklamer tak“ - „Nicio reclamă, mulţumesc“, iar distribuitorul ştie că acolo nu e mai necesar să pună reclame.
Acest sistem mi se pare foarte corect şi civilizat.
În România sistemul este total diferit. Fiecare hyper-market, magazin, firmă care vrea să-şi facă reclamă îşi angajează proprii distribuitori, nu există firme specializate de distribuţie a reclamelor. De cele mai multe ori reclamele sunt jumătate afară din cutia poştală, ceea ce este un lucru de mântuială. Nicăieri în România nu am auzit pe cineva care să nu vrea să primească reclame prin cutia poştală şi să pună o etichetă care să evidenţieze acest lucru. De fapt reclamele marilor hyper-marketuri pot fi citite şi pe internet, de ce să vină şi prin poştă?
Eu am făcut un protest împotriva reclamelor prin poştă şi am pus o etichetă care spune că nu doresc să primesc reclame. Prima reacţie a fost una de ofensă. Cum adică nu vreau să primesc reclame? Este inacceptabil! Cine sunt eu cel care nu vrea să primească reclame?
Efectele nu s-au lăsat mult aşteptate, astfel nu mai sunt nevoit să arunc la gunoi reclame pe care nu le citesc. Din când în când mai primesc reclame, depinde cât de educat este cel care face distribuţia lor.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The hot-dog stand in Copenhagen

Cultura mâncărurilor daneze

Căminul este extrem de important pentru danezi. Aceştia investesc foarte mult în locuinţe bune şi spaţioase şi de regulă servesc marea majoritate a meselor acasă.

Există trei mese principale în Danemarca: micul dejun şi cina, care sunt luate de obicei acasă, şi prânzul, care se serveşte, din motive practice , în altă parte şi constă de cele mai multe ori dintr-un pachet adus de acasă.

Micul Dejun
Dimineaţa majoritatea adulţilor servesc ceai sau cafea cu pâine de secară sau pâine albă, cu brânză sau gem. Copiii şi tinerii în general mănâncă cereale ca: fulgi de porumb, musli sau terci de ovăz cu lapte sau iaurt.

Un lucru specific Danemarcei în ceea ce priveşte micul dejun este miezul de pâine cu lapte gras (ymerdrys), un amestec între pâine prăjită de secară şi zahăr brun. Øllebrød, un fel de mâncare făcut din pâine de secară, zahăr şi bere fără alcool, a fost parte integrantă a micului dejun încă din evul mediu, dar acum nu mai este chiar atât de popular ca pe vremuri.

Duminica, mulţi danezi mănâncă chifle prospete cu brânză sau gem şi wienerbrød (un sortiment danez de patiserie). Produsele daneze de patiserie sunt faimoase în întreaga lume şi constau în prăjiturele de dimensiuni mici, umplute cu cremă sau cu un amestec obţinut din unt, zahăr şi scorţişoară. Prăjiturelele sunt făcute din aluat de pâine, aşezat pe straturi unse cu unt, astfel încât produsul final devine extrem de pufos. Lângă aceste prăjiturele, mulţi danezi servesc suc de fructe şi câteodată chiar şi un pahar de Gammel Dansk sau un alt schnapps.


În timp ce micul dejun şi cina se servesc acasă, majoritatea danezilor iau prânzul în altă parte. De obicei, prânzul constă în sandwichuri (smørrebrød – cunoscut încă din anii 1880): felii de pâine de secară unse cu unt şi acoperite, de exemplu, cu diverse feluri de cârnaţi, ou fiert tăiat felii sau pate de ficat (un amestec de ficat de porc mărunţit şi untură, care are o consistenţă potrivită pentru ungere).

Prânzul clasic include pâine de secară unsă cu unt, cu salată de hering murat, hering afumat, somon afumat, ţipar afumat, cu omletă de ou, carne de vită cu murături şi hrean, limbă cu maioneză vegetală, carne prăjită de porc cu mere şi prune sau brânză cu carne în aspic şi rom.
Acest tip de sandwich este servit atât la restaurant cât şi la diverse magazine de specialitate din oraşele mari.

Bufetul cu mâncăruri reci
Bufetul cu mâncăruri reci este un alt fenomen specific danez care a apărut la sfârşitul secolului al XIX-lea. Acesta este un bufet care se desfăşoară pe diferite etape. Invitaţilor li se serveşte mai întâi peşte, de exemplu hering murat, hering prăjit în oţet, somon afumat, file de peşte cu sos remoulade, creveţi şi alte tipuri de crustacee.

La următorul fel se servesc feluri reci de mâncare, ca de exemplu cîrnaţi, file afumat de porc, şuncă, friptură de vită şi pate de ficat dar şi cîteva feluri calde de mîncare, ca de exemplu rissoles, care sunt chiftele prăjite, de formă ovală sau medalion de porc . De Crăciun friptura de raţă prăjită şi/sau de porc cu varză roşie, reprezintă de asemenea un fel de mâncare ce nu lipseşte de pe masa niciunui danez.

Apoi sunt servite brânzeturile. Totul vine acompaniat de pâine de secară, pâine albă şi unt. La final se servesc diferite tipuri de budincă şi fructe.

În luna decembrie, danezii participă la diverse prânzuri de Crăciun, în viaţa privată cât şi la locul de muncă unde se organizează petreceri care includ programe artistice şi chiar dans.

Masa de seară este denumită într-un mod ciudat middag (“miezul zilei”), pentru că se servea la miezul zilei. Majoritatea danezilor se străduiesc să se adune cu toţii acasă în fiecare seară, pentru a servi masa.

Până la jumătatea secolului al 20-lea, se serveau la cină două feluri de mâncare: un prim fel, îl constituia de exemplu, terciul de cereale, ciorba de carne sau supa dulce de fructe, iar felul principal era alcătuit din carne sau peşte, servite întotdeauna alături de cartofi şi sos.

Influenţa americană este evidentă la feluri de mâncare precum bufeturi cu salate, cartofi copţi, grătare, carnea de curcan şi feluri de mâncare din pui, gata preparate. În anii 1980, bucătăria italiană a început să câştige teren cu pizza, paste şi utilizarea excesivă a roşiilor. În anii 1990, mâncarea asiatică a devenit la modă cu toate că nu s-a răspândit niciodată foarte mult.

Danezii consumă în special carne tocată iar carnea pentru prăjit alături de sosul tradiţional şi cartofi, reprezintă şi acum un fel de mâncare extrem de popular.

“Pauza de cafea”
O masă secundară care are o importanţă specială în Danemarca este kaffeborde, un moment unde se serveşte cafea cu chec cu stafide, produse daneze de patiserie, diverse tipuri de prăjituri şi biscuiţi.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Părere despre Danemarca

Un vizitator al chat room-ului de la meebo are următoarea părere despre Danemarca:
barbatii sunt majoritatea drogati, alcoolici si poponari
multi stau pe social toata viata
iar femeile rele, agresive, betive si exagerat de independente
vremea super naspa, daca nu s-ar face bani n-as calca in veci, mai ales ca nu ai ce vedea in copenhaga
casele de sute de ani, mizerabile, cand intri zici ca au numai morti ingropati in pereti, asa miroase
o iei razna daca nu ai prieteni, in special romani
ca e diferenta mare de cultura intre noi si altii

e bine ca nu se baga in sufletul tau, asta fiindca sunt foarte indiferenti
are cineva o alta parere?

Eu sunt de acord cu el, în esenţă are dreptate.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The foreigner gene

A story by Mark Anderson from South Africa.
Everyone knows that foreigners are personae non grata in Denmark. The sad fact is that many foreigners don't make things any easier for themselves and for the rest of us. Danes find themselves in a bit of a dilemma because they believe (and it's also true) that immigrant youth are the cause of most of the country's crime, but they can't say it because then they'll be labelled as racists. Far be it for me to come up with a solution, but the conservative coalition is going to make mincemeat of the foreigner debate and have us all out on our arses long before political correctness has had a chance to mouth a syllable of common sense. And when I say all, I mean not only foreigners, but also their Danish better halves. It's already happening. The far right are saying things that make sense to the average Jens Jensen and they don't care if their fellow Danes end up in the line of fire. The spectre of immigrant kids vandalising the bus shelters, terrorising people on their scooters, stealing and mugging is what is haunting Jens Jensen (that is, if he's not worried about the constantly looming spectre of salmonella in his chicken). So it's OK if the fight gets a bit dirty. In my opinion, immigrant youth are just a bunch of idiot kids with no sense of common good. Maybe they have their reasons for being the way they are. Maybe they're just a bunch of misunderstood and displaced souls (many of them have seen war and the general ugliness of humanity first-hand). Or maybe they're just bored out of their skulls. Denmark is a boring place, and no youth with an ounce of warm blood in his veins and an overwhelming urge to get rid of all that pent-up adolescent energy has any business living in a country where a cold and sterile kind of logic keeps the machine faithfully ticking over. Sometimes it just gets to me. Sometimes I feel like, I don't know. like I just want to go down to the park and beat up an old lady and take her purse. It must be something genetic. It must be some kind of foreigner gene.

Learning Danish

Here is another story by Marc Anderson from South Africa, about learning danish.

I have to admit that I found it a bit weird and unexpected that I was forced to learn Danish in the first place. I understand perfectly well that it's necessary to be able to speak the language, but on the other hand you're blackmailed with not being able to get a job and reaching Danish nirvana if you can't speak it. I never suspected that this happened anywhere in the world. If I go to some new country I kind of expect to be able to use the skills and qualifications I have in order to make a living, while learning the local language by myself, without the government getting on my case about it. When I scrubbed toilets I didn't have to talk to anyone, but I got those toilets to sparkle and my customers were VERY satisfied. In the rubber factory we wore earplugs and oxygen masks while grinding and gluing all day. When I was a postie I didn't have to talk to a soul while delivering letters. I'm quite sure I could've done all of these jobs without any special language skills. On the other hand, it is obviously simply a good social advantage to be able to speak Danish well. For example, when I applied for a job that required that I edit photographs, I didn't suspect that my language skills would be in high demand. The interview went so-so. My Danish was shaky, but I managed to get the message across. I happened to have a bit of experience with photo editing. When the interviewer called to say that I didn't get the job because I wasn't extroverted enough, I realised how important it was that I speak perfect Danish because, instead of telling him where to stick his job, all I could say was "OK".

I am (or rather, used to be) a language teacher, so I know a verb from a noun. Which means I also know Danish grammar inside out. But because I haven't really found myself in an environment where it was necessary to speak the language constantly, I don't speak it as well as I should after 4 years. When you begin to take your first tiny steps into that wild and confusing world of Danish pronunciation, you'll find that most Danes won't understand even your simplest utterances like Velbekomme (You're welcome). You'll get a confused and frightened look and a Huh? Hvad siger du? (What you say?). You'll be forgiven for thinking that the Danes are just a daft bunch and that you would've been better off staying home, but the fact is that Danes are not used to hearing even the slightest variations in the way their language is pronounced. As an English speaker, I understand what you're saying no matter how you say it because I've been exposed to so many different variations of English, but the average Dane has never heard his language being mangled. This shouldn't be understood as meaning that there are no differences in the way the Danish language is pronounced. There are quite a few dialects. The Danish spoken in the southern part of Jutland, for example, is quite different from Copenhagen Danish. What I'm saying is that the "average" Dane knows standard Danish (as spoken on TV), and many won't understand the Danish spoken in southern Jutland or Bornholm, much less your special foreigner brand.

The language barrier is often seen as the most important divide between success and failure for a foreigner is Denmark. But don't be blinded by this. When I arrived here I read in a book called "Culture Shock!: Denmark" (by Morten Strange) that, if you want to make it in Denmark, it will help a great deal if you were a bit gregarious. After 4 years here, I can categorically say that this is true. Many job advertisements demand that you be udadvendt (outgoing), even if the job calls for nothing more than having to edit photographs all day. If you're the austere and taciturn type like me, and you want to stand any chance of getting the job you want, may I suggest the following key steps to success: change your personality as soon as possible, jump through 10 flaming hoops and finally, learn to speak Danish. As I mention in my course, Danish is fairly easy to learn. It helps if your first language is English, and if you speak any other Germanic language (German, Dutch, Afrikaans, etc.), you might have a slight advantage. However, my fellow students at the sprogskole (who spoke everything from Russian to Farsi to Spanish) progressed just as fast as I did, in spite of the fact that I speak both English and Afrikaans. Also, if you want to get going with Danish really fast, I suggest that you start a conversation group with some other foreigners. In my experience, speaking Danish with foreigners gives you more confidence because you're less aware of your shortcomings, you understand each other's pronunciation better, and you have more to bitch about. You can worry about speaking perfect Danish later.

Living in Denmark

Here is a story about life in Denmark, a story by Mark Anderson from South Africa.

To a great extent, I'm still in the rejection phase of my culture shock. Actually, I finished all 5 phases, but then decided to come back to the rejection phase and dwell here for a while. Why? Because there are some things here that make me hopping mad, and I can't just ignore them. Obviously, no one can change the way people think and do things. The Danes have been around for a long time and I've got no business coming here and rocking the boat. However, somewhere along the line the Danes will have to rethink the way they do things, and they might as well start doing it now. Every day some Dane somewhere falls in love with some hapless foreigner and drags him or her over here (according to current laws, an application for a residence permit is only considered if both parties are over 24 years old. This law is under revision and will be tightened somewhere in the not-so-distant future). The sad fact is that Danes are, in spite of their education, very xenophobic. They don't want foreigners here, and they're doing a mightily good job at keeping them out.

The foreigners who do manage to slip through the cracks usually end up in some dead-end job, in spite of their qualifications. The Danes' deep-rooted belief in their own superiority is the direct cause of highly educated foreigners ending up in menial jobs. Danish education is simply the best there is. I have seen suspicion and disdain in many a Dane's face when I told them that I have a university degree from South Africa. South Africa? Well, tally me banana. Somehow I've always felt that I'd had to prove my worth to them by doing something more convincing, like writing a bestseller or getting a Danish Ph.D. Even my cool Danish friends in South Africa never really respected the fact that I was a teacher. In Denmark, if you want to put a nail in a wall in order to hang up a picture, no one will trust you to do it if you don't have some sort of qualification. And if you have a Ph.D in it, well then, multiple orgasms all around!

So, as a teacher, what has my contribution to Danish society been? One of my first real jobs was to clean toilets. I used to scrub the toilets at the SAS Radisson hotel and mop up puke and shit after teenybopper concerts. On the night shift I worked with a guy who could only talk about one thing: Kalishnikov semi-automatic machine guns. He used to fantasise about pulling his Kalishnikov up from under his coat at some football match and start firing into the air. Then he'd say, "Mark, what do you think people will do if I did that?". I'd say, "Well, people will be afraid and start to panic". Then he'd laugh his head off. He taught me that a round fired from a Kalishnikov could go through 5 water-filled steel drums. Sometimes he alternated a bit with what he would do if he happened to find 2 garbage bags full of 100 pound notes. He talked about it ALL NIGHT. Then a fellow South African helped me get a job in a rubber factory, where I glued conveyor belts for about a year. After that I worked as a postman for almost another year.

During this time I was also doing a Master's and making this website. I thought that I was doing everyone a HUGE favour by making this website, that the Danish State would shower me with funds and accolades (well, at least some funds), but little did I know that I was working against the machine. I wrote to every single municipal language school in the country and even went to one of them personally in order to get them fired up on the notion of helping me develop the site. I thought it was a great and simple and obvious idea: Let's make a website for all those poor bastards who have to sit and wait for 6 months while twiddling their thumbs, so they can get a head start and actually know some Danish by the time they get their residence permits and are admitted into a language school. There are zillions of organisations in Denmark that work with immigrant affairs. Why hadn't anyone thought of doing it before? How many responses did I get? Zero. I phoned one language school, and my Danish must've sounded funny because the only response I got was a good laugh. I tried getting in with an NGO that works with getting foreigners integrated, but got shoved aside. I e-mailed all the refugee centres I could find on the internet. It slowly started dawning on me that no one really cares. These people who work with integration affairs and foreigners aren't really interested in getting people integrated and teaching them Danish as quickly as possible so they can get a job and get on with their lives. They're in it for their own sakes. Money and prestige, perhaps even to discourage foreigners from getting anywhere. I got an e-mail from a guy called Finn Skovgaard today that sums up my suspicions very eloquently. I'll quote part of it:

"So where does all the tax money go? You answered partially by highlighting all these useless commissions and administrations that soak up money but deliver no useful output. Denmark is over-administered. Producing something useful is not the real first priority for these people - it's getting some comfortable advantages.

Most Danes don't like foreigners in their own country - only to serve them on holiday destinations. That's why they don't do anything for the foreigners. And the administrations that deals with the foreigners actually do a very good job letting their clients know - indirectly of course - that they are not welcome".

Well, amen to that, Finn.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Constituţia Danemarcei

Constituţia Danemarcei, alcătuită din 89 de articole (secţiuni), grupate în 11 părţi, este legea supremă a Danemarcei.
Danemarca este o monarhie constituţională. Puterea legislativă aparţine monarhului (care este şi conducătorul statului), şi Parlamentului (Folketinget), alcătuit din 179 membri. Puterea executivă este exercitată de monarh prin intermediul miniştrilor, conduşi de un Prim Ministru. În sistemul juridic danez nu există curţi constituţionale; toate curţile se pot pronunţa asupra constitutionalităţii legilor.
Constituţia Danemarcei este inspirată de constituţiile Belgiei şi Norvegiei.
Revizuirea Constituţiei porneşte de la propunerea Parlamentului, cu acceptul Guvernului, fiind supusă votului Electoratului.

  • 2 iunie 2006: revizuirea succesiunii la tron.
  • 5 iunie 1953: revizuirea Constituţiei stabileşte un parlament unicameral (Folketinget). De asemenea permite accesul femeilor la tron precum şi aderarea la organizaţii internaţionale, cum sunt Naţiunile Unite şi mai târziu Uniunea Europeană.
  • 10 septembrie 1920: revizuire minoră a Constituţiei; reuniunea cu Schleswig-ul de Nord.
  • 5 iunie 1915: revizuirea Constituţiei, femeile şi personalul de serviciu au drept de vot. Această modificare a constituţiei a intrat în vigoare după terminarea Primului Război Mondial (1918).
  • 28 iulie 1866: revizuirea Constituţiei, dă monarhului dreptul să influenţeze alegerile din Landstinget şi un loc în Consiliul de Stat.
  • 5 iunie 1849: noua constituţie stabileşte monarhia constituţională şi un Parlament bicameral – Rigsdag format din cele două camere Landstinget and Folketinget.
  • 14 noiembrie 1665: 'Legea Regelui' (Kongeloven), bazată pe o monarhie absolutistă, este una dintre cele mai vechi documente constituţionale europene.
Constituţia Danemarcei poate fi consultată în engleză şi daneză.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Amnesty International Report 2007 about Denmark


Head of state: Queen Margrethe II
Head of government: Anders Fogh Rasmussen
Death penalty: abolitionist for all crimes
International Criminal Court: ratified

Concern mounted over worsening intolerance and xenophobia against refugees, asylum-seekers, minorities in general and Muslims in particular. The scope and breadth of new legislation with the stated aim of countering terrorism gave rise to concern about its impact on fundamental human rights.


In its report on Denmark, published in May, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) expressed deep concern at worsening intolerance and xenophobia against refugees, asylum-seekers, minorities in general and Muslims in particular. ECRI noted with concern legislative provisions disproportionately restricting the ability of members of ethnic minorities to acquire Danish citizenship, to benefit from family reunification, and to access social protection. ECRI also highlighted an atmosphere of impunity, created by the low rate of prosecutions for incitement to racial hatred despite, among other things, inflammatory statements by some politicians and the media.

In October the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination expressed a number of concerns after a periodic review of Denmark. These included the refusal of the Public Prosecutor to instigate proceedings in some cases, despite an increasing number of racially motivated offences and hate speech complaints, including in connection with the publication of cartoons that many Muslims found profoundly insulting. It also raised concern about the fact that asylum-seekers could not lodge appeals in the courts against decisions by the Refugee Board and that asylum-seekers and their children were sometimes housed for several years in asylum centres. It also highlighted asylum-seekers' limited involvement in social, professional, educational and cultural activities outside the centres and the reduction of social benefits for those newly arrived in Denmark, a policy which reportedly created marginalization and poverty.

Violence against women

In August, reviewing Denmark's sixth periodic report, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women expressed concern about the extent of violence against women and girls; trafficking of women and girls; and the length of the "reflection period" which meant that after 30 days trafficked women would ordinarily be deported to their country of origin. The Committee also highlighted the vulnerability of foreign married women who had been granted temporary residence permits on the grounds of marriage and who risked expulsion if they left the marital home because of violence by their husbands.

In December, the government announced an extension of the "reflection period" to 100 days.

Terrorism legislation

In June new legislation with the stated aim of countering terrorism came into force. The scope and breadth of these provisions gave rise to concern that previously legitimate political activities may be deemed unlawful. Judicial oversight of police access to private and confidential information was weakened.

Solitary confinement

In December legislation further reducing the time limits for solitary confinement of prisoners was adopted. However, it failed to introduce, even for under-18s, a mandatory maximum duration in cases concerning homicide, drug-related crime or security offences. There were reductions in the use of solitary confinement against under-18s for other offences.

Freedom of expression

In December, three investigative journalists were acquitted of all charges in connection with the publication of classified information about Iraq and the extent of the government's knowledge, in the run-up to the Iraq war, about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The prosecuting authorities stated that they did not intend to appeal against the acquittals.


There were reports that police used excessive force in dealing with three separate demonstrations against evictions in Copenhagen.

In September, the mother of 21-year-old Jens Arne Ørskov filed a civil action against the police and the Ministry of Justice in connection with her son's death in police custody in June 2002. The regional state prosecutor concluded he died from the combined effects of intense physical activity with an intake of alcohol and cannabis. However, Danish as well as international medical experts disputed the official cause of death, stating instead that he died from asphyxiation after being forced to lie on his stomach and having pressure applied to his back while handcuffed. Nonetheless, the prosecuting authorities decided not to press charges or take disciplinary action against the police officers involved. The case was scheduled to be heard in October 2007.

The Amnesty International Report 2007 about Denmark can be found here, and here is the ECRI (European Commision against Racism and Intolerance) Third Report on Denmark adopted on December 16th 2005 and published on May 16th 2006. It can be downloaded in PDF format, in english and danish.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Croazieră Copenhaga-Oslo

Am avut posibilitatea să vizitez oraşul Oslo, Norvegia, pentru 8 ore. Croaziera am făcut-o cu Pearl of Scandinavia, un vapor de linie care leagă Danemarca de Norvegia.
Excursia cu vaporul a fost extraordinară, este o experienţă care o întâlneşti foarte rar în viaţă, să vezi cum muntele iese direct din mare, în fiordurile norvegiene – cred că este cea mai frumoasă ţară scandinavă.
Biletul nu a fost foarte scump, dar serviciile de pe vapor sunt scumpe.

Pearl of Scandinavia

Oslo nu mi s-a părut un oraş mai mare decât Clujul, dar impresionează prin clădirile înalte din centru, numai sticlă, una lângă alta, iar tu, mic între ele, pe stradă... Este un sentiment extraordinar.
În Oslo nu am văzut foarte multe atracţii care le oferă oraşul, în foarte scurtul timp care l-am avut la dispoziţie. Am reuşit să văd Teatrul Naţional, cu numele lui Ibsen, Holberg şi Björnson pe frontispiciu.
Am trecut rapid pe la Grădina Botanică, care este pe un deal. Nu trebuie ratat Palatul Regal.
Oslo este un oraş care merită să fie văzut.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Eva Kiss

Am avut deosebita plăcere să o cunosc personal pe Eva Kiss, celebra interpretă de muzică uşoară din anii '80. Ea este celebră prin interpretarea în limba română a melodiei „The Power of Love“ a lui Jennifer Rush.
Am întâlnit-o întâmplător pe Eva Kiss, la o serbare de Crăciun în anul 2005, unde a fost invitată să cânte. Nici nu ştiam că locuieşte în Danemarca. Am fost apoi la un concert al ei la Medborgsalen în Hvidovre, în februarie 2006.

Este un sentiment extraordinar să dai mâna cu cineva pe care l-ai văzut numai la televizor, într-o lume ireală.
Gândiţi-vă cât este de greu să înveţi să cânţi în limba daneză, o limbă imposibilă, aşa cum a făcut Eva Kiss, care poate fi contactată aici.
Salutările mele deosebite Evei Kiss şi succese deosebite.

„Tăcutele iubiri“

„Puterea dragostei“

„Nostalgia mării“

„Pianul şi marea“

„Pentru iubire“

„Nu vreau să te mai pierd“

„Nu te pot uita“

„Să nu mă crezi“

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Sportul în Danemarca

Fără îndoială cel mai iubit sport în Danemarca este handbalul, urmat foarte îndeaproape de fotbal.
Pentru unii danezi handbalul este chiar o religie, iar pentru alţii este fotbalul.
Un danez adevărat se uită la televizor la meciuri de fotbal sau handbal – depinde de gusturi –, cu o bere în faţă.

În Danemarca există cluburi de fotbal unde părinţii îşi îndrumă copiii chiar de la 5-6 ani. Aceştia, contra unei taxe, fac mişcare câte 2 ore, de două ori pe săptămână. Există şcoli de fotbal chiar şi pentru fete.

Cele mai cunoscute echipe de fotbal daneze sunt FCK şi Brøndby IF, iar cel mai cunoscut stadion de fotbal este Parken.
Am avut ocazia să asist la un meci de fotbal cu FCK pe Parken, din campionatul intern, SAS Liga, dar nu mi s-a părut o echipă extraordinară, aşa cum se spune.
Biletul la un meci de fotbal este mai scump decât un bilet la film.
Consider că fotbalul este un sport practicat de oameni fără cultură, de oameni care n-au citit o carte în viaţa lor.

Ideea cluburilor sportive este foarte răspândită. Aproape fiecare sport are câte un club cu membri înscrişi.

Un sport mai scump, pentru gentlemeni, este tenisul. Deşi nu există danezi celebri în acest domeniu, în schimb există numeroase terenuri de tenis sau cluburi, aproape în fiecare comunitate. Cel mai cunoscut tenisman danez este Kristian Pless.
Întodeauna mi-a plăcut acest sport, am şi practicat.

Kristian Pless îşi rupe racheta de tenis

Un sport care nu este pentru oricine, este golful, practicat în majoritatea oraşelor.
Am avut ocazia să asist la un meci de hockey din campionatul intern. Există săli cu toate condiţiile pentru patinoar.

În concluzie, în Danemarca este un cult pentru mişcarea în aer liber, pentru sport, începând chiar de la copiii de 5-6 ani. Există baze sportive bine dezvoltate cu toate condiţiile necesare.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

„Te rog“ în limba daneză

Un limbaj diplomatic presupune folosirea unor expresii care denotă civilizaţia, buna cuviinţă, politeţea. Una dintre acestea este „te rog/ vă rog“. Această sintagmă nu se poate traduce în limba daneză. Ei nu au această expresie. Ideea de rugăminte se exprimă totuşi, în daneză, prin alte cuvinte, ceea ce nu este acelaşi lucru. Expresia poate fi tradusă în engleză „please“, în germană „bitte“ şi în multe alte limbi, dar nu în daneză.
Aceasta demonstrează încă o dată de ce acest popor este atât de barbar, necivilizat, lipsit de orice sentimente.