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Learning materials for Danish citizenship test now ‘badly out of date’

According to an analysis by Denmark's state broadcaster DR, the learning materials given out to help people prepare for the country's citizenship test, are now full of outdated information.

Learning materials for Danish citizenship test now 'badly out of date'
The Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration aims to keep the out-of-date information out of the test questions. Photo: Scanpix

Some 6,600 people have registered to take Denmark’s gruelling citizenship test today, of whom about 5,153 will take the Infødsretsprøven citizenship test, which tests knowledge of Danish society, culture and history. 

But according to an analysis by state broadcaster DR, the learning material they are given to study has not been updated since 2015, meaning it is now seriously out of date, making the already challenging test even more difficult.

Mats Dang, a 35-year-old from Canada who has lived in Denmark for 7.5 years, said he had bought study materials from private providers who had alerted him to the outdated passages in the material provided by the immigration and integration ministry. 

“They point out that the teaching material is outdated. But those who can not afford to buy it, will have to rely 100 percent on the official learning material and they will flunk the test if there are questions in those areas,” he told DR. “They require us to be switched on in relation to the many rules, so I expect them to also be up to date. That would be only fair.” 

The learning materials talk about the singer Kim Larsen (left), and Prince Henrik (right) as if they were still alive, and claim that Pia Kjærsgaard (centre) is still the chair of the Danish parliament. Photos: Wikimedia Commons/Scanpix

The Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI), which is responsible for the tests, told DR that no questions would be asked about any facts which were out of date in the learning materials. 

“SIRI is aware that the teaching material contains certain outdated and inaccurate information, as it was last updated in 2016,” the agency told DR.  “In preparing the citizenship tests, SIRI ensures that no questions are asked about the parts of the teaching material that are no longer up to date.”

The agency said that an up-to-date version of the material was expected to be ready before the next round of citizenship tests in November 2021.

The current learning materials, among other things, claim that:

  • there are 28 members of the European Union (since the UK left, it’s 27)
  • the Danish holiday year runs from May 1st to April 30th (it has been reorganised to run from September 1st to August 31st)
  • 80 percent of the Danish population are members of the Church of Denmark (the up-to-date figure is 74 percent)
  • 5.7 million citizens live in Denmark, and 580,000 in Copenhagen (the latest figures are 5.8 million and 799,000)
  • Pia Kjærsgaard of the Danish People’s Party is chair of the Parliament (it is Social Democrat Henrik Dam Kristensen)
  • Prince Henrik and the musician Kim Larsen are alive (they are not).

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DANISH CITIZENSHIP

Danish citizenship: Can you be rejected because of a speeding fine?

One of the requirements for fulfilling criteria for Danish citizenship through naturalisation is a clean criminal record. Does this mean fines for traffic offences could disqualify you?

Danish citizenship: Can you be rejected because of a speeding fine?

Denmark is known for its strict rules on citizenship and a range of criteria must be met before you can become a Danish national.

The requirements fall into several broad categories, one of which being that you must have no criminal convictions.

The other categories relate to employment status, length of residency in Denmark, debt and personal finances and knowledge of language and culture. You can read about them in detail in our guide to applying for Danish citizenship.

In April 2021, the government agreed new citizenship rules, adding new curbs on who can be granted Danish nationality and building on the earlier 2018 citizenship rules.

READ ALSO: Denmark announces new tightening of citizenship rules

Under the April 2021 rules, persons with previous convictions for which they have received conditional or unconditional prison sentences are permanently barred from being granted Danish citizenship.

Additionally, people who have received fines of at least 3,000 kroner for breaking certain laws are required to wait for a suspension period of four years and six months before being acceptable for naturalisation.

On its website, the Ministry of Immigration and Integration states that a condition of a citizenship application making it to parliament – where it is given final approval – is that “you have not committed certain types of acts for which you can be penalised, or that any suspension period related a punishable act has expired”.

This means that if you are fined for breaking certain laws, you can be suspended from applying for citizenship for a given period.

Fines under 3,000 kroner do not generally result in a suspension.

If you have received a fine for “violating the traffic laws, this can… impact your possibility of becoming a Danish citizen. At least for a while,” the ministry states.

For example, a fine of 3,000 kroner or more results in a suspension period of four and a half years from the date the offence is registered. As such, you could not become a Danish citizen until four and a half years after this date, regardless of whether you meet the other criteria.

This includes fines given for all forms of traffic offences, including speeding tickets, the ministry notes.

It should be noted that police speeding fines are often less than 3,000 kroner, depending on the offence.

For example, driving at 59 kilometres per hour in a 50 km/h zone (the speed limit in most urban areas), usually gives a fine of 1,200 kroner. The same fine would be given for driving at 130 km/h on a section of motorway where the speed limit is 110 km/h.

If you drive at 110 km/h where the limit is 80 km/h, you can be fined 2,400 kroner.

Fines go up in certain circumstances: driving over 140 km/h adds an extra 1,200 kroner to the fine, followed by another 600 kroner for each additional 10 km/h.

Additionally, breaking the speed limit by 30 percent or more often results in an additional 1,200 kroner being added to the initial fine.

Speeding in areas where the normal speed limit has been reduced due to roadworks results in the fine being doubled.

Reports in Danish media have described cases of individuals who have lived in Denmark since childhood having their citizenship applications turned down because of speeding fines.

Repeat offences (or other offences for which fines are issued) can result in the suspension period being extended by 3 years for each offence. Only penalties which would have resulted in suspension in isolation – in other words, fines of over 3,000 kroner – can extend the suspension.

There are conditions under which you can apply for dispensation: if your traffic fine is not for driving under the influence of alcohol and is between 3,000 and 3,500 kroner; or if you have been concurrently fined up to 5,000 kroner for several offences which do not give fines over 3,500 kroner in isolation.

However, dispensation would require a member of parliament’s citizenship committee to argue your case for dispensation within the committee, the ministry states. In other words, you’d need an MP to agree to speak on your behalf.

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