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Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Monday

The health minister promising a 'summer without corona restrictions,' Syrian refugees allowed to stay after residence revoked, and Obama in Copenhagen are among the top stories in Denmark this Monday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Monday
Former President of the United States Barack Obama during the Copenhagen Democracy Summit on Friday. (Photo: Philip Davali / Ritzau Scanpix)

Obama in Copenhagen 

Former United States president Barack Obama was in town last week for the Copenhagen Democracy summit. A choir practicing on a balcony near Kongens Nytorv found themselves accidentally serenading a visibly spellbound Obama, who passed his coffee off to an attendant to applaud. 


#foryou #foryourpage #fyp #copenhagen #denmark #obama #singing #denmark

♬ original sound – Agnes Haugland

No corona restrictions this summer, health minister vows

Reinstating Covid-19 restrictions this summer is “out of the question,” Danish health minister Magnus Heunicke told broadcaster DR. 

Heunicke dismissed concerns about a 16 percent increase in confirmed cases from the week of May 15th to the week of May 22nd. It’s attributed to the new omicron sub-variant BA.5., which is expected to become the dominant strain in Denmark in coming weeks. 

“Yes, it is more contagious than it has been in the past,” Heunicke says. “But we are at a very low level here in Denmark and still have a high immunity in the population.”

By autumn, though, the National Board of Health anticipates a need for a new vaccination program — at least for the most vulnerable, including the elderly, the disabled, and healthcare workers. 

READ ALSO: Covid-19: Infection numbers in Denmark up for first time since February 

Refugee Board allows many Syrian refugees to stay 

Hundreds of Syrian refugees were informed that their residence permit was revoked or their application rejected since the Danish government determined conditions in the Damascus area had “improved.” 

However, in 2022, the Refugee Board has reversed the decision of the Danish Immigration Service in 71 percent of Syrian cases addressed this year and allowed the refugees to stay. 

Between January and May, the Refugee Board, which issues binding decisions when applicants appeal a determination from the Immigration Service, overturned Immigration’s decision in 54 out of 76 cases and granted continued residence permits. 

Ib Hounsgaard Trabjerg, chairman of the Refugee Board, described the rate of reversal as too high — “not least for the sake of those people who find their residence permits revoked or refused, creating uncertainty about their situation,” he told newswire Ritzau. 

READ ALSO: ‘I can’t go back’: Syrian refugees in Denmark face limbo after status revoked 

Physical divides between rich and poor in Denmark grow larger 

Economic segregation has increased in Denmark over the past decade, according to a new study from the Economic Council of the Labour Movement.  

“The Danes who earn the most – and also the middle class – are increasingly clumping together in special neighborhoods,” council director Lars Andersen told newspaper Kristeligt Dagblad. “This may mean that we do not see anyone other than those who look like ourselves.” 

“The risk is that it affects the mutual understanding of each other across social groups. The scare example is the United States, where the social division has led to widespread polarization,” he adds.

A rising cost of housing is in part to blame, Andersen explains. In 2020, 27 percent of primary schools had students from all income brackets, while 10 years ago the figure was 40 percent. 

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For members


Today in Denmark: a roundup of the day’s news on Tuesday

Danish extremist barred from UK, Islamic State sisters lose case against Denmark, Denmark only second happiest country, and home sales in Denmark at lowest level since 2013.

Today in Denmark: a roundup of the day's news on Tuesday

Rasmus Paludan barred from entering UK 

The Danish anti-Islamic extremist Rasmus Paludan had been barred from entering the UK after it emerged that he planned to burn copies of the Quran in the city of Wakefield. 

The UK’s security minister, Tom Tugendhat, told the UK parliament that Paludan has been added to the UK’s “warnings index” after he announced his plans to ban a Quran in the city to mark the start of Ramadan on Wednesday and “will not be allowed access” to the country.

“His travel to the United Kingdom would not be conducive with the public good and he will not be allowed access,” he said, according to The Guardian newspaper.  

Danish vocab: adgang – access 

Islamic State twin sisters lose case against Denmark 

A court in Copenhagen on Monday acquitted Denmark’s immigration ministry for stripping two twin sisters of their Danish citizenship in 2020. 

The sisters were born in Denmark to Somali refugees, and then grew up in the UK before going to Syria to join the Islamic state caliphate in 2014, aged 16. The two are now held in the al-Roj prison camp in Kurdish-held northern Syria. 

The sentence is conditional on the women not becoming stateless.

In 2020, ministry said that the sisters were also Somali citizens and therefore would not be left stateless, but their lawyer, Eddie Omar Rosenberg Khawaja, said that the law in Somalia prohibits dual citizenship, meaning the two had lost their Somali citizenship automatically on becoming Danish citizens at aged four. 

He plans to appeal the judgement. 

Danish vocab: tvillingesøstre – twin sisters

Home sales in Denmark sink to lowest level since 2013

The number of home sales in Denmark fell over the last three months to the lowest level since the start of 2013, when the country was still emerging from a protracted housing slump.

Only 9,931 homes were sold in the last three months of 2022, according to the latest figures from the trade body Finance Denmark, the lowest number for 39 three-month periods. At the same time prices have fallen back to the levels they were at at the end of 2020. 

Prices of apartments fell by 7.2 percent last three months of the year compared to the same period in 2021, while prices for detached houses fell by 6.3 percent.

Danish vocab: bolighandler – home sales

World’s second happiest country: Denmark loses out to Finland again

Denmark is listed at number two on this year’s World Happiness Report, coming second to Finland for the second year in a row.

The UN’s World Happiness Report, published on Monday, puts Denmark second on its national happiness ranking.

Finland takes the title of world’s happiest nation, once closely associated with Denmark, for the sixth year in a row.

The Danish second place is the same as its 2022 ranking and one spot better than in 2021. Denmark once took first place regularly, but this has not happened since 2016. Denmark was also second behind Finland in 2019.