The State of Denmark

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The State of Denmark




It’s one of the most open and equal countries in the world. Denmark has long had a reputation for welcoming migrants and protecting its minorities. But these days there are fractures in this once cohesive society. Its mood of tolerance has shifted and now migrants feel on the outer.

In recent years, the government has passed a hundred laws which place strict controls on immigrants: they’ve frozen the intake of refugees, banned the burqa in public and made it mandatory for children of migrants to attend Danish cultural training from the age of one.

The laws are some of the most draconian in Europe and have the backing of both sides of politics. Some areas with large immigrant populations have been designated as ‘ghettos’, where you get double the punishment for a crime.

Reporter Hamish Macdonald travels through Denmark in midsummer and takes the temperature of a country in the middle of an identity crisis.

He meets a far-right politician whose provocative stunts include throwing around the Koran and who often needs a police entourage when he appears in public. He wants all Muslims deported.

Hamish visits a young Muslim woman who has been driven indoors by the burqa ban, and he has lunch with the local councillor who’s making pork compulsory on the menu at restaurants and schools in his area.

Hamish also takes a ride in Ellie’s pink taxi – made famous in her popular YouTube show – where she interviews Danes from all sides of the political fence, using humour to navigate and explore the cultural divide.

A Foreign Correspondent story


Foreign Correspondent
Australian Broadcasting Corporation