Copenhagen: Can you pass the Danish test?

Posted on March 27, 2007


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/coalition government, the government has developed a nasty little habit of throwing their support behind various proposals propagating 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 appease 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.

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 (at present these being 4 Danish university professors) 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 pølse (hot dog)?

9. It’s 5AM in the morning. Where can you buy a pølse (hot dog)?

10. It’s 8AM in the morning. Where can you buy a pølse (hot dog)?

11. Can you ever NOT buy a pølse (hot dog) in Denmark? (Yes/No)

12. If it wasn’t for the fruit and vegetable 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)

Don’t know all the answers? Maybe you can find a few of them somewhere here.

And if you want a sample of some of the proposed test questions already considered, click here (questions in Danish, sorry).