The Danish Parliament’s June 4 vote to pass a bill to allow dual citizenship is expected to benefit tens of thousands of Danish expats worldwide who will be able to retain Danish citizenship even after they became citizens of another country. On the flipside, foreigners living and working or those married to Danish spouses in Denmark will now also be able to seek Danish citizenship without being asked to renounce the nationality of their native countries.
“The legislation on dual citizenship is of great importance to many people as it is largely concerned with national identity and belonging. These things means a lot in a globalized world,” Karen Haekkerup, Denmark’s justice minister, said in a statement released on June 4.
The minister pointed out that many people today choose to settle in foreign countries, but still retain a strong attachment to their country of origin. “We should not force people to choose between allegiances.”
Danish citizens of Thai descent and Thai expats living in Denmark in the process of applying for Danish citizenship welcome the new law to come into force in the summer of 2015.
Naowarat Stegelmann, 36, a naturalized Danish citizen originally from Thailand, said she was happy that the Danish Parliament had given the green light to dual citizenship, so her children, aged 11 and 8, would not have to choose between Danish and Thai citizenship.
Naowarat, who lives in Thisted, Nordjylland, was granted Danish citizenship six years ago after having married her Danish husband and been living and working in Denmark since 2001. She became a single parent and had to quit her job as nutrition assistant to raise her two children when her husband died in early 2008.
“I will definitely apply to reclaim Thai citizenship, if possible, when the new Danish law on dual citizenship comes into effect,” she said, adding that she and many of her friends still have strong emotional attachment to Thailand, the country of their birth.
Naowarat and other naturalized Danish citizens from Thailand may still have to go through some legal procedures if they seek to reclaim their Thai nationality.
Morakot Janemathukorn, Minister Counsellor at the Royal Thai Embassy in Copenhagen, speaking to ScandAsia in a telephone interview, said the passage of the proposed law by the Danish Parliament was based on a careful study, and it was finally decided that Denmark’s national interest will be best served if the country allows dual citizenship.
As for Thailand’s position on dual citizenship, the senior diplomat said: “Dual citizenship in Thailand is possible in the cases where articles in the law permit,” the senior diplomat said.