Denmark to Combat ‘Parallel Societies’ by Limiting Non-Western Migrants to 30 Per Cent in Neighbourhoods

PADBORG, DENMARK - JANUARY 06: A Danish policeman checks the identity papers of passengers on a train arriving from Germany on January 6, 2016 in Padborg, Denmark. Denmark introduced a 10-day period of passport controls and spot checks on Monday on its border to Germany in an effort to stem …
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Denmark has proposed countering the formation of parallel societies by limiting the number of non-Western residents in neighbourhoods to no more than 30 per cent.

The proposal aims to have no residential area in the country have a population of more than 30 per cent non-Western migrants within the next decade, with Interior and Housing Minister Kaare Dybvad Bek stating the move is to counter ghettoisation.

“We have the next ten years to strike a balance in our integration policy and the way we live and live together,” Dybvad said and added, according to Danish broadcaster TV2: “Otherwise, I think we will end up with a two-tier society where people are withdrawing from each other.”

The government is also looking to abolish the term “ghetto” in legislation, with Minister Dybvad stating: “The ghetto designation is misleading. I do not use it myself, and I believe it obscures the important work that needs to be done in residential areas.

“All this effort is about combating parallel societies and creating a positive development in residential areas, so as to make them attractive to a wide cross-section of the population.”

Ghetto areas are defined under Danish law as areas of at least 1,000 people where the proportion of migrants and non-Western migrant backgrounds exceeds 50 per cent.

There are several other criteria for the designation, including high unemployment, low education levels among adults, low incomes, and criminal convictions for narcotics or firearms violations.

There are 15 areas currently on the government’s official list of ghettos, and all are said to have non-Western populations above 30 per cent.

Curt Liliegreen, Director of the Housing Economics Knowledge Centre, criticised the proposal saying that it was not a realistic goal. “There are simply too few public housing for families,” he said and added: “There are too few private housing rentals, and the demand is too great, so the only way to achieve the goal is to get that group out of the municipality.”

The proposal comes just months after the government of Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen vowed to crack down on crimes committed by young non-Western men, after noting that 20 per cent of non-Western men born in 1997 had breached the penal code before the age of 21.

“It’s nothing new, and that’s the problem: it’s been going on for too many years. Girls are called derogatory things because they are Danish. Or girls are subjected to social control because they have become too Danish. A sausage cart in Brønshøj is attacked with firecrackers because it sells pork,” she said.

Earlier this year, the Danish government leader set a target of receiving zero new asylum seekers, saying: “We must be careful that there are not too many coming to our country. Otherwise, our cohesion cannot exist. It’s already challenged.”

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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