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To all you foreigners who live in Denmark and have adopted it as your second home – I have a soft spot for you. Even though I am aware that many of you are here for love of a particular Dane and not for all of us, you have a special place in my heart.

You who have spent days and months and years learning our outrageous language which no-one else in the world speaks, except for this pitiful little group of 5.6 million Danes. You will never find another use for it than speaking with us. And you knew that when you embarked on your laborious learning journey. Could anyone ask for a bigger compliment?

You who may have learned to appreciate black bread and liver paste for lunch. Perhaps even pickled herring? I don’t even like that. But every time I see a non-Dane eating an open sandwich for lunch, my heart melts. I’m not talking about the fancy ones that we show off and feed the tourists. No. I’m talking hardcore, no garnish, flat piece of bread with nothing but a slice of ham or salami. Hats off to you!

You who have watched every single episode of the all time favourite Danish TV series, “Matador”, and even know the characters as if they were distant relatives whom you remember fondly from summer holidays past. And who know what we are talking about when we start discussing whether anybody ever really saw headmaster Andersen on that balcony in his pyjamas.

You who throw in Danish words when you have a conversation in English. Because you think it’s easier.

You who buy tickets to concerts with Danish bands who sing in Danish. And have the albums at home.

Malk De Koijn

You who bike to work. Even when it’s snowing.

I realise and appreciate that you have not given up your own culture to do all this. And I am certainly not assuming that you don’t have complaints about this country and its natives. Of course you do. We’re awful! And this is exactly why I have a soft spot for you. Despite the Danes and the obvious shortcomings of our country. Despite having other options. Despite not always being made to feel welcome in this self sufficient miniature queendom.¬†Despite all this, you have chosen to stay.

Every time I meet another one of you – and I have been fortunate to meet many – I am struck with awe and wonder. And touched that you so wholeheartedly have chosen to adopt my country, language and culture when you had the perfectly comfortable and acceptable option of living here, while maintaining your own culture, language and lifestyle without being influenced by your surroundings. Just like many Danes do when they live abroad. I don’t have a problem with people who do that. I have in fact more or less been one of the people who did that when I lived abroad for a few years. But the fact that you have chosen the other path makes you stand out. And it sincerely warms my humble, Danish heart. Thanks for staying!

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