Immigration

Theme

The newcomers

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Ever since the 16th century, talented foreigners and persecuted religious minorities have been invited to the country by Danish kings. More recently, Polish and Turkish workers have also lent a hand as guest workers", while refugees from the world's hotspots have made their way here. Immigrants have come for a patchwork of reasons, and the issue has long since been dragged into the political arena. Several times immigration and refugee policy has been decisive in forming governments. "

As in many other countries, Danish kings and bureaucrats had from the earliest ages a pragmatic attitude towards immigrants and refugees. If they could be of use, or help in trading, production, building or administration, they were welcome. Even though examples of accepting political refugees exist, it wasn't until the 20th century that it became a tradition.

In 1520, Christian II brought 184 Dutch families – renowned for their vegetable farming skills – to the island of Amager just outside the capital's gates. In 1720,Frederik IV invited French Huguenots to seek refuge in Denmark. The protestant Huguenots had lost their freedom of religion in 1685 and sought safe havens in the rest of Europe, bringing with them tobacco-growing. In 1759, Frederik V recruited Germans – later known as potato Germans" because they planted the otherwise unknown tuber in the sandy soil of Jutland's moors. Moravians – also called the Unity of the Brethren – settled…

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