Denmark: Creative Integration: Denmark to Immigrants — Let’s Ride

By Josh Ward Immigrants to Denmark have to learn how to become Danish. And if there is one thing the Danes do a lot of, it’s ride bikes. Classes to teach newcomers how to cycle have proven popular. In the summer of 2005, Denmark decided that, if you want to live in Denmark, you have to do what the Danes do. The mandated checklist includes learning Danish, understanding the “fundamental norms and values of Danish society,” and making an effort to participate in the community. Those who drafted that law, however, seem to have forgotten one vital aspect of being Danish — expert command of the humble bicycle. The country’s Red Cross though, is doing what it can to fix that omission. For three years now, the Danish Red Cross has been offering free cycling classes for immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees. Most of the people who take advantage of the program are women from the Middle East, according to Uzma Andresen, a consultant who helps the Danish Red Cross develop and implement integration programs.