Why is a handshake a requirement for citizenship?

The Danish Parliament passed a new law summarizing the rules for granting citizenship. It includes a mandatory handshake between the applicant and the presiding officer. With the handshake, the applicant expresses respect for Danish society and culture.

editor: REMIX NEWS

This symbolic act is to be part of a naturalization ceremony during the process of getting citizenship. According to the proposal, a new Danish citizen will also promise and sign that he will abide by the constitution of the country.

According to some critics, the measure deliberately targets Muslims because some insist that for religious reasons they cannot shake hands with a person of the opposite sex.

The law has also been criticized by some politicians who think that the requirement of a handshake will discourage only a few applicants for citizenship. According to others, the law is hypocritical, as shaking hands does not ensure that the new citizens will conduct themselves appropriately. Several mayors have already said the they will ignore the rule.

“A handshake is the way we greet each other in Denmark. It’s the way we show respect for each other in this country. That’s why it’s a natural part of the naturalization ceremony,” says Inger Støjberg, minister for Immigration.

Denmark now appears more often in the media in connection with anti-immigration measures. Recently, the country raised controversy in connection with a remote island for convicted foreigners and a law prohibiting the face cover in public.


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