Denmark Apologise for taking Greenland kids in Failed Social Experiment

DENMARK’S PM Mette Frederiksen has apologised for a 1951 failed social experiment in which 22 kids from Greenland were taken from their families.

Seventy years ago the Danish government launched the ‘Greenland Children Project’, taking 22 kids away from their families in the icy Atlantic territory to Denmark so they could learn the language and ‘become Danes’. The project’s ambition was that the children would return home to become the elites of Greenland, which is a semi-autonymous territory ruled by Copenhagen.

However, the children suffered in Denmark and many were returned to Greenland’s capital Nuuk to spend the rest of their upbringing in an orphanage. They struggled to adapt to the Danish language, and many never saw their families again. Most of the 22 kids of the project have since passed away.

Denmark’s PM said she was ‘deeply touched by the human tragedies’ contained in a recent report into the failed project. Investigators began examining the case in February last year, analysing why certain kids were selected and their unpleasant experiences in Denmark. Frederiksen said she had been following the case ‘for many years’.

Apologising on behalf of her country, she said that the children ‘lost the ties to their families and lineage, their life history, to Greenland, and thus to their own people.’ The chairman of Greenland’s government, Kim Kielsen, said he was ‘deeply touched’ by the report and said his country and Denmark must learn from their ‘common history’.

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Oisin Sweeney

Oisin is an Irish writer based in Seville, the sunny capital of Andalucia. After starting his working life as a bookseller, he moved into journalism and cut his teeth as a reporter at one of Ireland's biggest news websites. Since joining Euro Weekly News in November, he has enjoyed covering the latest stories from Seville, Spain and further afield - with special interests in crime, cybersecurity, and European politics. Anyone who can pronounce his name first try gets a free cerveza...