Citizenship in the Nordic Countries

Past, Present, Future

image of Citizenship in the Nordic Countries

The Nordic countries have a century-long tradition for cooperation within the area of citizenship law. Since the mid-1970s, however, the Nordic countries have moved in different directions. Today, the Nordic countries represent the entire continuum in European citizenship policies – from liberal Sweden to restrictive Denmark, with the other Nordic neighbors in between. This report reviews the historical development and the current citizenship regime in the five Nordic countries, it provides statistics on the acquisition and loss of citizenship in each country over the past 10-15 years, and it offers a comparative analysis of the divergent development of citizenship law in the 2000s. The concluding chapter discusses possible consequences of the different citizenship regimes and the prospects for strengthened cooperation between the Nordic countries in the area of citizenship law.



Current citizenship regimes in the Nordic countries

The preceding chapter displayed the diverging trajectories of citizenship legislation within the Nordic region. Sweden, Finland, and Norway revised and adopted new citizenship laws in 2001, 2003 and 2006, respectively. Subsequent amendments have been made, but these laws remain in force today in these three countries. Denmark and Iceland, on the other hand, have not adopted new citizenship laws in the 21st century. Denmark’s current citizenship regime is based on the law of 1950 and Iceland’s regime on the law of 1952. A series of amendments have been implemented in both countries since the 1950s, but no major law revisions have been undertaken.


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