A Faroese community in a part of Copenhagen you might not expect 

Øresundskollegiet is the biggest dorm in the north.

By Unn Madsen & Sigurd Bjørn 

Kathrin is one of the many Faroese people, who have chosen to stay at Øresundskollegiet, a dormitory that houses about a thousand people, mostly internationals on Amager. 

Øresundskollegiet, which is the biggest dorm of its kind with over 1500 residents. It is build in a classic 1970’s concrete style architecture, and is well known for housing a disproportionate amount of Faroese people. 

The dormitory got a complete makeover these last few years, as part of a huge renovation project, which included rooftop gardens, and improved facilities throughout the dorm, including halls and conference rooms which can be booked for either studying or events such and garage sales of parties. 

One of the residents who uses these facilities to great extent is Kathrin Bertholsen, she studies to become a fysiotherapist, and she is one of the many residents who travel from the Faroe Islands to Denmark to study. 

When asked why there are so many Faroese people at the dormitory, according to Kathrin the answer is a two faced coin: 

“First of all it is a place many Faroese people on the Faroe Islands know when they want to come to Denmark to study, so it is something you have heard about even before you move here.” 

There is also another reason according to Kathrin: 

“It feels safe, you know? A lot of people know you native language, which sometimes makes making friends a bit easier.” 

Another Faroese we spoke to is Rókur Norðoi, he studies to become an architect on a daily basis at the Copenhagen architect school, according to him, the reason why there are so many Faroese, is that the study possibilities on the Faroe Islands are limited, and it is important to have found a place to live before you start studying.

He expresses just like Kathrin, that it is a dorm that it is already known widely on the Faroe Islands: 

“When you speak to your friends and family, who have studied in Denmark, it is often said that Øresundskollegiet is a good place to live.” 

According to Rókur, Øresundskollegiet is not the only dorm that attracts a lot of Faroese people. Solbakken is according to him a very popular place to live as well, and there is according to Rókur a very good reason for that: 

“One of the reasons a lot of Faroese people like Solbakken, is because it is more family friendly and more spacious. If me and my girlfriend were to get a child for instance, we would probably look for something bigger. I’ve also heard that there is a child care facility near Solbakken.” 

When it comes to getting children, the Faroese are the champions of europe, if you compare the fertility rate of the Faroe Islands which is at 2.3 to Denmarks 1.7, the constrast is stark. 

Denmark of the Faroe Islands 

For many of the people studying with a Faroese background, like Kathrin for instance. The wish it to some point return to the Faroe Islands, when they are done with the education in the future: 

“I would love to like here a couple of years, but not for a super long time.” 

For Rókur, he is still undecided, according to him the circumstances are what is gonna be the deciding factor when it come to whether or not he is gonna stay or move back to the Faroe Islands: 

“My girlfriend got a job on the Faroe Islands, so for some time we are definitely gonna move back, we do not know how long.” 

According to Rokúr it’s also tough coming back to Denmark, once you have established yourself back on the Faroe Islands: 

“A lot of people who studied in Denmark, and then came back to the Faroe Islands always talk about coming back at some point, but it rarely happens.”