Here’s a weird post, but I figured I should leave a breadcrumb trail on the Internet for people who will be following in my path – if there are any, that is! At the least, this is information that would have been useful to me before hand.
If you’re having a child in Denmark, the process by which you give your child and name, and subsequently have proof of said name is not obvious, unless you’re a Dane.
Contrary to what I expected, a child is given a CPR number as soon as they are born. Within minutes of being born, in fact. This number roughly translates to the SIN or Social Security Numbers for North Americans, so I was expecting to have to apply for it, which is not the case. In fact, the process is a little different in that the child is entered into the Danish system immediately, and the rest of the process is simply filling in the details in the computer.
The first thing you need to do is decide on a name, which isn’t as easy as it might sound. First, the name you pick MUST be on the list of acceptable names for a child. If it is unusual, foreign or otherwise novel to Denmark, you must apply to have the name recognized. This does not apply to last names, however, just given names. Fortunately, the name list is quite extensive, and any reasonably common name (and some that really aren’t) are already there.
[Edit: I forgot one thing – the usage of names in Denmark is different from North American in an odd way – middle names, here, are not the same – at least, they are not analogous. In the end, despite trying to convince me to use the Danish convention where “middle names” are maternal last names or something similar, neither I or tr woman at the church office felt strongly enough about it to change what I’d already entered into the computer.]
Once you’ve selected the name, you can head over to https://www.personregistrering.dk/, where you must log in using the mother’s identification. (If you’re not in Denmark, you won’t be familiar with the system, but it involves using your CPR number, a password and a disposable key card with ~200 key/response pairs. It’s quite a neat system, really.) The mother can then enter the name of the child into the system. At this point, the computer then will Email the father and require that the father log in (using the his own CPR number, password and key card) and confirm the name in the system.
However, this is where it starts to become interesting. If you will be christening the child, you’re more or less done the process at this point, and you can head over to your local church to finish the process. If you won’t be christening the child, you’re more or less done as well – unless you’d like a birth certificate – in which case, the process is a little more involved.
What you need to do, at this point, is to figure out which parish you live in. In my case, I went to city hall, and told them I wanted a birth certificate for my child, and they said “Go Here” and handed me a piece of paper with an address. That address (Vestregade 21) turned out to be a church run office, where I had to figure out that I needed to enter through the front door, walk up a flight of stairs, and through a sitting room to find a woman who is in charge of church registrations.
What you then find out is that the church waits exactly 15 days after the child is born to enter the baby’s name into the system from the information in personregistrering database manually from a printed out copy. Once it’s in the church system, they can simply print off a sheet of watermarked paper with the information on it – in both English and Danish, if you ask politely.
Surprisingly, it doesn’t contain the basic information on “where the child was born”, simply in which parish they’ve been registered, which took me by surprise. In any case, at this point, you will have the equivalent of a birth certificate for your child – which, if you can read the Danish, you will find out is actually a certificate that you have registered the name to the child, not that the child was born.
And there you have it, now you know how to name a baby in Denmark!