The Danish Faroe Islands, located between Norway and Iceland, has experienced a falling birth rate that threatens the archipelago’s future population. Men outnumber women by 2000 and the total population of the Faroes is just 48,500. As reported by the Danish Broadcasting Corporation, many Faroese women leave the islands to study in large cities like Oslo, Copenhagen or London and half never return. Hermann Oskarsson, the islands’ former chief economic advisor, warned that by 2023, the population could fall to 37,000. He told Politiken newspaper, “It is a question of survival. The young women that should be here to give birth to children are gone.”
Some Faroese men feel they have the solution to the emigration of Faroese women and have started ‘importing wives’ from the Philippines and Thailand. Filipinos and Thais are the largest groups of foreigners on the Faroes numbering 200. Mostly women, that number has doubled since 2006. It is unclear if the rise in immigration of people from the Philippines and Thailand is due to the ‘bride imports’ or to employment or other factors.
Bjarni Ziska Dahl, a teacher and shepherd, was single for years but in 2010 married his wife, Cherelle, a Filipina woman. About her husband Cherelle said, “He’s a good man. Yeah. He’s just simple.” Bjarni’s brother Heini, and some of their friends also tied the knot with Filipinas. Despite their countries being so far apart, Cherelle and Bjarni said that Filipinos and Faroese have common cultural values with their close family ties and living everyday life simply.