Lonely wives in Denmark

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There's a shortage of women in the Faroe Islands. So local men are increasingly seeking wives from further afield - Thailand and the Philippines in particular. But what's it like for the brides who swap the tropics for this windswept archipelago? When Athaya Slaetalid first moved from Thailand to the Faroe Islands, where winter lasts six months, she would sit next to the heater all day:.

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Leave me alone, I'm very cold. Moving here six years ago was tough for Athaya at first, she admits.

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She'd met her husband Jan when he was working with a Faroese friend who had started a business in Thailand. Jan knew in advance that bringing his wife to this very different culture, weather and landscape would be challenging.

There are now more than women from Thailand and Philippines living in the Faroes. It doesn't sound like a lot, but in a population of just 50, people they now make up the largest ethnic minority in these 18 islands, located between Norway and Iceland. In recent years the Faroes have experienced population decline, with young people leaving, often in search of education, and not returning. Women have proved more likely to settle abroad. As a result, according to Prime Minister Axel Johannesen, the Faroes have a "gender deficit" with approximately 2, fewer women than men. This, in turn, has lead Faroese men to look beyond the islands for romance.

Many, though not all, of the Asian women met their husbands online, some through commercial dating websites. Others have made connections through social media networks or existing Lonely wives in Denmark couples. For the new arrivals, the culture shock can be dramatic. Officially part of the Kingdom of Denmark, the Faroes have their own language derived from Old Norse and a very distinctive culture - especially when it comes to food. Fermented mutton, dried cod and occasional whale meat and blubber are typical of the strong flavours here, with none of the traditional herbs and spices of Asian cooking.

And, although it never gets as cold as neighbouring Iceland, the wet, cool climate is a challenge for many people. Athaya is a confident woman with a ready smile who now works in the restaurant business in Torshavn, the Faroese capital. She and Jan share a cosy cottage on the banks of a fjord surrounded by dramatic mountains. But she's honest about how difficult swapping countries was at first. People our age were out at work and there were no children for Jacob to play with.

I was really alone. When you stay at home here, you really stay at home. I can say I was depressed.

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But I knew it would be like that for two or three years. Then, when Jacob started kindergarten, she began working in catering and met other Thai women. And it gave me a taste of home again. Krongrak Jokladal felt isolated at first, too, when she arrived from Thailand. Her husband Trondur is a sailor and works away from home for several months at a time. She started her own Thai massage salon in the centre of Torshavn.

It's a far cry from Krongrak's job as head of an ancy division in Thai local government. But she is unusual in that she runs her own business. Even for many highly educated Asian women in the Faroes, the language barrier means they have to take lower-level work. Axel Johannesen, the prime minister, says helping the newcomers overcome this is something the government takes seriously.

Kristjan Arnason recalls the effort his Thai wife Bunlom, who arrived in the Faroes input into learning the language. And he did, and I was working with Faeroese people in a hotel so I had to learn how to talk to them. In an age when immigration has become such a sensitive topic in many parts of Europe, Faeroes society seems remarkably accepting of foreign incomers. That's why we need to work Lonely wives in Denmark at government level to make sure we don't isolate people and have some kind of sub-culture developing.

But Antonette Egholm, originally from the Philippines, hasn't encountered any anti-immigrant sentiment. I met her and her husband as they moved into a new flat in Torshavn. I lived in metro Manila and there we worried about traffic and pollution and crime. Here we don't need to worry about locking the house, and things like healthcare and education are free.

At home we have to pay. And here you can just call spontaneously at someone's house, it's not formal. For me, it feels like the Philippines in that way.

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Likewise, her husband Regin believes increasing diversity is something that should be welcomed not feared. Our gene pool is very restricted, and it's got to be a good thing that we welcome outsiders who can have families. He acknowledges that he's had occasional ribbing from some male friends who jokingly ask if he pressed "enter" on his computer to order a wife. But he denies he and Antonette have encountered any serious prejudice as a result of their relationship.

They say Jacob would have more friends there. He is surrounded by hills covered in sheep and exposed to nature. And his grandparents live just up the road. There is no pollution and no crime. Not many kids have that these days. This could be the last paradise on earth. the conversation - find us on FacebookInstagramSnapchat and Twitter. Find out more.

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Lonely wives in Denmark

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Women living in single-person households in Denmark , by age group