Faroe Islands: Men 'must import brides'

A couple sit overlooking Torshavn harbour in the Faroe Islands

With men outnumbering women by 2,000, the Faroe Islands need to import brides to sustain society, it's been suggested.

Most young Faroese women travel abroad to study, half of them never to return to the rugged community of around 48,500 in the North Atlantic, reports Denmark's public DR TV. It says the problem is most acute among women of childbearing age and quotes former chief economic advisor Hermann Oskarsson warning that the population could fall to 37,000 by 2023. "Can Faroese society survive?" he asks, adding: "There just aren't the young women to raise children."

However, since 2006, the number of Filipinos has doubled and - together with Thais - they number 200, overwhelmingly women. This makes them two of the islands' largest foreign communities. The town of Klaksvik (pop. 4,585) has 15 Asian women. Teacher Bjarni Ziska Dahl married a Filipina in 2010, and his brother Heini and several friends followed suit. "We need these people," Bjarni tells the reporter, adding: "She also comes from a large island community, and we look at many things the same way." His wife, Che, adds: "The close family ties are the same in the Philippines, and life is not too complicated - just like back home."

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