14 September 2012
Denmark has one of the lowest birth rates in the world. Now, a group of nurseries near Copenhagen are offering free nursery supervision to children in the hope that their parents will be encouraged to spend more time together and make more babies.
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This is Malcolm Brabant in Denmark, where a group of nursery workers have made the children's parents an offer that's hard to refuse: 'we'll look after your children for an extra two hours for free, so that you can go to bed and make more babies.' This once-off service is designed to draw attention to the dwindling number of births and to do something about it.
In terms of birth rate, Denmark languishes at number 185 out of 221 countries in the world. If the increasingly older population continues to expand, Denmark will not be able to support pensioners and others dependent on state benefits.
The nurseries offering free babysitting are in the district of North Fyn, to the west of Copenhagen, where 200 fewer babies were born last year. Dorthe Nyman, the head of the Grasshopper nursery, described it as a serious problem.
Fifty percent of parents have accepted their offer, but there'll be no time for a romantic dinner and slow seduction because couples only have two hours to perform in the national interest. Ms Nyman said if their offer was successful, they'd be happy to do it all over again.
Click to hear the vocabulary
a place that cares for children
- hard to refuse
difficult to say 'no' to
- look after
happening only one time
exists in a weak state
elderly people who have retired
art of engaging someone in sex
- in the national interest
supporting the aims of the country