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The 49ers: Tracing the lives of Filipina workers in Denmark

The Department of History
School of Social Sciences
Ateneo de Manila University

 cordially invites you to a lecture on

The 49ers: Tracing the lives of Filipina workers in Denmark


 Nina Trige Andersen
MA in History
University of Roskilde, Denmark.


 Wednesday, 2 July 2014
4:30 – 6:00 p.m.

Ateneo de Manila University
Loyola Heights, Quezon City


In late 1973 the so-called guest worker programs in Europe were just about to end. In the Philippines, however, the systematic export of workers was just about to begin. At this moment 49 women were recruited from the Philippines to work as chambermaids at Hotel Scandinavia in Copenhagen – at the time newly constructed as the biggest hotel in Northern Europe. The 49ers, as the group of Filipina chambermaids became known, arrived 21 days before an immigration stop was adopted in Denmark. They became the last big group of Filipino Pioneers, as the arrivals of 1960-1973 refer to themselves.

Four decades later a new wave of labor migration from the Philippines to Denmark commenced. This time, though, it was not the hotels and the factories doing the recruiting, but individual households recruiting domestic workers – or ‘au pairs’ as they, in this case, are formally called.

Since 2006 more Filipina workers have arrived Denmark than in the preceding half century. The new migrants arrive on fundamentally different terms than their ‘aunts’ among The 49ers who have now retired after 40 years of labor in Denmark. Whereas the Pioneer generation settled, entered Danish labor unions, and built a stable community, the lives of the new generation of migrants are often imbued by a permanent temporariness. They are constantly on the move from one job to the next, from one country to another.

The lecture traces the lives of The 49ers in-between Denmark and the Philippines and their relations to the migrants of today. The lived lives of these two different yet connected generations offer a wire tapping into the history of a changing landscape of transnational labor migration from the mid-20th century up until today.

 About the lecturer:

 Nina Trige Andersen is a trained journalist and holds an MA in History from the University of Roskilde, Denmark. Her focus is on (relations between) Northern Europe and East- and Southeast Asia, with particular attention to transnational themes such as labor market, migration, rural-urban transformations, colonial history, and political economy. She is the author of ‘Profession: Filippiner – Kvinder på arbejde i Danmark gennem fire årtier’ [Profession: Filipina – Women at work in Denmark through four decades], published at Tiderne Skifter, 2013 [English version forthcoming]

(From Ateneo BlueBoard)


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