Many western European states are adopting integration and naturalization policies that focus on the practices, values and identities of citizenship. On this background, and given the combined crisis of multiculturalism and decline of old-school ethno-nationalism, it has been argued that national, cultural–ideological distinctiveness matters less for what is traditionally the heartland of national sovereignty and identity. A comparison of three citizenship/integration trajectories – Germany, Great Britain and Denmark – suggests that the thesis of liberal convergence must be qualified. Although occurring in civic and liberal registers, national citizenship policies still reflect continuities, and path-dependent reactions to such continuities, of culturally bounded nation states. Germany’s development reflects a republican normalization, facilitated by reunification, but also a distinct liberal and political culturalism and discourse of membership, which grows out of the country’s postwar nationhood. The British critique of multiculturalism is more a re-balancing whose concepts represent the continuity of a weak, non-state-oriented citizenship. And Denmark’s development represents a civic–egalitarian nationalism, embedded in the welfare state, which was never challenged, but recently politicized with Muslim immigration.