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In 1971 a group of hippies took to living in the barracks of Badmandsstraede, on the island of Amager in Copenhagen, they formed the free town called Christiania.
It practices an alternative way of living with a liberal view on drugs. It has a population of probably around 1000 people. The Danish Parliment legalized the city in 1989, this meant the hippies were exempt from the laws on heritage and environmental conservation. The society rules itself in it's car free zone. They pay just 215 Euro per person for all services provided such as electric, heating, land tax, child care centre etc.
The flag of the free town shows three yellow discs representing the three "i"'s in the name 'Christiania'.
- Road Trip
Walk around Christiana
In 1970, a group of hippies occupied a military camp close to the Copenhagen harbor, and refused to be evicted. The State tolerated it as a “social experiment,” since because everytime they try to evict the residents the police were met with a powerful protest from a 10,000 strong mob. Today, the Government realized the wisdom of containing such an anti-society group within a small area, rather than over the city. So, they decided to recognize this colony as a part of the city, under a rule that of no lethal weapons, no hard drugs, and no alcoholic brawls. Now, it is a main tourist attraction in Copenhagen with almost a million visitors per year. I really like this place. It gives you another perspective about life, specially if you are leading a very stressful life.
I do not use any drugs, still this place is very nice. I felf here a bit like in Užupis, Vilnius. Everywhere you go in Christiania there are paintings and sculptures, and there is always live music or theatre playing somewhere. Many of the houses, which have been built by the present or previous inhabitants and which nobody owns, are works of art in themselves.
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Christiana - The free city
This area was one army barracks before the soldiers moved out in 1971 & it became home to young & homeless people. Declared a "free city" in September 1971, the residents have a community spirit when it comes to living & matters of importance. A problem created by allowing this free soceity is that it became a haven for petty criminals.
However many people support the good works done in Christiana, for example they throw a big free Christmas dinner for those who are homeless at Christmas when the city administration declined to do so - Anyone can go & according to Raz is quite an amazing experience. They have also been involved in weaning heroin addicts off their habits
There is roughly 1000 people living there in often basic housing paying a minimal DKK400 p/m to the government which includes water & electricity basics. There has to be feelings of resentment from those that are required to work hard to pay for rent in Copenhagen & cannot afford a house whilst Christiana residents live practically free.
Cannabis is tolerated by the government in Christiana & you may be quietly asked if you are interested but they are not blatant in what was formerly known as "Pusher Street"
Do walk around the area & see the artworks on the walls, crafts shops & perhaps stay for some food & beer, it is cheaper here as there is no tax to pay
There are guided tours which take 2 hours and are conducted by local residents daily 12pm - 3pm on the hour for DKK 30
I was fassinated walking around - thanks to Allan we saw a good deal of the town & learnt the background info
Please note NO PHOTOGRAPHS are to be taken in Christiana or you may have your camera confiscated there is a sign. I sneaked a few pics around the outskirts
Copenhagen's Alternative Neighbourhood
The "free state" of Christiania has existed in Copenhagen since 1971 and despite several clashes with the police and other authorities over the years it is still going strong.
The entrance is on Prinsessegade and when you leave the street it does feel like stepping into a different world. Photography is unofficialy forbidden especially around Pusher Street.
As you leave Christiania by the main entrance there is an interesting sign saying "You are now entering the EU".
This was a surprise to me & Lenny. A neighborhood in Copehagen that used to be Military Barracks turned into a neighborhood filled with Artist & Musicians. The sale of soft drugs is allowed in Christiania, and a strict no Photograph Policy is in effect.
A Whole Other Country
This is a very unique place I'm sure you've read about in other profiles. If not, well, just go see it for yourself. It's very free and fun. I walked through a few times, but the only time I was there for any length of time was for a reggae festival they were having. Lots of good music planned on 3 stages spread out throughout the area. There weren't any big crowds, just groups of happy people listening to music together. If there's not any music being played, its at least fun to walk through and see all the unique houses. Those places are nuts! :)
Also, Christiania has the best Thai food I've had in Denmark. Most other places were bland, but this place wasn't afraid to spice it up and set my mouth on fire.
I hadn't been here since childhood so it was interesting to come back during a VT meeting and see how it had changed. Christiania is a very unusual place where citizens who wanted an alternative life to the usual consumer society started off by occupying the area when it was no longer in use by the navy. This became a huge success and it grew and grew with permission by the authorities who didn't know what else to do. Today, the authorities have adapted a hardened attitude as the main street in the area became known as Pusher Street due to all the open drug dealing. It went so far that tourists couldn't take pictures without risking trouble because the people involved didn't want to end up on film. Having said that, they don't want you to take photos of much in general here, since they don't want to feel like animals in the zoo. Instead, you can come here to escape from the "musts" of ordinary life and enjoy great street food or the cheap and international food of the famous Spiseloppen. There are also music arrangements and a great tolerance for odd people here. Just don't be afraid of dogs - they wander about everywhere here amongst the colourful and often home built houses and cottages.
- Arts and Culture
Christiania has become a very popular toustic site in Copenhagen. If you are scared of soft drugs, don't visit. They have not only charming cottages and lakes and parks, but they also sell, legally, marijuana and you can smoke it there. Until 1971 it used to be a quarter with army barracks.
- Arts and Culture
The formerly barracks area Christiania was occupied by all kind of alternative people in September 1971. Nowadays it is a kind of anarchic community within Copenhagen, where about 800 alternative people live. They arrange their togetherness by self-appointed authorities with their own rules. Christiania has many green spots and unique alternative houses. Unfortunately, taking photos is prohibited in the area.
- Budget Travel
Free city of Christiania
Officially recognised as a legal part of Copenhagen in 1986, this part of the city started out as a camp of hippy squatters. It is now a colourful community, with shops, restaurants, a theatre and public toilets!
There are a wide variety of buildings in Christiania, some of them built from scratch with recycled materials. Others existed on the site, next to Copenhagens old ramparts, for many decades as warehouses or homes.
Christiania has a strong social conscience - they hosted the Danish gathering of the European Social Forum this year. Apparently every Christmas the residents also provide meals for the city's homeless.
Christiania is within the limits of Copenhagen's City-Bike network, so pedal across the harbour from the city centre and take some time to explore. The community seems to be the origin of many of the wierd and wonderful customised bicycles that you see around the city.
Nearby, in Christianshavn is The Church of Our Saviour, with the gold spiral tower, which is possible to climb up with views of Copenhagen.
- Theater Travel
As a 16 years old hippie, I always wanted to visit this place. In the meantime, I forgot about it and got pleasantly surprised when reminded that Christiania is actually in the heart of Copenhagen.
Whoever visits Copenhagen must go there and feel a bit of "Rasta" lifestyle that survived in 21st century. Residents are very friendly.
Christiania is a small area in Copenhagen that - mainly - is now as the "free-area" meaning that this is an area where people are not exactly following the rules of the rest of the society!
It is hard to describe Christiania - but it is definately worth a visit - and do check out your guidebook before going - because the area do have an interesting history.
- - -
I was at Christiania just yesterday - and I must admit that the difference is great compared to last year. Because of the government wanting to make Christiania legal, the people there have had to get rid of Pusher Street, the main street of Christiania I guess. Before Pusher Street was filled with tables from where there were sold tons of different kind of pot/hash and so forth (Im sorry I dont know too well what all of these drugs are called!) and now there is just about nothing there. I saw that they do still sell there, but a lot less, because with the police runing all over the place everyone is more careful now. I think it is a shame, because Christiania is not what it was before... BUT still worth a visit, because Christania is a lot more than just selling drugs...
It is also the nice green area around the lake with the funny houses - the weird people and the atmosphere which is quite uniqe.
"The freeways are jammed man!" Woodstock lives.
A bunch of hippies took-over an abandoned military barracks back in the 70's and created the "Free State of Christiania."
It's a laid-back, self-governed community were soft drugs are not legal but "allowed" The week before I was there apparently the booths that sold the herbal varities on the main street called "Pusher Street" were closed down. You can still find what you're looking for inside some of the bars/cafes.
There is an outdoor stage where live music is played and you can get a bottle of Carlsberg for around 12 kroner. Go, sit down, listen to some tunes an just chill...
No pictures are allowed in Christiania, so I took this shot of one of their bikes in Copanhagen.
Christiania; See it before it dissapears.
It's not what it used to be and never will be again. But go have a look anyway. Some of the houses are interesting and its story is fun to hear from a local perspective. Grab a beer from the bar and sit out in the sun. Don't take the place too seriously as most people do, just enjoy your time there.
Your not supposed to take pictures, but your not supposed to sell drugs either! I took this photo, not out of disrespect but in support of what they stand for, the freedom to do as they please!
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