Denmark may be known for its Royal Copenhagen, Vikings Jewellery, and even Scandinavian decor, but only a few known about its autonomous anarchist district of Christiania, also known as the hippie ‘freetown’. Christiania was the site of open cannabis trade but, there are a lot of other amusing things that Copenhagen’s most hippie neighbourhood holds. It has only a thousand residents (approximately) covers only 19 acres of land, and is located in a squatted military area. By Shubhanjana Das
1. Autonomous Christiania
Located in the borough of Christianshavn in Copenhagen, Christiania has been a site for much controversy, mostly because of its open cannabis trade. It was formed in 1971 when a bunch of hippies broke down the barriers and laid claim to Christiania. Their rules and regulations are completely independent of the Danish government, despite being situated in Copenhagen itself. They have their own flag, currency and have set up a community living system, independent of the governmental laws and policies.
2. The Green Light District
The Pusher Street in Christiania is more popularly known as the Green Light District, which sells all kinds of cannabis that was otherwise banned and illegal in Denmark. However, after authorities pillaged through the district, the anti-violence residents sent out a plea to visitors and sellers to keep Christiania drug-free. While marijuana sales are doubted to take place in a hush-hush, Christiania put up posters saying, “Help Christiania—buy your hash elsewhere”.
P.S. If you’re taking pictures here, make sure you seek permission, especially if someone is in the frame.
3. The Culture
If you have never experienced hippie culture before or even witnessed it up front, Christiania will be a crash course in understanding the same. The district is now home to bright and colourful homes, cafes, art galleries and workshops. Its walls are also an open canvas for murals and graffiti. If there’s one thing Christiania has common with Copenhagen, it is the bicycles.
4. The Community
The 1,000 residents of Christiania decide who gets to move in, agree on decisions for the community as one big family, and live close to nature and its laws. Keeping the community feeling alive, you will find residents gather around courtyards and beautiful lakes throughout the year. It’s not without a reason that Freetown Christiania is the second most popular tourist magnet in Copenhagen. You can go on a local-led tour to understand their distinct community better, attend a concert, join an impromptu basketball match, or just hang by the lake and chat up with the residents.
As part of the Government’s efforts at ‘normalising’ the area and its inhabitants, the residents were assisted to open souvenir shops, which sell anything from t-shirts with Christiania’s symbol to jewellery, and smoking pipes. These make for the perfect little paraphernalia to remember this unique experience by.