20 March 2009

Freetown Christiania

City within a City

Christiania, also known as Freetown Christiania (Danish: Fristaden Christiania) is a partially self-governing neighborhood of about 850 residents, covering 34 hectares (85 acres) in the borough of Christianshavn in Copenhagen. Christiania has established semi-legal status as an independent community, but has been a source of controversy since its creation in a squatted military area in 1971.

Kelly and I visited Christiania while in Copenhagen. This is the entrance we went in.


Sadly, the glory days of Christiania are long gone. Reading about it before we went didn't prepare us for its very rundown appearance these days.

It is against the local rules to take pictures in Christiania along the main drag "Pusher Street" so I only snapped a few just inside the "city"

There are no cars inside, so everyone uses the famous 'Christiania Bike"

because of the photo ban, I got the rest of these pictures off the internet.

above & below, Pusher Street.

Open Cannabis sales were legal until 2004

We visited on a Sunday morning so it was deserted like in this photo. Lots of mangy dogs wandering about...and plenty of people up very early or maybe still up very late.



At 85 acres, Christiania is about 1/10th of the size of Central Park, but its still quite large. Many of the people who have been squatting there since the 70's have made very cool homes for themselves.

I imagine in its heyday it was a pretty cool place.

It has always been a haven of artists, which is apparent in all the sculptures, murals and gardens you see even today.

The objective of Christiania is to create a self-governing society whereby each and every individual holds themselves responsible over the wellbeing of the entire community. Our society is to be economically self-sustaining and, as such, our aspiration is to be steadfast in our conviction that psychological and physical destitution can be averted.


The Christiania Café Månefiskeren installed an outdoor countboard of police patrols on Christiania in November 2005. In the summer of 2006 this passed the 1000th patrol (about 4–6 patrols a day). These patrols normally consist of 6 to 20 police officers, often dressed in combat uniform and sometimes with police dogs.

The people in Christiania have developed their own set of rules, independently of the Danish government. The rules forbid stealing, violence, guns, knives, bulletproof vests, hard drugs and biker's colors.


Although the Danish Kroner is accepted on the streets of Christiania, the official currency is the Løn, which are minted each year. Locals are paid in Løns, and the coins can be used throughout the town. The Løn has been issued since 1997; previously Christianites used a currency called the Fed and, in one year, the Klump

Because of Christiania's self-proclaimed "freetown" status, Danish laws banning smoking in public places (workplaces, restaurants, bars and clubs) are not enforced in Christiania.


Kelly and I had a nice walk through Christiania.The original Hippie vibe is still very strong there and although there has been problems from time to time, especially over the last few years, we felt safe and enjoyed our visit.

We then re-entered the EU via the freetown's totem pole gate.

Next stop, Sweden !

4 comments:

Alli Arnold said...

Weird!

Anonymous said...

Last night I saw a travel show on Denmark and Sweden . It contained a significant amount of time on Christiania. I was so excited since I had just learned about it from your blog. The show was shot in the warm weather and Christinaia looked pretty nice.
Keep up the good journalism Chris.
Love, helen

Chris said...

Thanks Helen, I'm basically just writing this blog for you at this point, keep reading !

-Chris

Mazet said...

I've never been to Christiania but I love Christiania and thier bikes.