Freetown Christiania

In Denmark, and throughout the world, people talk about Christiania. The place where people do as they like!

A parallel community for alternative lifestyles

The city, as they call it, is actually a part of Copenhagen and the district called Christianshavn. The “city” got its name from the Danish king Kristian IV and is situated in an area at about 34 square meters. The area used to belong to the Danish marine. Christiania is often seen as a parallel society for people with alternative lifestyles, or people who can´t really stand up to what the country desires. The city was founded I the beginning of the 70s when hippies occupied the abandoned military area and started living there. The Danish authorities have tried, many times, to clean and close down the city but without success. The supreme court of Denmark has decided that the area belongs to the Danish government. Forces within Christiania is constantly trying to buy the area from the government. Christiania is one of the top tourist attractions in Copenhagen.

Culture and arrangements

In the end of the 70s there was an exhibition called “Kaerlighet og kaos vid Charlottenborg”(Love and chaos at Charlottenborg) which started a lot of activity of making Christiania presentable. There were a lot of repairs and cleaning which mainly was done by the inhabitants of Chritstiania. The inhabitants also made a record which was sold to benefit and support the struggle of keeping the city as it is. The record was called “Vores music” (Our music) and one of the songs that got the most attention was called “I kan ikke slå oss ihjel” (You can´t beat us to death) which describes the struggle between the Christianian inhabitants and the Danish government. Many of the inhabitants survive on their arts and crafts and there are always lots of arrangements with cultural meaning in the area. You can choose between different kinds of arrangements every day, such as music café´s, comedies, theatres and art exhibitions.

Counteracted by the authorities

In the 90s the Christianian inhabitants started a newspaper to inform the Danish people about the conditions in the city. They wanted the people to know the real thing about their city instead of the picture the Danish government wanted to present. At that time the government presented a picture of violence, narcotics and criminality while the magazine wanted to show the ecological city based on solidarity and community. In 1992 the police started a task force to reach and eliminate the trade of cannabis in the city. After a year of constant police efforts, they managed to minimize the trade. After a few months the Christianian inhabitants managed to get a treaty with the minister of justice about self-governing to handle the problems with cannabis in their own ways and means. The idea of their self-governing is based on the idea of every inhabitant being responsible for their own life and home. They have a democratically chosen leadership organisation which governs 14 different areas. The highest instance is “Stormötet” (the Big Meeting) where all decisions are made.

No laws

In Christiania there are no laws, only rules. The main idea in their community is that everybody should be on the same page about things. All inhabitants are welcome to the Big Meeting where the decisions are made. The sanctuary that is Christiania, with no laws, means that the rules must be followed. No weapons or violence or heavy narcotics are allowed! Many people only see Christiania as a place for drugs, but the reality is that you find lots of artists here which makes it a place to find special items for people interested in arts of different kinds.