Denmark

Christiania – utopia, social experiment or tourist attraction?

Kopenhaga - Christiania

Copenhagen, the capital of the one of the richest EU countries is famous for beautiful architecture, picturesque canals and upmarket restaurants. On the other hand, there’s also Christiania – something like a “country within a country”.

Kopenhaga - Christiania

In the Christianshavn district, close to picturesque canals, there’s an inconspicuous gate which leads to another reality of self – proclaimed, independent city – Christiania.

Kopenhaga - Christiania

Kopenhaga - Christiania

It was created in 1971 when first hippies seized the previous military base area.

Kopenhaga - Christiania

New inhabitants settled in abandoned military barracks and created city infrastructure such as nurseries schools, schools and cultural/artistic institutions.

Kopenhaga - Christiania

Christiana was a symbol of liberty and revolt against imposed social norms.

Kopenhaga - Christiania

At its peak it was inhabited by 3 thousand people.

Kopenhaga - Christiania

Nowadays it arouses controversies even among liberal Danish.

Kopenhaga - Christiania

Initially, authorities tried to prevent hippies from settling there, but to no avail.

Kopenhaga - Christiania

They organized numerous actions in order to eliminate squatters, organized crime and drug trade.

Kopenhaga - Christiania

Finally, after solving a problem of hard drugs and organized crime, they came to terms with Christiana inhabitants and started to regard this “city” as a social experiment.

Kopenhaga - Christiania

Nowadays is an independent society, inhabited by around 1000 people with 200 children. According to the agreement with Danish government, inhabitants are obliged to pay taxes in exchange for the legalization of stay.

Kopenhaga - Christiania

They pay bills for water, central heating and electricity. Christiania has also its own currency and red flag with yellow dots.

Kopenhaga - Christiania

Here you can find an art museum, a lot of galleries, where local artists present their art, jazz club, shops and bars which serve organic food.

Kopenhaga - Christiania

People established a nursery school and a meditation center. But a playground arouses controversy…

Kopenhaga - Christiania

There’s also a cultural society which organizes a lot of events. A lot famous bands played here, such as Metallica or Range Against the Machine.

Kopenhaga - Christiania

The area is surrounded by a park and on the nearby beach one can see old generation of hippies basking in the sun.

Kopenhaga - Christiania

Christiania is a very diverse place, where close to the Pusher Street you can see a lot of interesting buildings characterized by a little bit chaotic architecture.

Kopenhaga - Christiania

Old ramparts and military base buildings coexist with makeshift houses and beautiful gardens or even Buddhist stupas. It’s worth going for a walk here, to feel characteristic atmosphere of this place. But Christiania citizens aren’t fully independent. They have special law which regards also tourists.

Kopenhaga - Christiania

Firstly taking photos and using cell phones is strictly forbidden. Actually it’s imposed only on the main Pusher Street.

Kopenhaga - Christiania

You must also remember that you cannot run or drive a car here.

Kopenhaga - Christiania

Kopenhaga - Christiania

Jogging lovers are perceived here as thieves or cops, but riding a bike is permitted.

Kopenhaga - Christiania

What’s more, the first bikes with a special “trailer” in the front were invented here. They are very popular in Denmark and used to carry children to school or shopping.

Kopenhaga - Christiania

In view of the problem with organized crime, using weapon, bulletproof jackets and hard drugs is forbidden.

Kopenhaga - Christiania

On the other hand, Christiania differs from the other Copenhagen districts because other drugs are sold here.

Kopenhaga - Christiania

Dealers even obeyed to the local authorities appeal to minimize drug dealing openness. Stalls on Pusher Street are covered with camouflage net and dealers wear army uniforms and balaclavas. Christiania is one of the most popular tourist spots in Copenhagen. Old hippies’ ideas apparently gave way to progressive commercialization. The city looks like abandoned museum and residents (mainly old hippies) look like “exhibits” who remind about old times. Between June and August even guide sightseeing is organized here.

Kopenhaga - Christiania

It’s hard to say what Christiana really is nowadays. Maybe famous Danish liberalism is in a fact a tourism business and social experiment is a form of control over a drug trade?  One thing is sure, vision of utopia didn’t stand the test of time.

Kopenhaga - Christiania

 

Who I am... I'm just an ordinary girl, who once believed that dreams come true, and since then, I’ve been pursuing them consistently. My adventure with travelling started in 2008 and since then, I've seen a lot of interesting places which I describe on my blog. I’m interested in the history and culture of the countries that I visit and that’s why I travel as much as I can. However, in addition to the preservation of my memories, the main purpose of the blog is to show you that dreams come true and you can travel often and cheap!

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