Christiania – call it a ‘social experiment’, a self governing state, a hippie’s paradise, whatever; I just knew as soon as I read about it on Jollies and Jaunts blog that I needed to 1) pay a visit to it as a pharmacist and 2) dedicate a whole post to it.
My brother and I embarked on a #SibsonTour trip to the Danish capital of Copenhagen in February and since he had given me free reign over our itinerary I had placed a visit to Freetown Christiania on one of our afternoons in the city. My brother could not quite understand my desire to see it but I was fascinated by the history of this area lying in a European capital city and yet operating like a separate state for 46 years complete with its own school for the residents’ children, concert hall, flag and society rules.
Upon entering Christiania you feel transported into another land and the people of Christiania also feel so, as they comically have on your exit this sign (see below), as if Christiania is not part of the EU.
It really does have a Camden town-esque vibe to it (for those Londoners you get the vibe). We soon spotted a skate park which was a cool place for kids to hang out and we got talking to a local who said he had helped build the skate park.
Christiania is awash with street art and given my love of street art, there were plenty of pictures to be taken.
Word of warning though – NO PHOTOS are to be taken down on Pusher’s Street, aptly named as this is where marijuana is openly sold by ‘pushers.’ There are discreet no photo symbols emphasising that you are entering the ‘Green District’ where photos are prohibited lest it be used against the pushers. There are certainly calls to have this green stuff made legal all over Europe and Christiania was no exception. As a pharmacist registered and certified I was intrigued that although illegal in Denmark, Christiania has this kind of unspoken agreement that exempts it, yet if the police wanted to come storm the area they could. The pushers as a result take great pains to ensure its not easy to identify them often covering most of their face. It was a bit surreal as you walk down the street and see the stalls with the green stuff piled up and people purchasing like they are at the market for fruit ‘n’ veg. It is a male dominated affair as I personally saw no female pushers on this visit.
There are shops, stalls and a variety of cafes all for those visiting to enjoy, with quite a few catering for vegetarians. There is blacksmith operated entirely by women that made some gorgeous (and expensive) pieces. If you are looking for a fancy unique gift from your time in Copenhagen this would be an ideal hot spot.
We got talking to one shop owner who told us there are only 800 residents within Christiania and that most people live outside and come into it to work. The houses of Christiania were eclectic and arty in their appearance. I really liked wandering through the streets early afternoon but not sure how I would have felt wandering alone and at night. It is quite a large area and one in which one can get lost within with ease.
I am fascinated by anarchy and although that isn’t what Christiania is, I like its rebellious nature and the promotion of peace and love. If you get the time I would definitely recommend a visit to here.
Love and Peace,
The 5 to 9 Traveller xx