Freetown Christiania is a green and car-free neighbourhood in Copenhagen, best known for its autonomous inhabitants’ different way of life. It was established in 1971 by a group of hippies who occupied some abandoned military barracks on the site and developed their own set of society rules, completely independent of the Danish government.
Freetown Christiania is a mix of homemade houses, workshops, art galleries, music venues, cheap and organic eateries, and beautiful nature. It is still a society within a society, for an example you cannot buy a house in Christiania. You have to apply for it, and if successful, it is given to you. The area is open to the public – even with guided tours, run by the local Christianites.
Three things you must see at Christiania:
- Loppen: Loppen is an alternative concert venue, housed in an old army hall. Since 1973 is has welcomed alternative, aggressive, provocative and danceable music. Starting in the underground local scene, it has over the years started to attract international names and up-and-coming bands. Genres featured are mostly, alternative rock and punk, but also features reggae and hip hop. The building and interior is bare and rustic, and is also home to a flea market, restaurant and art gallery.
- Pusher Street: The most famous, and most controversial street, in Christiania (and arguably all of Copenhagen) is of course, Pusher Street. The street has gained its notoriety for being the central vending area of Christiania’s cannabis trade. On this short of stretch of road running through the village, you can find booths selling a variety of different cannabis-derived products, i.e. yes, you can buy weed here. Photos are absolutely forbidden on Pusher Street, and you’re not as sneaky as you think you are, so don’t even try. Seriously.
- The architecture: Christiania became a place of fascination and intrigue for architects across Europe, many of whom visited to experiment with new techniques and styles. Nonetheless, the buildings of Christiania were developed mainly under the ethos of “architecture without architects”. As the Danish government did not initially recognise the community as legitimate, ordinary zoning restrictions did not apply, and so a wide variety of vernacular architecture was created, some futuristic, some ecologically-sustainable, others following the style of more traditional Scandinavian houses. The buildings are experimental in style, many with decorative murals, and others integrated into their surroundings, and all serving as functional homes.
There is definitely not enough space here to tell everything about Christiania. Go explore, have fun and take care!