How can one possibly explain Copenhagen’s Christiania? Here are a few tidbits:
- It’s the size of 60 soccer fields (84 acres)
- It was established in 1671 (yes, 1671 isn’t a typo) as a military barracks; the military abandoned it in 1967, but many old military buildings remain
- In 1971, 700 people moved in, established squatters’ rights, and proclaimed it a “free state”
- Its 800 or so residents call it an “autonomous anarchist district”
- The community lives by its own 9 rules (independent of the Danish government). All of the following are forbidden: stealing, violence, guns, knives, bulletproof vests, hard drugs, explosives, and “bikers’ colors.”
Here’s a description from Rick Steves: “…an ultra-human mishmash of idealists, hippies, potheads, non-materialists, and happy children (600 adults, 200 kids, 200 cats, 200 dogs, 2 parrots, and 17 horses.)” The homes are just a kick to look at – they’ve been cobbled together with whatever building materials people can find, and residents call it “architecture without architects.”
And depending on what source you read, it’s either the second or fourth-most-visited site in Copenhagen.
A day in Christiania – How To
- To arrive in Christiania, take the bus or metro to the Christianhavn stop.
- Grab a pastry or sandwich at Lagkagehuset, the lovely bakery on the corner of the Christianhavn stop and the canal.
- Enjoy walking along the beautiful Christianhavn canal, built in the 1600s with Amsterdam’s engineering help (No wonder this area looks so much like Amsterdam.)
- We picked up a couple of “Go Bikes” (which I’ll explain in another email) just outside of Christiania near the Christianhavn bus stop, and spent a couple hours biking around Christiania.
- Lunch in Grønsagen, inside Christiania – a sweet little shop with a sweet little lunch buffet (they don’t sell alcohol, but they let us bring in the Double Grimbergens (possibly our favorite beer in the whole world) that we bought from the beer kiosk in the food circus Nemoland.
- 3:00 – 4:30 – guided walking tour with Nina, who has lived in Christiania since 1973, only two years after its “founding.” She was so fun, so funny, and she rode a bike throughout the tour. Just precious. She said she can’t imagine living anywhere else. (And she said it was really hard in the beginning, because they really did have to cobble their homes together.)
- Tours cost 50DKK per person ($7.86)
- Tours are held daily June – August; only Sat and Sun the rest of the year.
- Go in the main entrance, walk along the large building that’s on your left, and you’ll see a red sign near the end of the building – that’s where the tour starts.
- Just show up, and pay cash
- If you want to learn more: Rundvisergruppen (Tour Guide Group), www.rundvisergruppen.dk; voice mail +45 21 85 38 78
Jeff’s Forgotten English Calendar Entry about Christiania
Many of you may not know that for more than 20 years, my husband, Jeff Kacirk, has been writing a page-a-day calendar called Forgotten English. Needless to say, he gets a lot of fodder for his calendar when we’re in Europe. Here’s draft 1 of the Christiania calendar entry he wrote today. It’ll be published in his 2021 calendar, commemorating the 50-year anniversary of Christiania’s founding.
- July 21, 2018
- July 20, 2018
- July 21, 2018