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14.10.2020

Christiania, Copenhagen

Freetown Christiania, also known as Fristaden Christiania (Danish: Fristaden Christiania or Staden), is a deliberate community and commune with a population of 850 to 1,000 inhabitants, covering 7.7 hectares (19 acres) in the Christian Havana district in the Danish capital Copenhagen.

Christianity has been a source of controversy since its establishment in the squat zone in 1971. Her trade in cannabis was allowed by the authorities until 2004. Since then, relations between Christiania and the Danish authorities have been tense. Since the early 2010s, the situation has somewhat normalized, and Danish law is now being enforced in Christiania.

The territory of Christiania consists of the former Badsmandstrode military barracks and part of the city ramparts. The ramparts and the Christian Havana area (then a separate city) were established in 1617 by King Christian IV by restoring low beaches and islets between Copenhagen and Amager. After the siege of Copenhagen during the Great Northern War, between 1682 and 1692 the ramparts were fortified under the leadership of Christian V to form a complete defensive ring. The western ramparts of Copenhagen were demolished in the 19th century, but the Christian temple was allowed to remain. Today, they are considered one of the best preserved defense structures of the 17th century in the world.

In the barracks Bedsmändstrode (Bådsmandsstræde, Bådsmandsstrædes Kaserne) housed the Royal Artillery Regiment, the command of the army's matter, as well as laboratories and ammunition depots. Less used after World War II, the barracks were abandoned in the period from 1967 to 1971.

The neighboring area to the north, Holmen, was Denmark's main naval base until the 1990s. It is a built-up area, where the new Copenhagen Opera House is located (not to be confused with the first and still existing building called "Opera", a concert hall in Christiania) and schools. The area further north is still used by the Navy, but is open to the public during the day.

The farthest line of defense, Enveloppen, was renamed Dyssen in Christiania (except for the southernmost tip, which was not annexed by Christiania). It is connected to the central part of Christiania by a bridge over the main moat, or it can be reached by road starting at the Christmas Möllers. Four gunpowder warehouses stand along the redanes. They were built in 1779-80 on the site of a warehouse in the center of Copenhagen, in Osterport, which ingloriously exploded in 1770, killing 50 people. The buildings were renamed Aircondition, Autogena, Fakirskolen (Fakir School) and Kosmiske Blomst (Space Flower), and although they are protected, were slightly changed from their historical state.

The last Danish place of execution, which operated from 1946 to 1950, can still be seen on the Second Redan, next to the building called Aircondition. The wooden barn for the executed disappeared, but the concrete foundation and the drainage for blood remained very close to the path. A total of 29 criminals from World War II were executed on this place. The last of them was Ib Birkedal, a high-ranking official of the Danish Gestapo, on July 20, 1950.

Meditation and yoga have always been popular among Christians, and over the years Christiania had a theater group Solvognen, which, in addition to its theatrical performances, also staged many performances in Copenhagen and throughout Denmark. Ludwigsen has always talked about accepting drug addicts who can no longer cope with ordinary society, and the spirit of this faith is still alive, despite the fact that many problems are caused by drug trafficking and drug use (mainly "hard drugs", which, however, are not tolerated in Christiania). These drug addicts come and remain in Christiania and are considered as an integral part of Freetown's ethics as entrepreneurs. For this reason, many Danes see Christiania as a successful social experiment. For many years, however, the region's legal status has been uncertain because various Danish governments have attempted to eliminate Christianity. All these attempts have so far been unsuccessful.

Christianity is considered the fourth largest tourist attraction in Copenhagen (and is visited by half a million people annually), and abroad it is a famous "brand" of the supposedly progressive and liberated Danish lifestyle. Many Danish companies and organizations also use Christiania as an exhibition place for their foreign friends and guests. The aim is to show something Danish that is not found anywhere else in the world.

People in Christiania have developed their own set of rules, independent of the Danish government. The rules prohibit theft, violence, weapons, knives, bulletproof vests, hard drugs and biker colors.

Known for its main drag street, known as Pusher Street, where hash and skunk are sold openly from permanent stands, it nevertheless has rules prohibiting 'hard drugs' such as cocaine, amphetamine, ecstasy and heroin. Hash trade is controversial, but since the rules require consensus, they cannot be removed unless everyone agrees. Legalization of cannabis is one of the ideas of many Christian citizens. In 1995, the region entered into an agreement with the Danish Ministry of Defense (which still owns the land). Since 1994, residents have been paying taxes and fees for water, electricity, garbage disposal, etc.

After fierce negotiations that resulted in the territory being temporarily closed to the public, in June 2011 residents of Christiania agreed to collectively establish a fund to officially buy land at below market prices. The community made its first payment in July 2012, officially becoming legal landowners.

Since the 1970s, the Gay House (Bøssehuset), an autonomous institution in Christiania, has been a center of gay activism, parties and theater. Humorous and high-class, variation-style shows are still well-known in the LGBT community of Copenhagen.

In 2002, a group of young gay performers and activists, Dunst, were invited to the house to keep it as a gay activity center. Dunst has introduced democratic management and established open workshops on photography, art, music, dance, video, etc. They also organized three "Save Christiaania" evenings, cabaret shows and three support parties to be able to pay part of the gay house debt to Christiatia. However, according to Dunst, neighbors would never readily accept them, and newcomers were accused of not understanding the "Christian way of life. Dunst claimed they received verbal abuse, threatening letters, and even in one case a baseball bat was branded against them. Some people did not like the loud Dunst parties and their modern electro-punk music, which is described as techno. After nine months, they were asked to leave Christiania.

In 2004, Dunst took part in "Christiania Distortion", an event in support of Christiania. Since they could not use Gay House, part of the event Dunst was held in a bus running around Christiania.

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