We’ve in our times witnessed commiunties going to war about issues of self determination. Even the Russia-Ukraine war has presented some flickers of such a battle to defend territorial integrity.
But this may just get you scratching your head-a self governing city in Denmark? Yes, you saw that right, a community with a sense of self governemnt in Denmark. It’s Freetown Christiania.
Freetown Christiania; comes across as a splinter community in Copenhagen that practices self-management away from the Danish laws. This may sound outlandish because we’ve not seen Denmark going to war about it right? Equally, this community exists quietly which may give a false sense of discretion. Christianianot may not be adequately publicised but has existed for years now.
The catch is, Freetown Christiania remains self-govening yet still part of Denmark. Surprised? Lets get down to the detals.
In general terms, Denmark and the Copenhagen capital area comes across as highly developed and accommodating most of the internationals who come to Denmark. Whether for work, study, cultural exchange, research or other reasons, Copenhagen will always have a place. But then there’s this self governing town-Freetown Christiania that has its own rules, has its own flag and way of life that doesn’t necessarily draw much from the Danish rules.
Other writers and commentators have painted Christiania as a place that has no laws and where people basically do as they wish. Honestly this could not be the truth in Denmark where public order and peace occupy a high place in social order.
A brief background of Christiania, a model of a free town in Copenhagen
Any keen person interested in knowing about Christiania would love to go down the history and get its basis. Of course it’s curious to know how a city ended up having such a controversial popularity as having no laws.
The history of Freetown Christiania dates back to 1971 when dissent resulted in the break away of the Christiania commune. Unlike today when we recognize Denmark highly in the global happiness index, back then, the situation was much different which explains why the hippies, junkies, oddballs and outcasts chose to squat in the area which was formerly a military base.
Over the years following its initial establishment and gradual bloom into a separate social setting, Christiania chose to go the anarchist route. Although using the word anarchist in its strict sense may be misleading, the fact that things such as sale of cannabis, other drugs, using them is public perhaps reinforces this kind of thinking.
Quick facts about Christiania
- Although popularly portrayed as anarchist, Christiania has guiding norms which every resident has a duty to observe.
- Sale and use of drugs are permitted although restricted to an enclave called Pusher Street.
- It was founded in 1971
- The area where the commune lies acted as a former military complex
- Christiania has survived on an inspiration to create a seclusionist society that doesn’t work as per the Danish laws.
- The Danish laws doesn’t really apply in Christiania
- Visitors are all welcome to come over to Christinia for sheer enjoyment and leisure
- There’s an enduring unique culture embraced by its residents
- It remains a surprise why the Danish government hasn’t cracked down on Christiania to force their reintegration.