Christiania – Part 1

Christiania Part 1

Christiania Part 1



I have written about Freetown in Copenhagen before but last weekend I was actually lucky enough to go there. I have to say it was everything I expected and more. I honestly cannot decide which part I liked better. The stunning buildings, the cute little bars and eateries, the amazing walk around the water to see all the suburbs, or the stunning wild cannabis plants growing everywhere. Christiania has an incredible history behind it so let’s have a little go over my visit and then I think we should focus on how this awesome place came together. After starting to write about my visit I’ve realised this will be a two-parter. So stay tuned for a full look over the history.  


We rented an AirBnB on a stunning street in the centre of Copenhagen about 10 minutes away from Christiania. As a fan of beautiful architecture, I have to say that Copenhagen very quickly climbed to the top of my favourite cities list. The architecture was like nothing I’ve seen before, stunning old buildings painted in vibrant shades of dark orange and pink. Black and gold church spires cresting the rooftops. One that looked like a group of dragons with their tails twisted into an enormous unicorn horn. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, a bizarre building that would have been more at home in an 80s sci-fi film set in the not-too-distant future. A variety of restaurants and cafes fill the streets with laughter and enticing smells. Honestly I’m devastated that I was only there for the weekend. 


On our first morning, we visited Christiania, after a healthy dose of getting lost due to my travel companion’s refusal to check maps before striding off in random directions. It wasn’t hard to tell that we had arrived as Freetown is starkly different from the rest of the city. The old military barracks preceded by a beautiful painted arch cut a very different figure to the surrounding buildings. Immediately there were waves of fascinating-looking people and eager tourists. After the initial barrack area which housed a few shops and cafes we reached a fork and followed the right one towards the handsome creature you see at the top of this article. You’ll have to bear with me. I took all the pictures myself and I’m far from a photographer. The artwork all over the buildings was definitely one of my favourite aspects of Christiania. I couldn’t get pictures of everything but here are a few walls that I particularly liked. 






I wish I had been able to take pictures of every beautiful piece of artwork I saw but I was so immersed in the area that I basically forgot. As we walked on we found a wide variety of dogs just trotting around saying hello to people. Mostly small and elderly animals with happy faces that were obviously incredibly well loved and cared for. There were food stalls, bars, more amazing art, and creative signage. Then as we went on we found pusher street. This is where the weed is actually sold by local dealers who have arrangements with the people of Christiania. Their ramshackle stalls had the names of strains painted colourfully across them. The salesmen called out to us in a variety of languages offering wonderful smelling bags of bud. There was also a little bakery selling delicious-looking edibles. As a committed journalist, I made my way through with almost no temptation. Plus I had a bunch of other stuff I wanted to do that afternoon. Then we found more bars, shops and sit outeries. All of them crammed with groups of tourists taking photos, stag do’s posing next to wild cannabis plants, families trying very hard to feed small children while wasps hassled them for their sweet, sticky drinks. Once again we saw more art, a couple of small skateparks, a few greenhouses, and table after table of people rolling joints. 


Next to Christiania is a huge lake that is surrounded by the suburbs where the inhabitants of Christiania live. Every once in a while we would see a sprig of wild weed, or maybe slightly more than a sprig. I assume it was wild only because it was amongst other plants off the paths and didn’t seem to be growing as the result of people hoping to harvest. In fact, a few of the poor plants in this next picture were obviously in desperate need of a little TLC. 





The walk around the lake was stunning and the housing for the people who live in Christiania was amazing. Fully eco-friendly, many of them painted with beautiful murals, sitting right on the water and surrounded by adorable little boats. Many of them were surrounded by flotsam and jetsam which I personally absolutely loved. My favourite was this bizarrely wonky treehouse peeking through the leaves above this tiny old-style caravan. 


Straight out of a Grimm fairytale, I would very much like to live there and scare the local children. The rest of the walk mostly contained stunning forest, a few charms hung from the trees, many of which looked as though they could be protection spells. The whole area was magical and once we made our way around the lake and returned to Christiania it was time to actually visit one of the many bars. 


The people were extremely friendly, and everyone just seemed to be having an amazing time. I saw a number of signs around the bars about hard drugs and how they are not welcome in Christiania. In fact, a friend of mine visited a few years before and was shown around by an elderly hippy. He mentioned that a cocaine dealer had been found in Freetown a few days before. When my friend inquired as to what happened the man looked at him and said “Well we left him in a bloody pile outside the gates for the police.” Whether he was being literal or not I don’t know, but I do love that they are passionate about maintaining the safety, the point, and overall the vibe of Christiania. Come back for part 2 where we will get into how Christiania came to be and its fascinating historical background.


Written by Tasha Porritt


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