While backpacking in Denmark you might want to visit a separate republic. For those lovers of quirky off the wall spots then the Freetown Republic of Christiania is well worth a day trip. Almost as wacky as my trips to Nagorno Karabakh, Uzupis and Transnistria. You could also stay overnight here of course but most do it on a day trip. After passing through the archway entrance you are now entering the happy go lucky freetown state of Christiania. I was only there for a few hours so obviously I didn’t explore the entire place but I picked out a few of my favourite spots there for you. Here are just a few of the places I checked out on my first trip here and liked, I’ve made it a list of 10. And I took my travelling Northern Ireland flag with me – Bevar Christiania!
1. Christiania Entrance Gate
If you’re coming from Christianshavns into Christiania you will need to enter Christiania either fron Badmandstraede or Prinsessegade. The second entrance on Princessegade has the famous Christiania arch. Once you go under you are now in the freetown of Christiania. Grab a selfie as proof and tell your mates you’ve left the EU.
To me this building at the entrance to the Freetown basically closes off Christiania from the horrible commercial world outside along Prinsessegade. This massive building is known as Rundvisergruppen and acts as a Museum, a place to book guided tours of the country, a lecture theatre, a shop and even a Thai restaurant. Make sure you go in for a look around. You can also get free maps of the country in the shop.
This dreamy sounding place is where you leave planet earth behind. You speak to people from other planets once you’ve boarded the spaceship. Within Nemoland are two bars which both sell the cherished Christiania Beer. One more label for my collection and a great experience in these bars talking to some crazy yet sensible people. Most don’t like to be photographed but you can take photos as long as you ask permission and aren’t including others that don’t want to be in them. I had a beer in both bars – the cost was 25 Danish Kroners a beer.
4. Pusher Street
The name Pusher Street itself conjures up surreal ideas and this street and area has a VERY STRICT no photos policy so be aware please (for once I put my camera away and respected it). The street is full of hippies, arty folk, druggies and chilled out people. You can buy your weed at stalls here and get a feel for the relaxed vibe of this zany loony republic. You can also get your money changed at Sunshine Bakery. NO PHOTOS please!
One thing that I noticed about Christiania was the quirky music scene here. People hanging around with guitars, music blasting out of ghetto blasters and from stalls and a musical feel. There are a few live music venues in the republic too, of which Musik Loppen is a noisy indoor place. Having been to a load of concerts in unusual spots down the years, I would love to see if bands like Metallica, Manic Street Preachers or Noel Gallagher would actually come here and do a random gig. It would be epic!
6. Green Light District
Again this area around Pusher Street has a strict no photos policy and is so called because of the Marijuana leaf. You’ll smell it in the air and you can smoke the day away and chill the f*ck out without a care in the world. I’m not a total expert in the field but plenty of riefers, plants and brands are present including white widow, space cakes and autoflowering cannabis. NO PHOTOS please.
7. Bevar Christiania Souvenir Shop
There are actually a few souvenir shops in Christiania and most allow photos and sell quirkey merchandise. I bought a few reminders of my time here and loved looking at the cool stuff which you can’t buy anywhere else.
Christiania is art and handicrafts to the core. From the murals on the walls to the overall vibe of the place. One great way to experience what the locals do is to visit a workshop. You can get some tours and visits organised or just walk on in like I did. Examples of workshops include bike shops, skate shops and computer networking workshop, interior design and carpentry. I could spend a few days touring the workshops and maybe next time I will.
9. Tibet Museet
A museum inside Christiania is about photos and art from Tibet. Obviously the link to Tibet being a disputed freetown community adds a synchronisation to it all. You can ask to take photos here, it’s just beyond the barrier from the Pusher Street no photo zone. They also have flags and banners and occassional shows of Freedom. Bevar Christiania means simply Save Christiania. Photo credit – http://www.christiania.org/galleri/
10. Re-Entering the EU
After your hippy happy time in this mini country, it’s time to walk under that arch and head back to the EU…what a wacky crazy journey…
Information about Christiania:
Christiania, also known as Freetown Christiania (In Danish: Fristaden Christiania) is a self-proclaimed autonomous neighbourhood mini “republic” of about 850 residents, covering 34 hectares (84 acres) in the borough of Christianshavn in the Danish capital city of Copenhagen.
Christiania has its own flag, border, laws and has also issued its own stamps and coins in the past. There is also a Christiania beer and the country appeared on a list of top 10 bizarre Micronations. Civic authorities in Copenhagen regard Christiania as a large commune, but the area has a unique status in that it is regulated by a special law, the Christiania Law of 1989, which transfers parts of the supervision of the area from the municipality of Copenhagen to the state. It was closed by residents in April 2011, whilst discussions continued with the Danish government as to its future, but is now open again. Christiania has been a source of controversy since its creation in a squatted military area in 1971. Its cannabis trade was tolerated by authorities until 2004. Since then, measures for normalising the legal status of the community have led to conflicts, police raids and negotiations which are ongoing. Among many Christiania residents, the community is known as “staden” (“the town”), short for “fristaden” (“the freetown”).
Name of Country: The Freetown of Christiania
Currency: Danish Kroner (Euros and Swedish Kroners can be exchanged in Sunshine Bakery)
Official Language: Danish
Independent Since: 1971
Official Flag: Red rectangle with a hat trick of yellow circles on it
Population: 850 – 2,000
Official Language: Danish (English is widely overheard and spoken in Christiania)
Government: Anarchist Republic
Website: Christiania Freetown
Here are some of my videos from backpacking in Christiania: