Guest Blog: Christiania – The free town of Copenhagen
If you’re travelling around Copenhagen, a trip to Christiania is a must. In the past, Christiania has had a reputation for being a bit of a party district within Copenhagen, a place where a lot of drugs are sold and bought and a lot of dodgy behaviour goes down. However it has so much more to offer than just the party lifestyle. There’s delicious local food, cafes and the whole area is intricately designed with colours and details in every corner. You can find everything from cosy bohemian markets to organic home-made beer there.
We spent a long weekend in Copenhagen and of course paid a visit to the infamous Christiania. Although we wouldn’t describe it as a festival, you do get a bit of a festival vibe when visiting in summer – sitting in the park, listening to good music and drinking a cold organic beer. This was the first time two of our group had visited Copenhagen and it has to be said they were a little apprehensive about the thought of visiting Christiania. Stories about criminal lifestyle precede it but that couldn’t be further from the atmosphere there.
We stayed at Generator Hostels which is a 20 minute stroll from Christiania. We came across the entrance and obviously we have to take a token picture with the Christiania sign. Make sure you read their rules before you enter because they are pretty strict on people following these. Photos are a no no (although we did sneak a few cheeky snaps) and there is zero tolerance of violence and hard drugs.
We walked around Pusher Street and visited one of the many market stalls selling clothes and jewellery made by the locals. It’s particularly important to not take photos when walking along here, as this is the main hub for buying and selling Cannabis within the area. Locals make a living out of visiting tourists by selling home-made jewellery, clothing and art. Interestingly they pay both water and electricity to the Danish State so their lifestyle doesn’t come completely free of cost. Residents of Christiania really do take care of each other and the environment they live in. Many of the houses around the waterfront have been built by the residents themselves and it’s a pity that we couldn’t take any photos of them. Perhaps that’s part of what makes it so special.
After wondering for a while we sat down for an organic beer at Cafe Nemo. It only costs 22 DKK and even if you’re not a beer drinker it’s pretty tasty. There was a mix of reggae and electro floating through the air and a couple of beers later we moved to the park to enjoy the music and people dancing. If you like the festival lifestyle you should definitely visit Christiania in the summer. It’s the kind of place where you meet people from across the globe and it’s uniqueness makes you feel like you’ve discovered some kind of sanctuary within the EU. Late in the evening it started to rain and we decided to head back to Generator.
On our way home we had a hot dog from one of the many stands in Copenhagen. You can’t visit Copenhagen without tasting a Danish hot dog. And since our stomachs were roaring with hunger we took the opportunity to munch one down. I highly recommend a visit to Christiania if you’re in Copenhagen. There is a lot to see and even a lot to learn from this little haven.
Written by: Carmella Osborne, Cecilie Odguard and Hannah Hintikka