“The Free Town”, “The Town”, “The Losers Paradise” – it goes by many names. As a Dane you know what Christiania is. You cannot grow up in Denmark without being introduced to it at some point. It is a special part of our capital city, Copenhagen.
I remember my first visit to Christiania like it was yesterday. I was a naive teenager who was only familiar with the calm Danish society. It was a very different place when compared to Jutland. I remember the Christianians as drunk and strange. The place was a bit scary and the inhabitants saw us as the strange ones.
Even though Christiania is a part of Copenhagen and Denmark, they have their own small society and their own culture. For example, they have their own flag, law and their own rate which they call “løn”, salary in English. Christiania is a country and a culture within the Danish one.
Christiania is the fourth most visited tourist attraction in Copenhagen, every year it is visited by approximately half a million people. Foreign tourists see the town as a “hippie” place where people live an alternative lifestyle. There are many different opinions about Christiania – positive as well as negative. Tourists have described “The Free Town” as a place that is different from any other place they have ever seen where the inhabitants are really nice people, it is a whole other world and if you have not seen Christiania, your trip to Copenhagen is not complete. Others describe Christiania as something that reminds them of a slum area where people are high and drunk are there because they do not have anywhere else to go.
It is not only in Denmark that there are different opinions about this ”Free Town”; obviously it is like that all over the world. In Denmark some people also see Christiania as a slum area and the home of drug addicts; others love to come there. They like the openness that they are welcomed with, and the free culture they live in.
My opinion is, you should not listen to what other people have to say about Christiania and their way of living. You should experience this other world on your own, and form your own opinion about it. I was 15 when I first visited Christiania and I have not been there since. But, in time this place has also developed, just like the rest of the world, and I am definitely going there again. If you are going to Copenhagen, I thoroughly recommend that you go see Christiania – It will without any doubt be an experience!