Freetown Christiania

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Free State of Christiania)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Freetown Christiania
Fristaden Christiania  (Danish)
Coat of arms of Christiania
Coat of arms
Anthem: I kan ikke slå os ihjel og bevar Christiania
You cannot kill us and preserve Christiania[1][2]
Location of Christiania
LocationCopenhagen, Denmark
Official languagesDanish
Demonym(s)Christianite(s)
Christianian(s)
GovernmentAnarchist commune and partially autonomous intentional community
Establishment
• Declared
1971
Area
• Total
0.07 km2 (0.027 sq mi)
Membership~1,000
CurrencyDanish Krone (de facto), Løn (de jure)
Time zoneUTC+1

Freetown Christiania, also known as Christiania (Danish: Fristaden Christiania or Staden), is an intentional community and commune in the Christianshavn neighbourhood of the Danish capital city of Copenhagen, Christinia, Christianshavn, Copenhagen K, Island of Amager. It began in 1971 as a squatted military base. Its Pusher Street is famous for its open trade of cannabis, which is illegal in Denmark.

Culture[edit]

Christiania is considered to be the fourth largest tourist attraction in Copenhagen, with half a million visitors annually.[3]

The residents of Christiania are called Christianit, or Christianshavner and Amagerkaner because Christiania is located on the island of Amager.[4][5][6][7] The 1976 protest song "I kan ikke slå os ihjel" ("You cannot kill us"), written by Tom Lunden of flower power rock group Bifrost, became the unofficial anthem of Christiania.[8] The flag of Christiania is a red banner with three yellow discs representing the dots in each i in "Christiania".[9]

Within Christiania itself no private cars are allowed. Residents with cars park on the streets surrounding the Freetown.[10] After negotiating with city authorities, Christiania has agreed to establish parking areas for residents' own cars on its territory. As of 2005, parking space for only 14 cars had been established within the area.[11]

Geography[edit]

Entrance

Christiania is an intentional community and commune[12][13][14] of about 850 to 1,000 residents, covering 7.7 hectares (19 acres) in the borough of Christianshavn in the Danish capital city of Copenhagen on the island of Amager.[15]

The area of Christiania consists of the former military barracks of Bådsmandsstræde and parts of the city ramparts. The ramparts and the borough of Christianshavn (then a separate city) were established in 1617 by King Christian IV by reclaiming the low beaches and islets between Copenhagen and Amager. After the siege of Copenhagen during the Second Northern War, the ramparts were reinforced during 1682 to 1692 under Christian V to form a complete defence ring. The western ramparts of Copenhagen were demolished during the 19th century, but those of Christianshavn were allowed to remain. They are today considered among the finest surviving 17th century defence works in the world.[16]

The outermost defence line, Enveloppen, has been renamed Dyssen in Christiania language (except for the southernmost tip of it which was not annexed by Christiania). It is connected to central Christiania by a bridge across the main moat or can be reached by the path beginning at Christmas Møllers Plads. Four gunpowder storehouses line the redans. They were built in 1779–1780 to replace a storage in central Copenhagen, at Østerport, which infamously exploded in 1770, killing 50 people. The buildings are renamed Aircondition, Autogena, Fakirskolen ('the Fakir School') and Kosmiske Blomst ('Cosmic Flower') and have, although protected, been slightly altered from their historical state.[17]

Christiania depuis Notre Sauveur.jpg
Glass house in Freetown Christiania, one of the many idiosyncratic constructions exemplifying modern "architecture without architects".

In 2007, the National Heritage Agency proposed protection status for some of the historic military buildings now in Christiania, some of which were altered after Christiania's takeover.[18]

After bitter negotiations that temporarily resulted in the area being sealed off to the public, in June 2011, the residents of Christiania agreed to collectively set up a fund to formally purchase the land.[19] The community made its first payment in July 2012, officially becoming legal landowners.[20]

History[edit]

1970s[edit]

On 26 September 1971, Christiania was declared open by Jacob Ludvigsen, a well-known provo and journalist who published a magazine called Hovedbladet ('The main paper'), which was intended for and successfully distributed to mostly young people. In the paper, Ludvigsen wrote an article in which he and five others explored what he termed 'The Forbidden City of the Military'. The article widely announced the proclamation of the free town, and among other things he wrote the following under the headline "Civilians conquered the 'forbidden city' of the military":[21] Although Christiania enjoyed an initial blind eye from the authorities,[22] The Ministry of Defence brought a legal case against Christiania on April 1, 1976,[22] which was upheld by the Supreme Court on February 2, 1978, who ruled that Christiania should be cleared immediately. However, despite the ruling, immediate action was not taken and that same year the Folketing decided that a development plan should be drafted first.

In addition to these external problems, pressure was building internally as well: Following the death of 10 residents in the space of one year from overdoses,[23] in 1979 the residents of Christiania began the "Junk Blockade". For 40 days and nights, residents patrolled the buildings where hard drugs were sold and sought to push the dealers outs of the community while offering aid to the addicts.[24]

1980s[edit]

During the 1980s, Motorcycle gangs fought their way into Christiania, seeking to gain control over the drug market. One gang in particular, the "Bullshit gang" or "Bullshitters", managed to fight off a chapter of the Hells Angels to establish sole control of the drugs market by 1984. In 1987, after police found the dismembered body of a man under the floorboards of a Bullshitter bike shop inside Christiania, the Bullshitters were broken up and cleared from the area following a combined response from the community, the police and reprisals from the Hells' Angels.[23] From that point on, biker jackets were banned from the Freetown.[24]

In 1989 the Folketing officially legalised Christiana.[25]

2000s[edit]

In April 2005, a gang shot and killed a man in Christiania and injured three others in an incident related to Christiania's cannabis trade.[26]

On 14 May 2007, workers from the governmental Forest and Nature Agency, accompanied by police, entered Christiania to demolish leftovers of the small, abandoned building of Cigarkassen ('the cigar box'). They were met by angry and frightened Christianites, fearing that the police also intended to demolish other houses. The residents built roadblocks, but the police eventually entered the Freetown en masse and were met by resistance. Residents threw stones and shot fireworks at police vehicles. They also built barricades in the street outside Christiania's gate. The police used tear gas on the residents and a number of arrests were made.[27] One activist sneaked behind the police commander and poured a bucket of urine and faeces upon him before being immediately arrested.[28] The trouble continued into the early morning hours. In all, over 50 activists from both Christiania and outside were arrested. Prosecutors demanded they be imprisoned on the basis that they might otherwise participate in further disturbances in Copenhagen (which prosecutors claimed was "in a state of rebellion").[29]

On 24 April 2009, a 22-year-old man had part of his jaw blown off by a hand grenade thrown into the crowds seated at Cafe Nemoland.[30] Four others had minor injuries.[30][31]

2016 shooting and end of Pusher Street stalls[edit]

On 31 August 2016, a person believed by police to be carrying earnings from cannabis sales shot two police officers and a civilian after being stopped.[32][33] The injuries of one of the officers who was shot in the head were life-threatening (he survived, but needed a long period of rehabilitation), while the injuries of the other victims were less serious.[33][34] Police sealed off the entire neighbourhood and located the perpetrator in Kastrup a few hours later. During a brief shootout with Politiets Aktionsstyrke (a special intervention police unit) he was seriously wounded and later died from his injuries in the hospital.[35][36][37] The perpetrator, a 25-year-old Danish citizen of Bosnian descent (he arrived in Denmark as a child with his family), was well known to the police for violence and involvement in cannabis sales. Although known to be a sympathiser with Islamic extremism, this is not considered to have played a role in his actions.[32][38][39] Police officers very rarely receive life-threatening injuries during encounters with criminals (at the moment of the Christiania shooting, the last police officer to be killed by a criminal in Denmark was in 1995)[40] and the incident was widely condemned.[41]

In a communal meeting consisting of Christiania residents, it was decided that the stalls in Pusher Street (by far the site of the largest cannabis sale in Denmark) should be removed, which happened the following day, 2 September 2016.[42][43][44] Local residents also urged people who were friends of the neighbourhood to help by not buying cannabis in Christiania.[42] About two months later, it was estimated that the de facto practice of cannabis sales within Christiania had dropped by about 75%.[45]

Economy[edit]

Christiania has a number of street food stands with food, drinks, snacks and more. Christiania has two breweries, Christiania Bryghus and Christiania Bryg.[46][47]

Pusher Street[edit]

Pusher Street in 2007, after eviction of the hash stands. A 'no photo sign' remains.
Murals and signs around Christiania make the community's opposition to heroin clear

Since its opening, Christiania has been famous for its open cannabis trade, taking place in the centrally located Pusher Street, although named "Green Light District" by the Christianian council. Although the hash trade is illegal, authorities were for many years reluctant to forcibly stop it. Proponents thought that concentrating the hash trade at one place would limit its dispersion in society, and that it could prevent users from switching to 'harder drugs'. Some wanted to legalise hash altogether. Opponents thought the ban should be enforced, in Christiania as elsewhere, and that there should be no differentiation between 'soft' and 'hard' drugs. It has also been claimed that the open cannabis trade was one of Copenhagen's major tourist attractions, while some said it scared other potential tourists away and the cannabis sale is actually also forbidden on Christiania’s area. Even though the police have attempted to stop the drug trade, the cannabis market has generally thrived in Christiania. When local residents removed the Pusher Street stalls in 2016, it was estimated that the cannabis sale dropped by about 75%.[45]

In 2002, the government began aiming to make the cannabis trade less visible. In response, the cannabis sellers covered their stands in military camouflage nets as a humorous reply.[48] The open cannabis trade returned to Pusher Street after police raids in 2004, but the stalls were again torn down by Christiania's residents after the 2016 shooting.[44]

Brewery’s[edit]

Christinia brewhouse or brewery, (Christiania Bryghus), Christiania Bryghus (The Lab) and bar, brewpub, Christinia, Christianshavn, Copenhagen K, Island of Amager[49][50][51][52][53] and Christiania Brew or brewery, (Christiania Bryg), Christinia, Christianshavn, Copenhagen K, Island of Amager[54][55][56]

Further developments[edit]

In September 2007, the representatives of Christiania and Copenhagen's city council reached an agreement to cede control of Christiania to the city over the course of ten years for the purposes of business development.[57] Also, as of May 2009, the Eastern High Court upheld a 2004 Act of Parliament which reaffirmed the state's legal claim to control of the base.[58] This rule is confirmed in February 2011 by the Supreme Court. The state has now full right of disposal of the Christiania area. In June 2011, the State signed an agreement with Christiania stating that the Christiania area will be transferred to a new foundation, the Foundation Freetown Christiania.[59]

The most contentious part of this process has been to force the residents naturally opposed to the whole idea of ownership to buy the piece of land they have been occupying for more than 40 years. In July 2012, they made the first payment, and the Christianites went from squatters to legal landowners. A foundation, run by residents, was set up to raise funds and apply for a bank loan. Christianites were able to buy about 19 acres of the initial 84-acre plot.[60]

In his January 2013 book In the Name of the People, Ivo Mosley cited Christiania as one of the few examples of communities run on truly democratic lines that exist in the world. Six months later, the laws governing Christiania changed. In July 2013, the legislative proposal L 179 for the repealing of the Christiania Law was adopted by all parties in the Danish Parliament with the exception of the Danish People's Party. From that moment, the same legislative rules that apply to the rest of Denmark apply to Christiania.[59]

Christiania has countered the government's plans for normalisation with its own community driven planning proposal, which after eight months of internal workshops and meetings gained consensus at the common meeting before being published in early 2006. Christiania's own development plan was awarded the Initiative Award of the Society for the Beautification of Copenhagen in November 2006.[61]

In fiction and popular culture[edit]

Christiania native Lukas Forchhammer of the Danish pop band Lukas Graham wrote the 2016 song "Mama Said" about his experience growing up in the community.[62][63]

The mid-2010s documentary Christiania: 40 Years of Occupation covers the community's history.[64]

Freetown Christiania featured prominently in the script for the third episode of the 2016 Trailer Park Boys spinoff "Out of the Park : Europe".[65]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Thörn, Håkan; Wasshede, Cathrin; Nilson, Tomas. "Space for Urban Alternatives? CHRISTIANIA 1971–2011" (PDF). Gidlunds. p. 45. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2022-01-19. Retrieved 2021-01-04.
  2. ^ Hall, Þorbjörg Daphne (2012). "Countercultural Space Does Not Persist: Christiania, and the Role of Music". The French Journal of Popular Music Studies. 9:1 2012 (9 : 1): 32. doi:10.4000/volume.3185.
  3. ^ Faltin, Tine (December 25, 2013). "En rusten plattform og et kuleformet hus mener de er egne stater - Disse ni europeiske landene eksisterer egentlig ikke". Dagbladet. Archived from the original on June 13, 2022. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
  4. ^ "Christiania". Archived from the original on 2022-06-13. Retrieved 2021-12-02.
  5. ^ "Forhandlingerne mellem Christiania og staten". Archived from the original on 2022-06-13. Retrieved 2021-12-02.
  6. ^ "Christianias selvforvaltning – Christiania". Christiania.org. Archived from the original on 2022-06-13. Retrieved 2022-05-04.
  7. ^ "Christianiaområdets historie". Archived from the original on 2022-06-13. Retrieved 2021-12-02.
  8. ^ Vesterberg, Henrik (11 July 2007). "Sangene kan de i hvert fald ikke slå ihjel". Politiken (in Danish). Archived from the original on 18 February 2012. Retrieved 2009-03-07.
  9. ^ "Christiania, Denmark". Flags of the World. Archived from the original on 15 February 2012.
  10. ^ "SVAR PÅ: "200 BILER"" (in Danish). Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved 2006-08-18.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  11. ^ "Christiania's TRAFIKGRUPPE" (in Danish). Archived from the original on February 3, 2003. Retrieved 2013-08-17.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  12. ^ "Why You Need To Visit Denmark's Hippie Commune Before You Die". BuzzFeed. Archived from the original on 2021-03-08. Retrieved 2018-07-02.
  13. ^ "Experience colourful Christiania". Visitcopenhagen (in Lingala). Archived from the original on 2019-06-21. Retrieved 2018-07-02.
  14. ^ "Freetown Christiania". Atlas Obscura. Archived from the original on 2020-11-26. Retrieved 2018-07-02.
  15. ^ "Beboerne på Christiania". Archived from the original on 2016-12-20.
  16. ^ "History of the Christiania area". Heritage Agency of Denmark (in Danish). 12 March 2007. Archived from the original on March 31, 2009. Retrieved 2008-02-11.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  17. ^ "History of Christiania area". Archived from the original on 1 October 2011. Retrieved 4 January 2010.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link), Heritage Agency of Denmark (in Danish)
  18. ^ "Description of Christiania houses recommended for protection". Heritage Agency of Denmark (in Danish). 13 March 2007. Archived from the original on December 23, 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-11.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  19. ^ "UPDATE: Christiania accepts "beautiful agreement"". Archived from the original on November 30, 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-12.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  20. ^ Vickers, Steve (September 7, 2012). "In Copenhagen's Christiania neighborhood, the future looks more settled". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on June 13, 2022. Retrieved July 16, 2015.
  21. ^ "Christiania" (in Danish). Archived from the original on 30 December 2008. Retrieved 11 February 2008., facsimiles of 'Hovedbladet', Jacob Ludvigsen's website
  22. ^ a b "Christiania: The hippy commune that survived for 50 years". BBC News. 21 November 2021. Retrieved 14 July 2022.
  23. ^ a b Egli, Justin (19 July 2016). "The Danish state with a history of bikers, drugs & violence". Dazed. 15 July 2022
  24. ^ a b Anthony, Andrew (22 February 2004). "Going up in smoke". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 July 2022.
  25. ^ Cathcart-Keays, Athlyn (23 September 2016). "Paradise lost: does Copenhagen's Christiania commune still have a future?". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 July 2022.
  26. ^ "First arrest in drug war slaying". Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved 2006-08-18.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  27. ^ "Christiania demolition unleashes havoc". Archived from the original on September 21, 2008. Retrieved 2007-05-14.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link) The Copenhagen Post, 14 May 2007
  28. ^ "Politichef overhældt med urin af aktivist". Archived from the original on May 18, 2007. Retrieved 2017-09-14.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link) Jyllands-Posten, 14 May 2007 (in Danish)
  29. ^ "Politianklagere: "København er i oprør"". Archived from the original on June 7, 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-17.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link), 18 May 2007 (in Danish)
  30. ^ a b "Man's jaw blown off in grenade attack". Copenhagen: Copenhagen Post. Archived from the original on 2009-04-26. Retrieved April 24, 2009. A number of people were injured - one seriously - when a hand grenade was thrown at them outside a Christiania café. A young man had part of his jaw blown off in an indiscriminate attack last night in the Christiania area of Copenhagen. The 22-year-old and four friends were sitting at a picnic table outside Café Nemoland when a hand grenade landed near them shortly after midnight. The man's face was badly injured when he was hit by shrapnel, but his condition was described as stable last night. Three of his companions received less severe injuries to their backs and legs, while one escaped injury in the attack.
  31. ^ Julian Isherwood. "Grenade lobbed at cafe". Copenhagen: Politiken. Archived from the original on June 13, 2022. Retrieved April 24, 2009. Five people were wounded, one of them seriously, during the night when a hand grenade was lobbed at the Cafe Nemoland in the Christiania district of Copenhagen. A 22-year-old man suffered serious facial injuries, while four others suffered shrapnel wounds to the back and lower extremities. The 22-year-old was operated on during the night and is said to be in a stable condition. Police have no clues as to who was responsible for the attack or, as yet, an indication of a motive.
  32. ^ a b "Denmark drug raid turns bloody as suspect opens fire on cops". New York Times. 1 September 2016. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
  33. ^ a b "What we know about the Christiania shooting". thelocal.dk. 2 September 2016. Archived from the original on 2 September 2016. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
  34. ^ "Skudsåret betjent uden for livsfare - er begyndt at genoptræne". TV2 News. 7 October 2016. Archived from the original on 22 December 2016. Retrieved 14 December 2016.
  35. ^ W., Christian (2 September 2016). "Suspected Christiania shooter dead". CPH Post. Archived from the original on 2 September 2016. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
  36. ^ "Two police officers, one civilian shot in Christiania". thelocal.dk. 1 September 2016. Archived from the original on 2 September 2016. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
  37. ^ Tofte, Sofie (1 September 2016). "Politiet i stor aktion efter skyderi på Christiania" (in Danish). DR Nyheder. Archived from the original on 1 September 2016. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
  38. ^ "Christiania shooter is Isis 'sympathizer': police". thelocal.dk. 1 September 2016. Archived from the original on 2 September 2016. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
  39. ^ Tofte, Sofie; Bjerregaard, Morten (2 September 2016). "Politi: Intet tyder på sammenhæng mellem Christiania-nedskydning og IS-sympatier" (in Danish). DR Nyheder. Archived from the original on 5 August 2017. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
  40. ^ Sørensen, Helle Harbo (8 October 2008). "Politidrab og røveri i Århus" (in Danish). TV2 Nyheder. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
  41. ^ Astrup, Søren (1 September 2016). "Politikerne efter skyderi i fristad: Otte gange vrede". Politiken (in Danish). JP/Politikens Hus. Archived from the original on 2 September 2016. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
  42. ^ a b Astrup, Søren; Hvilsom, Frank (2 September 2016). "Nu rydder christianitterne selv Pusher Street". Politiken (in Danish). JP/Politikens Hus. Archived from the original on 3 September 2016. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
  43. ^ "Cannabis booths torn down in Danish Free Town Christiania". New York Times. 2 September 2016. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
  44. ^ a b "Copenhagen cannabis market torn down after shooting". BBC News. 2 September 2016. Archived from the original on 3 September 2016. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
  45. ^ a b Hvilsom, Frank (30 October 2016). "Politidirektør: Hashmarked i Pusher Street er skrumpet kraftigt". Politiken (in Danish). JP/Politikens Hus. Archived from the original on 31 October 2016. Retrieved 30 October 2016.
  46. ^ "Christiania Bryghus – Bryghus at Christiania in Copenhagen". christianiabryghus.com. Archived from the original on 2021-12-01. Retrieved 2021-12-02.
  47. ^ "Christiania Bryg ApS". Ølfestival (in Danish). Archived from the original on 2021-10-23. Retrieved 2021-12-02.
  48. ^ "Christiania Guide - Page 10 - www.christiania.org". Archived from the original on February 5, 2012. Retrieved 2007-06-29.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  49. ^ https://christianiabryghus.com/
  50. ^ "The story about Christiania Bryghus".
  51. ^ "Untappd".
  52. ^ "Bombay IPA i Natholdets Julekalender 2019".
  53. ^ "Christiania Bryghus Nyheder".
  54. ^ "Untappd".
  55. ^ "Christiania Bryg, København K".
  56. ^ https://xn--lfestival-k8a.dk/udstillere/christiania-bryg-aps/
  57. ^ Riley, Harriet (18 September 2007). "Farewell to Freetown". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 31 August 2013. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
  58. ^ "Christiania loses court challenge". Archived from the original on August 11, 2010. Retrieved 30 January 2010.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  59. ^ a b "The negotiations between Christiania and the state". Bygningsstyrelsen (in Danish). Archived from the original on 31 December 2019. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  60. ^ "In Copenhagen's Christiania neighborhood, the future looks more settled". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 7 November 2018. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  61. ^ "Pris til Christiania". Information.dk (in Danish). 25 July 2007. Archived from the original on 17 October 2017. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  62. ^ "Lukas Graham: 'Mama Said's' Message Is 'Very, Very Simple' to Relate To". ABC News Radio. September 28, 2016. Archived from the original on June 13, 2022. Retrieved June 13, 2022.
  63. ^ Grow, Kory (May 27, 2016). "Lukas Graham's Singer on Growing Up in Anarchist Utopia". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on March 21, 2022. Retrieved June 13, 2022.
  64. ^ Mohan, Marc (2015-11-11). "42nd Northwest Filmmakers' Festival brings creative minds together". The Oregonian. p. 16. ISSN 8750-1317. ProQuest 1732922277.
  65. ^ Eriksen, Jan (2015-11-02). "Tv-stjerne sendt til tælling: Bokse-Brian i kult-serie". www.bt.dk (in Danish). Retrieved 2022-07-28.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 55°40′24.92″N 12°35′58.96″E / 55.6735889°N 12.5997111°E / 55.6735889; 12.5997111