Christiania Copenhagen’s Counterculture – Things to do nearby [Guide]

Christiania enter sign

Many people are drawn to visit this interesting enclave when in Copenhagen. We’ll take you through all you need to know about Christiania Freetown Copenhagen. This self proclaimed free state is run by the locals and boasts a distinctly alternative vibe. Those living here in the commune shun many western ideals – such as capitalism – and strive to be free from restricting structures. 

About Christiania Denmark

Christiania in Denmark
christiania_denmark

The small commune of about 875 residents has proclaimed itself as completely independent from the state. It was founded in 1971 on the former military barracks of Badsmandsstraede. Some claim that it was a result of student protests and uprising during the period, others say it was the citizenry’s answer to the issue of homelessness in Denmark at the time.

Although it was envisioned by its founders to be a place where the residents are “responsible for the wellbeing of the entire community” the ideal was far from the reality – Christiania soon became an enclave for squatters, anarchists and infamous for its open trading of cannabis. 

The locals 

freetown Christiania things to do nearby
christiania_graffiti

Because of its growing negative reputation and the violence in the area, it was closed down by the residents themselves in the spring of 2011. However, it was reopened and is one of Denmark’s popular and unique tourist attractions.

Residents of the community are called “Christianits” and the official currency is the Lon, although the Danish Krone is also accepted as legal tender. Guided tours are being offered to visitors who would want a glimpse of a community that thrives on an “alternative lifestyle.” Similar to other communities, Christiania does have a thriving commercial life, with a number of local shops and businesses, and even its own archive. 

Christiania Alternative Culture and Community

Freetown Christiania Denmark
freetown_christiania

Scandinavia often gets a reputation for being cold  – and that’s not just the weather. Unfortunately, we can’t change the northern climate. But we do hope to be able to show that the culture can indeed be warm and vibrant. 

While Norway, and Sweden remain somewhat culturally rigid, Denmark, embraces alternative lifestyles and eccentricity. Its true, Danish style and design are still largely slaves to function. This minimalism extends beyond the aesthetic. It seems Danes have taken it upon themselves to accommodate the desires of the most people possible.

While at first Danes may appear standoffish and distant, rest assured, they are just respecting your personal space. When approached, most Danish people are remarkably accommodating and friendly. This ability to accept alternate paths extends to the Danish capital, Copenhagen. 

On the outskirts, there lurks a collective of anarchists living in relative peace and prosperity. This haven for the dispossessed and downright different is known as Freetown Christiania.

Freetown Christiania Rules

  • The center of Freetown is the appropriately named Pusher Street. Here, you can witness (but we recommend to not partake in) open air trading of the green herb. But, one of Christiania’s strict rules is a ban on hard drugs.
  • Also known as Copenhagen’s “Green-light District”, here you can hash it out with a shopkeeper and find something to their liking. While not legal, the police tend to look the other way. However, the general adversarial nature leads to an air of secrecy. Most of the dealers wear masks, or have a cloth blocking their shop windows. To avoid confusion, it is important to refrain from taking pictures. 
  • Don’t  run on Pusher Street. 
  • There is ubiquitous signage alerting tourists to the area’s rules. It is always wise to avoid an anarchist’s bad side.
  • Remember always to be respectful and do not treat the area like a sideshow. These people take pride in their homes, and their unique way of life. They are used to visitors, and are usually more than happy to chat, but not so pleased when you invade their privacy (no photos without asking) (i.e. or property (stay on the beaten paths).

Christiania district: for what type of travellers?

Freetown Copenhagen Rules
freetown_copenhagen

This is for those who are comfortable with a little grit, who won’t be intimidated by alternative lifestyles, or who are purely curious

Far from perfection, Freetown has a history of violence. From biker gangs to police raids, Christianites have seen it all. The fact they continue to stay is a testament in itself. Everyone should see it. It will make you question your ideals and test your resolve. Is it really anarchist? All the rules beg to differ. Is it dangerous? Not regularly. Anyone interested in an alternative Christiania Copenhagen perspective will enjoy a short stroll down Pusher Street.

Freetown Christiania – Things to do nearb

Christiania bikes
alternative_christiania_copenhagen

Top attractions

  • In the center, there is a stage that often hosts community events, and a small coffee shop. There is no shortage of characters and art to capture the imagination. Christiania is strange, and they plan to keep it that way.
  • Check out the Christiania Christmas market. Like its locals, this market is a one of a kind. You’ll find unique little gifts and trinkets here that can’t be bought in stores. 
  • Relax in the vibe. The time is now to visit the world’s best-known anarchist enclave. The Christianites are always at odds with city officials, police, and themselves. But there is a calmness engulfing the Freetown. Inside Christiania, there is a likewise relaxing and “green” vibe. There are small shops selling souvenirs, and usually playing reggae music. 
  • Stroll and enjoy the quirks. I find walking around the surrounding islets is truly transcendent. Here you can see multi-million dollar homes across from crumbling shacks. It’s not like the government hasn’t offered to help. The people choose to live their own way, and that’s good enough for most. 
  • Walking around Christiania’s larger area will give you a glimpse into the lifestyle. You’ll see a distinct lack of cars, and an above-average quantity of large bicycles with a huge basket in the front. These utilitarian rollers are now known as “Christiania bikes.” Christianites use them to move their children, pets and sometimes, all their earthly possessions.
  • Photograph the unique architecture. Christiania also has some of the most unique architecture in Copenhagen. A far cry from modern Scandinavian construction, Christiania survives on ingenuity and elbow grease. Rusty signage and old-world carpentry are all the rage. A long walk around Christiania can change your perspective on what you truly need to survive.

Where to stay in Christiana Area

Bedwood hostel in denmark
bedwood_hostel_denmark_@booking.com

Top budget hotel

The Bedwood is located at 63c Nyhavn which is only 0.9kms from Christiania. This gorgeous period property boasts exposed beams, quirky corners and a cool bar. Bike hire is also available, and you are a stone’s throw from the action on Nyhavn. 

  • Price  – A private double room in July will cost around £130 including a private bathroom.
  • In the low season, expect to pay around £80. There are also shared dorms available, starting at just £17 in the low season for a mixed dorm.
  • How to get there? From central station, you can take bus number 26 for about €2. Metro too is a similar price – get off at Kongens Nytorv

Top comfy hotel

Copenhagen Stand is just 0.7kms from Christiania. Housed in a quirky 19th century warehouse, the hotel has a communal lounge complete with Nintendo Wi. 

  • Private rooms in July start at about £150
  • You can get the same in the off season for about £120
  • How to get there? Kongens Nytorv Metro Station is only 400 metres away

Top luxury hotel

The closest luxury hotel to Christiania is the Marriott. It’s 5 minutes to central station, with great views of the waterfront. An on site grill and bar welcome the weary tourist

  • A standard room for 2, no matter what season, will start at around £220. Breakfast is good, but expect to pay around £20 a head 

Christiana best youth hostels

Copenhagen downtown hostel
copenhagen_downtown_hostel_@copenhagendowntown.com

We mentioned the charming Bedwood Hostel in Nyhavn, but you can also get some much cheaper deals at hostels around Indre By, Copenhagen, too.

Check out the Copenhagen Downtown Hostel, just 500 metres from Indre By. Here, a shared dorm will set you back just €20, or you can get a private room from €60.

Or, there’s also the Hostel Jørgensen , less than a kilometre from Indre By. Rooms start at around €50, there is free wifi and free breakfast 

Christiania Airbnb & B&B

Want to experience true Christiana? The hotel’s we’ve listed are nearby, the neighborhood of Christianshavn right next too is a great place for an AirBnb or Bnb stay. Local homes can be a great way to get to know the area. You can get a cosy apartment all to yourself starting at about €80 per night,  or save more money by sharing with a local. Check out all there is to offer in Christianshavn on Airbnb right here

Christiania Restaurants – Where to eat

Pastries - restaurants in Denmark
pastries_food_denmark
  • Sunshine Bakery. This perfect munchie spot for locals serves up sweet treats, pastries and buns. 
  • Spiseloppen. This locals favorite is housed in a stone warehouse with cosy decor and treats diners to a mix of local and international cruising
  • Morgenstedet. Another well loved favorite. This vegetarian restaurant in a little cottage perfectly fits the bill 

How to get to Christiania Copenhagen

From Nyhavn, just walk across the  Inderhavnsbroen from Nyhavn. To  get to Nyhavn from central station, simply take the train to Nørreport Station.

FAQs – Freetown Christiania

What is Bevar Christiania?

Bevar Christiania means Free Christiania in Danish. The government  sometimes threatens to shut the place down. Support the cause by purchasing a Bevar Christiania shirt or sticker! 

What does the future of Christiania look like?

Perhaps the government marginalized Copenhagen’s undesirables to the hinterlands of Christiania. Perhaps, economics will rule the day (as it so often does) and Christiania isn’t long for the scrap heap. 

Perhaps, the Christianites are the future, eagerly embracing sustainability and minimalism in a world growing weary of overconsumption. After a visit to Christiania, you may start to wonder if we are the crazy ones. Some visitors don’t like it. That’s the point. Freetown is for thinkers, observers, artists, and the uncertain. 

The Christianites don’t want approval, pity, money, or power. They simply want to live by their own terms. Exist with them for a little while, and make up your own mind.

Is Freetown Christiania safe?

You may be thinking this area of town must be the refuge Copenhagen’s worst: the killers, the users, the pushers, the insane, the homeless etc.

It’s not. Christiania is one of the most unique cultural experiments in recent history. It is a popular tourist destination, a concert venue, and an art exhibition all in one. 

What happened to Christiania?

The Freetown movement began in 1971, when a few “hippies” squatted in an abandoned army barracks to protest the price of housing.

Now over 40 years later, Christiania constitutes a sort of countercultural paradise. These anarchists paradoxically have a community council, and pay rent and utilities. Christiania is hardly the cesspool a square pessimist would imagine.

They have rules and the Christianites largely abide. They have had their share of problems, like any community, but amid constant turmoil, Christiania survives as a symbol of Danish tolerance.

Which city was previously known as Christiania?

Oslo Norway was known as Christiania from 1877 to 1925.

What time does Christiania open?

There are no official opening times for Christiania, but it is a little bit friendlier during the day. That’s not to say it’s unsafe at night, but be sure to not wander around alone 

Conclusion

A noted venue for Copenhagen’s gay community, a revered destination for music, and a source of inspiration for the Danish literati, Christiania illustrates the Danes affinity for tolerance.

I will not go so far as to say acceptance. The fact that Christiania remains despite occupying, what would now seem to be, very pricey real estate, says the Danish government values some things a bit more than money.

Related articles:

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*