In the borough of Christianshavn in Denmark’s capital city of Copenhagen, lies the small self-governing utopia of Freetown Christiania. A colourful, open and autonomous neighbourhood living outside the Danish state and synonymous with its cultural history in the cannabis trade, Christiania is a unique Copenhagen experience toting its own flag and even currency, Løn, (although Danish Krone are also accepted here).
“Christiania is the land of the settlers. It is the so far biggest opportunity to build up a society from scratch.”
Christiania was first established in 1971 by journalist Jacob Ludvigsen in the grounds of an abandoned army barracks. A green and car-free neighbourhood working on the premise of collective ownership and openness, Christiania is a beautiful world away, backing on to a lake and full of nature, homemade houses, workshops, art galleries, organic cafés, music venues and cultural centres.
From the visually Stunning Glass house to cultural bastion, the Grey Hall - once a riding centre and now Christiania’s largest music venue, its dull grey exterior brightened with colourful graffiti and its echo-y insides reverberating occasionally with the live sounds of Bob Dylan, Rage Against the Machine and Metallica, there are many moments that will make you want to stop and stare.
Or indeed, stop and chill out completely, with one of the many expected meditation and yoga sessions happening throughout Christiania, or stop and engage brain with a sight of internationally acclaimed theatre group, Solvognen, who also perform throughout wider Denmark and Sweden (we really recommend trying to get a ticket).
You could also get a bike tour through this hippie cultural paradise or hitch yourself to some new wheels in style, with the internationally known Christiania bike, hosting a spacious crate in front, perfect for this car-less society.
An idealistic cultural platform that has simply thrived – with two international exports of the wheeled and thespian kinds, and a role as Copenhagen’s fourth largest tourist attraction – Christiania also has an important place as a home for those cast out by conventional society.
Now hosting about 850 residents, Christiania’s status in Denmark was finally safeguarded when in 2012, after over 40-years of conflict with the government, it was made a foundation, Foundation Freetown Christiania. We highly recommend a visit when next in town, but do make sure read the Do’s and Don’ts on the notice board outside – you aren’t in Kansas, anymore.
From one cultural bastion to another, but admittedly with varying degrees of luxe involved, base yourself a 25-minute walk away from Christiania in Copenhagen’s latest and greatest design hotel, Sanders. Step over the Inderhavnsbroen bridge and be swept off your feet by the intimately bohemian-cool vibe, chillax in the bespoke rooftop conservatory where all the cool cats come out to play, and pop to the Royal Danish Theatre just around the corner, too, for when you want a different kind of culture boost.
Peek in our Travel Journal too, for more to add to your little Copenhagen to-do list; from our Copenhagen Design Guide to Copenhagen Fashion Week, our Must-See Guide to Copenhagen to Copenhagen Ceramics, and with fashion from Henrik Vibskov, Holly Golightly, Cecilie Bahnsen and Samsøe & Samsøe.
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