14.05.2018 12:24

The supposed freedom in Christiania

Autor: Iris Cubells Asencio | Kurz: English section | Kategorie: Features and other

Just five minutes walking from a central Copenhagen metro station, we enter the free town of Christiania, an area of 34 hectares proclaimed independent of the Danish state, located in the district of Christianshavn.

If you have never heard about it, you should know that it is a community composed of about 900 neighbors declaring themselves independent of the Danish state, with its own flag that is everywhere, and its own currency. This place is known for its freedom in the legality of soft drugs and for the alleged inability of the police to access it.

If you enter in this magical world located in the heart of the Danish city, you have to cross a threshold that announces the name of the city as a welcome. Just entering, you can see a lot of nature and you have to walk along the various trails that surround the huge lake in which you find all kinds of people. After a couple of minutes you can perceive in the atmosphere the smell of marijuana.

Throughout the way there are very peculiar and striking houses, full of graffiti, shapes and colors of the most unique. Some even let whom see their greenhouses where they grow marijuana. One of the most shocking things is that they never close the door of their homes because they don't believe in private property. In Christiania sharing is a way of life.

One of the things that draws our attention is that there is a sign with safety rules for anyone who enter in this place, among them is the “prohibition of running in Christiania”, just because they do not want to alter at all the climate of the city.

This town is so liberal that it can happen that as you walk you find naked people through a window. Don't be frightened! These are communal showers that are available to everyone. "Anyone has access to them. The entrance is free for both men and women", one of its inhabitants who is walking around the showers confess.

This city is full of benches, chairs, or sculptures built with used and similar objects. This is because recycling is a standard, and they take advantage of all kind of unusable things. The labor of these artists make them objects of the most homely and valuable.

We continue walking and we do not stop to see the famous "Cristianiabikes", some bicycles that they invented with a kind of drawer in the front, that has spread throughout Copenhagen with the aim of transporting in it to the smallest of the house. This artists also have their own mail system, restaurants, exhibition halls, daycare, shops and even concerts.

We get to the street that we've heard the most about, Pusher street, which literally means the street of the narcotics vendor. As its name suggests, in it you find different stalls selling soft drugs, is supposed to be legal. However, this street is full of posters to warn that you can not take pictures. "Excuse me, can you keep your cell phone in your purse? My friends are getting nervous”, one boy who accompanies one of these vendors asked me very politely.

A little further forward, there is a square full of tables and chairs, full of people of different ages who enjoy the warmth, music and beers. Of course, there is a souvenir shop for every curious visitor like us who wants to take a souvenir.

My friends and I have decided to imitate them and feel at home, testing one of the local brewing green beers, Thy Pilsner Christiania, soft and 4.6% alcohol. One of the claims of many Danish who come to this place, is the low cost of their beer and food, because they are managed by them, do not pay taxes, and make a very profitable business in addition to the main attraction of the neighborhood, the consumption of marijuana.

While we are enjoying the tranquility of this place, people start to get nervous and look sideways. In a matter of seconds, one of the vendors of the Pusher street is sitting beside me just because he wants to hide of the ten policemen who approach the square. He takes off his cap, that all of them have it, so this tactic is imitated by his other colleagues whom we identify because of the same gesture of the cap.

We have decided to get up and move away to a safer place to avoid any problems. All the policemen enter a kind of hut that is located in the square and they go out arresting a young man and after him there are three policemen with bags of marijuana. We ask ourselves; Aren't the police supposed to stay away from this place?

"Since a few years ago the Danish police have become stricter and the raids are becoming very common," says a woman who used to frequent this place with her husband, who also accompanies her. "If the cops catch you with five grams of dope, you gotta go to the brig and pay a fine. If you are a foreigner you will not be able to enter the country of Denmark, at least in five years”, kept telling us her husband. "Sometimes, if they see you with a joint in your hand they can also fine you," adds the man.

At this moment, the charm of this city vanishes. The reason is that we have been recommended this place for sightseeing and we have seen it as a different and legal place to relax. Now I can say that the best way to meet it is to visiting and watching with your own eyes to know that what people tell, and even what is said on the Internet, is a lie.

When it comes time to go and cross that kind of door, you can read its characteristic message: "You are now entering the EU". They consider being in a world apart. And there is no doubt that it is. Another very different issue would be to talk about freedom.


Klíčová slova: Christiania, Freedom, Copenhague, Police, Marijuana


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