Chris Turner on Christiania’s Fate

by Joey deVilla on December 31, 2005


Christiania (here’s its Wikipedia entry), the sort-of-self-governing neighbourhood located in Copenhagen, Denmark is one of those places I’d been meaning to visit (along with the rest of Copenhagen, of course). It was created in 1971 when a group of hippie-types took over an area that housed abandoned military barracks. What resulted over the following three decades was an social experiment: a citizen-run self-organizing “autonomous zone” with a large creative class, a simple set of laws and avoidance of taxes that libertarians would enjoy, and a large “creative class” of the sort of which Richard Florida speaks.

Unfortunately, Christiania’s days are numbered: the current Danish government — a centre-right one, which contrasts with the past five decades of their tending to be social democrats — is putting the squeeze on Christiania. My friend and fellow DJ from Crazy Go Nuts University, Chris “Turner” Turner, reports in today’s Globe and Mail’s Focus section in an article titled Where freedom is another word for a whole lot left to lose. The stuff that didn’t make it into the piece, as well as a number of his own photos, can be found on his blog, Planet Simpson, in this entry: Attention, Hippies!

Come Out Peacefully So We Can Smash Your Drug Mill And All Your Worldly Possessions!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Anonymous January 3, 2006 at 9:37 am

I was in Copenhagen last May and visited Christiania. Interesting place. From what I read it could never exist without a tolerant, wealthy, parent state (with batons guns and jails.)

Unlike a regular country:

They get to choose who can be a citizen

They shove troublesome people out

The citizens recieve a great deal of aid from the government as well as income from artistic endeavors, bars, restaurants, etc.

The real estate (old military compound) is probably worth a billion dollars.

Lots of street people go there to drink cheaper beer with fewer hassles. The drug trade did not interest me, I did not pay it much mind.

Offhand I do not know if the government should relocate those people, it’s a pretty grey area. The ‘state’ would probably not make it if they were not an easy walk from central Copenhagen, or if it’s citizens were not afforded public aid, or other government services. One might suggest it would be more fair to other needy people if the Danish government built some public housing and maintained parks on that land instead so that more than 1000 people could live there.

-Joel.

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