You’ve likely heard of Freetown Christiania if you are an avid grass smoker. Located in the center of Copenhagen, the infamous neighborhood has operated for nearly 50 years as a marijuana friendly, autonomous hippy community. Journalist Jacob Ludvigsen is credited with morphing the former military base into a refuge for those interested in escaping traditional Danish society. Ludvigsen penned back in ’71 during Christiania’s “opening”:
Christiania is the land of the settlers. It is the so far biggest opportunity to build up a society from scratch – while nevertheless still incorporating the remaining constructions. Own electricity plant, a bath-house, a giant athletics building, where all the seekers of peace could have their grand meditation – and yoga center. Halls where theater groups can feel at home. Buildings for the stoners who are too paranoid and weak to participate in the race…Yes for those who feel the beating of the pioneer heart there can be no doubt as to the purpose of Christiania. It is the part of the city which has been kept secret to us – but no more.
Within the borders of Christiania, residents were free to meditate, garden, smoke dope or follow whatever pursuits their hearts fancied. Things have changed a bit over the years, but this community is still one worth visiting. Here’s what to know before you go:
Don’t Buy Weed … It’s Gone For A Reason
Following the 2016 shooting of two cops and a pedestrian by a marijuana dealer, residents immediately shuttered Pusher Street. Green stalls lining the commune were removed the day after the shooting, plummeting cannabis sales by 75% within two months. And there is still a very much an active local campaign discouraging visitors from purchasing weed/hash from the remaining dealers. There is also a ban on all “hard drugs” so don’t come here looking for ski lifts.
Do Take Photographs … At Your own risk
Dozens of street signs warning visitors not to take pictures have gone missing from Christiania. A couple of years ago, ignoring those signs could have led to a beatdown or a forced delete by an overly aggressive pusher. Thankfully, things chilled out a bit after the marijuana and hash dealers were booted in 2016. Tourists are now allowed to take pictures freely, but should always ask before sticking their lens in someone’s face.
Do Eat At The Cafés and Restaurants
Christiania is not just a place to score drugs or do yoga, there are plenty of restaurants and cafes. Spiseloppen’s is one diner worthy of your Danish kroner. The menu is influenced by the chefs and waiters who come from over a dozen different countries so you never know what will be on the menu. Sunshine Bakery opened its doors in the 1970s and is still going strong. The petite joint sells Danish pastries, sandwiches, coffee and tea. There are several other places, so just ask a local for suggestions if you find yourself there anytime soon.