‘You are now leaving the European Union’.
A slight pang of fear crept into my body as I walked past the sign that greeted me entering freetown Christiana in Copenhagen.
Copenhagen was a momentous trip for me. It was my first time travelling completely solo. I had been told Copenhagen was one of the safest cities so I was fairly startled when I came across a town called Christiana in my research.
Christiana, commonly referred to as free town Christiana, came about in 1971 after the abandoned military area was taken over by squatters. It was turned into an alternative hub, freedom by their own rules; a free town. What caught my attention is the open and widely accepted trading of hash (although technically illegal).
I didn’t really know what to expect but I didn’t expect to feel so safe and comfortable, especially going by myself. I roamed around fairly freely like the tourist I was, abiding by simple rules stipulated for visitors to ensure peaceful cooperation (including no photos), observing and absorbing the lifestyle.
Colourful street art and murals, skate parks, jam seshs, markets, cafes, abandoned fixtures and a slight odour of hashish filled the air. As I walked past facemasked locals covered in tatts and stalls selling various flavours of marijuana, I did not feel scared or threatened. Everyone kept to their own and allowed visitors to explore.
It was so fascinating seeing this alternative hub, bound mainly by their own rules. My only regret is not having the courage to speak to the locals and learn about their lifestyle and motivation for upholding Christiana.
Christiana is a place I’d 100% visit again. If you’re not keen going alone, there’s free walking tours that visit Christiana from Copenhagen city centre.
It’s not everyday you come across a unique and accepted hub like this.