christiania bike

Inside Christiania, Copenhagen’s Artsy and Alternative Social Experiment

Surreal graffiti, pumping bars and funky cafes in the hippie heart of Copenhagen.

It’s hard to believe that Christiania used to once be military barracks. The artsy, freewheeling, weed-smoking, utopian commune at the core of Denmark’s capital is young—founded in 1971. But those 46 years have been wild, and often rough, right from the time when artists and homeless people claimed the abandoned military ground. The neighbourhood is run as a semi-autonomous “free town”, an alternative living social experiment, and it reached an amicable resolution with the Danish government only in 2013, when Christianians bought their property—now owned as a collective—from the state. Today Christiania is a welcome embrace for Danes and visitors, with its lush green spaces, quirky eco-friendly buildings, pretty craft stores, and funky performance spaces. Take a look.

Photo: iStock.com/IvanSpasic

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    Saumya Ancheri is Assistant Web Editor at National Geographic Traveller India. She loves places by the sea, and travels to shift her own boundaries. She tweets as @Saumya_Ancheri.

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