2. Its 84 acres sit on an abandoned military base, and it was founded in 1971 by squatters and artists as a “social experiment.”
3. While it may look like just another quaint Danish city from afar, Christiania is an autonomous “free town” within Copenhagen — a hippie commune, if you will.
7. The town was said to be “beyond the reach of Danish law” by its founders, and has its own currency, Løn. (It’s often referred to as Freetown Christiania.)
Upon entering the town, you pass a sign that says “You Are Now Leaving the European Union.”
8. Christiania even flies its own flag.
9. In Christiania, cannabis shops operate 24 hours a day and sell 30–40 types of hashish. Pretty cool.
Although weed is technically illegal here, it is still openly sold and tolerated. Police raids, though infrequent, do happen, however.
10. DIY signs abound.
11. There are street murals at every corner.
13. The town is full of art galleries, restaurants, cafés, and historic buildings.
16. At many places, like Café Nemoland, you can smoke weed in an outdoor seating area.
This restaurant/bar/music venue, like many spots in Christiania, is open for late-night shenanigans. There’s also the Woodstock Café, which hosts live music and serves organic beer and coffee until 5 a.m., and plenty of other laid-back places to hang out well into the night.
17. Most of the food you’ll find in Christiania is organic and high quality — though reasonably priced.
At Morgenstedet, an adorable eatery with an ever-changing menu of (really delicious!) homestyle vegan and vegetarian fare, the atmosphere is rustic and relaxed.
18. Some spots look sort of trippy and post-apocalyptic.
Hej means “hey.” The chairs here are pretty chill too.
19. And some spots look like this: a canal at the end of Christiania, where people live on boats.
20. Check out this awesome glass house made from recycled windows.
It’s thought to exemplify the idea of “architecture without architects.”
21. (You can see more creative, colorful Christiana architecture here.)
22. Even the dumpsters are cool.
23. This is Pusher Street, the “main drag,” where stuff like weed and handmade jewelry is sold.
24. Freetown Christiania has not been without controversy, though. Drug-related crime became an increasing problem in the ’80s, which led to clashes with the police and government.
Even Denmark’s tourism organization currently provides safety information for visitors.
25. After struggles with the Danish government for quite some time, in 2012, it was decided that most of Christiania would be sold to the people who live there.
26. Residents, however, have always largely been opposed to the idea of owning property, as the town was created out of a collectivist, anarchistic spirit.
The deal was made, but under the stipulation that “individuals would not actually control the land; the ‘collective’ would.” (Christiania property was was also offered at a price much below market value.)
27. Though crime has increased since its founding years, Christiania still retains the community-focused, hippie-like spirit of its original inhabitants.
Many of its near 1,000 residents are artisans who try to live as organically as possible. Things are pretty mellow here: Christiania prohibits running — it may be seen as a police raid — as well as private cars.
28. Here’s a sign displaying the nine common laws of Christiania.
My favorite is the fist punching the drug needle. Take that, hard drugs.
29. It’s a bucket-list destination for sure — with an atmosphere and a spirit that pictures simply don’t do justice.
(When leaving Freetown Christiania, a helpful sign reminds you that you’re returning back into the EU.)
While cannabis is openly sold and tolerated in Christiania, it is technically illegal. An earlier version of this post stated that weed was legal here. (h/t: user Ciliak.)