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Why You Need To Visit Denmark's Hippie Commune Before You Die

The self-governing town of Christiania has seen its share of ups and downs, but it's still a place unlike any other in the world.

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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.

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.)

en.wikipedia.org / Via Bruno Jargot / Creative Commons

Upon entering the town, you pass a sign that says "You Are Now Leaving the European Union."

In Christiania, cannabis shops operate 24 hours a day and sell 30–40 types of hashish. Pretty cool.

zdroznikluka / Creative Commons / Via commons.wikimedia.org

Although weed is technically illegal here, it is still openly sold and tolerated. Police raids, though infrequent, do happen, however.

The town is full of art galleries, restaurants, cafés, and historic buildings.

Mutant Mandias / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: 23717872@N00

There are also plenty of museums, music venues, and cultural centers, like the Gay House, a popular destination for events for the gay, lesbian, and transgender community.

At many places, like Café Nemoland, you can smoke weed in an outdoor seating area.

Sertmann / Creative Commons / Via wikitravel.org

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.

Most of the food you'll find in Christiania is organic and high quality — though reasonably priced.

Rebecca Casciano / Via rebeccacasciano.blogspot.com

At Morgenstedet, an adorable eatery with an ever-changing menu of (really delicious!) homestyle vegan and vegetarian fare, the atmosphere is rustic and relaxed.

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.

Mutant Mandias / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: mutantmandias

Even Denmark's tourism organization currently provides safety information for visitors.

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.

Residents, however, have always largely been opposed to the idea of owning property, as the town was created out of a collectivist, anarchistic spirit.

Kieran Lynam / Creative Commons / Via commons.wikimedia.org

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.)

Though crime has increased since its founding years, Christiania still retains the community-focused, hippie-like spirit of its original inhabitants.

Luigi Anzivino / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: 48094050@N00

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.

It's a bucket-list destination for sure — with an atmosphere and a spirit that pictures simply don't do justice.

Steffen Hillebrand / Creative Commons / Via commons.wikimedia.org

(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.)

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