Williams: Christiania – Inhabiting the Greatest Culture


By Brook Williams

Six years ago I visited a place called Christiania. It’s a little society in Copenhagen, Denmark, covering 84 acres. It is a free-living and loving society filled with hippies who live off the basic necessities to survive. The community is distinctively different from others reeking of uniqueness and weed. Entering as a tourist, it appears similar to a giant flea market with shoppers and sellers from every race, religion, sexuality and age. The roads are colored with beautiful tents selling anything from vegan food to shoes made out of wood. The society was built to be the only place in the world with its trademarks, and it delivers.

The people in Christiania strongly believe in meditation and yoga. The residents carry themselves with a sense of charisma, compassion and warmth. Christiania is a safe haven for people struggling with normal society, or who need a getaway and a simpler way of life. Christiania is independent of the normal Danish society and government, using their own set of rules in the interests of common residents who include recovering addicts. It’s basically a massive community of friends who all contribute to their society to help one another. The government is based on the simple idea of paying it forward. You simply work for your stay. There are no taxes, there’s no hierarchy and no control. Some residents even sell their art as part of their income to donate to the community as well as to contribute to their stay.

Art in Christiania is everywhere. The walls are covered from top to bottom with vivid visuals representing the earth. Trees are a constant theme throughout the community. The streets are scattered with giant sculptures that each have their own characteristics attributed to representing the free-living and loving society. In order to live and thrive, you must be an environmental activist. Residents are passionate about preserving and nourishing our earth.

Though the intention has always been positive with nothing but love at Christiania, sometimes it runs into problems with the Danish government and gangs. When it comes to selling drugs, Christiania allows no hard drugs in its compound. Traditionally, marijuana hasn’t been controlled, and after a couple years of conflict with the Danish government, selling weed has become more difficult. It wasn’t until 2016 when a police officer was shot during a gang conflict that Christiania was deemed no longer allowed to distribute weed.

Christiania is a beautiful place to visit and has a great governing system. If it were an option to implement some of its values and rulings I think we, in America, would have a more loving and accepting society where people could live happier and healthier lives.

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