The Christiania Community in Copenhagen

Download audio file (christiania.mp3)

Three guys are sitting by the lake in Phnom Penh talking about Christiania and the death of hippie culture in Copenhagen.

Mark: Christiana. What year was that?
Danish Guy: Christiania was occupied….it was an old military… like… what do you call it …”concessionary” or something like that it. It was occupied in sixty-eight by Danish hippies or whatever you call them. But like today it is really fading away because the new government are really going hard against them now.
Mark: It is closing down, isn’t it?
Danish Guy: Yeah. they have been like….
Australian Guy: Police and stuff going in there?
Danish Guy: Yeah like there used to be a lot of artists and young left wing people..all left wing people living there.
Australian Guy: Yeah.
Danish Guy: And there used to be like a lot of hash and like mushrooms and stuff like that but no heroin or stuff like that. It used to be all heroin free and it has been fairly much like that but there has been a little bit like in the last couple of years and more and more I guess like… “Rockers” we call them in Danish; Hells Angels and stuff like that (who have been) taking over a lot of the drug industry there.
Mark: Mhm.
Danish Guy: But now they closed it down. The police have been like raiding it for the last three years….But there used to be like all these people who had made their houses and all these things they built themselves. Like you go there…like they have their own blacksmith. And there would be like…
Mark: Right.
Danish Guy: Everything they make themselves.
Mark: They built like a small city.
Danish Guy: Yeah And it is not like…(there are) a lot of educated people living there like architects, who make these very interesting like houses. And it is really the government… like it is against the law…they can’t…they wanted a way. Plus it is in the centre of Copenhagen.
Mark: Mm.
Danish Guy: Copenhagen is right now the sixth most expensive city in the world to live in. It is worth a lot of money. It is around the lakes.
Mark: They want the land.
Danish Guy: It is insane. Yeah. Yeah.
Australian Guy: So who actually owns the land?
Danish Guy: No-one. It is ah…
Mark: An old military base, isn’t it?
Danish Guy: Yeah. Like it is occupied. The people who want to live there…they can rent I guess. It is not really owned. Like it is a hippie thing. There used to be a street in the center called “Pusher Street” where there would be vendors all over. They would have blocks of whatever kind of hash you wanted. Not heroin or amphetamine or stuff like that. But like natural stuff; you could get whatever you wanted and it is like like families like and it was a tourist attraction as well. I would come as a Danish family with my mother and father. I would walk down. I actually did this with my mother and father and see all the vendors with their things laid out. And they have their own like special Christiania bike that they made themselves. It is a long thing.
Mark: You lie down?
Danish Guy: Yeah. You lie down. Yeah.
Mark: I have seen that in Holland.
Danish Guy: Yeah.
Mark: It wasn’t illegal? Like? The police did nothing?
Danish Guy: In Denmark…It is…I am not really sure about the rules but I think it is legal to possess a certain amount which does not imply that you are going to sell but in Christiania it was alright ……but the thing is today… They kicked them out now. Christiania is closed down. They are not selling hash any more. What it has done is all the second generation immigrants have taken over the hash.
Australian Guy: Yeah.
Danish Guy: Like drug selling in Copenhagen and Denmark. And now it is spread all over and they don’t have… not to be racist or anything but they do not have a code of conduct in the same way. Like even the Rockers had it like a little bit like “keep it within”. They are more aggressive, more violent like. They are more extreme. The thing is like it was actually … like… Rationally it was probably a bad thing to close it down.
Australian Guy: Yeah, cause it made its bread (?)
Danish Guy: Yeah and it makes it more extreme. But I can understand the whole idea that you cannot have a law that you can not sell this and then you have a part of the city where there is a street…where
Australian Guy: You can buy it.
Danish Guy: It is a shame that they are really hitting down on it. It is a piece of culture. It is actually one of the most interesting parts of Denmark. and it is actually like a tourist attraction as well . People come to Denmark for this. We have another place up in …Do you know Jutland?
Mark: I know on the map.
Danish Guy: Arhus is on Jutland. Like the peninsula is Jutland.
Mark: Right.
Danish Guy: In the north-west there is a place called (?) camp, where there is also a camp. A lot of hippies used to live up there. John Lennon lived there for a few years I think. It does not have as much political attention so up there they are pretty much left alone still.
Mark: Hippies. Communes. And stuff.
Danish Guy: Yeah.
Mark: Wow! We have a couple of areas in Australia down in the south west where they have that. And also around Byron Bay.
Danish Guy: I think Christiania has been corrupted. I am not sure. I don’t go there now. I don’t know how it is today. It is not easy for them over there any more and the hippie culture doesn’t live in the same way any more. But is still a very interesting place to go.
Mark: Yeah it is a shame. When are they closing it down… I wonder?
Danish Guy: I am not sure. They are fighting it very much not to have it closed down
Mark: I hope they do not close it down.
Danish Guy: Copenhagen is very much…like…Have you heard of the youth house? There is a youth house which was closed down. They had it for a long time. They used to have concerts and do a lot of things (for young people) They had it for a long time do a lot of things and then for some reason some idiots gave it to a right wing Christian organization …like… in the nineties and they wanted to tear it down so they tore it down. There were demonstrations for months. The streets were at war. People from all over Europe were coming.
Mark: What was it? The kiddie house?
Danish Guy: Youth house.
Mark: Youth house. What is it called in Danish?
Mark: Say that again?
Danish Guy: (Danish)