Across the bridge Knippelsbro is Christianshavn, a quite fashionable area of Copenhagen. Take a stroll along the canals, enjoy a cup of coffee at one of the many cafes along the waterfront and visit the famous Freetown Christiania.
Hippies with their own set of rules
Christiania was founded in 1971 when a group of hippies took over an area of abandoned military barracks and developed their own set of rules, completely independent of the Danish government.
One could say that Christiania is an alternative society within society, which also means that the darker sides of modern life are represented. Some parents advise their teenage children not to go there after dark, and tourists are advised not to take photos in Pusher Street.
Art everywhere in Christiania
The freetown in the heart of Copenhagen has always been known for its human diversity, but also that the independent community was a place where hash was sold openly on Pusher Street; but in 2004 the Danish government succeeded in closing the permanent stands. Christiania has been described as a life surrounded by art. There is art everywhere.
Human diversity makes the freetown so special
Many of the houses, which have been built by the present or previous inhabitants and which nobody owns, are works of art in themselves. Everywhere you go in Christiania there are paintings and sculptures, and there is always live music or theatre playing somewhere. The art and the human diversity of Christiania are what make Christiania so special. and it is definitely worthwhile a visit.
Christiania WorksThis is how Christiania’s self-management work’s
Christiania’s self-management is built on, that every individual has a responsibility for his/her own life and his/hers home.
The resident’s in an area have a common responsibility for the area’s development and condition.
All Christianit’s, about 650 grown up’s and 200 children, have to take responsibility and action, if there is to be development in the local community. Through the individual Christianit’s self-discipline and the community’s close network have we created a district, almost without crime, violence and fear, and the responsibility is not only for the psychological environment.
Self-management also means, that if a resident is not keeping up his home, there will be no authority to come and do it for him/her.
In the individual areas the self-management work in the same way.
Another important element in Christiania’s self-management is, that we work with a flat and manageable decision structure, there support’s and strengthens the grassroots foundation. This way it is reasonable easy for a group, there is burning for an idea, to describe it and seek support and economical support from the community, for a realisation of the project.
After that, it is the responsibility of the group to use, manage and maintain the project – this is activism and self-management. That way we avoid an elite and top-managed development of our town. Here there is room for dream’s and fire-soul’s, with social and physical free-room to develop new idea’s and initiatives.
The starting point is always, that the resident’s decide for them self, why, when, and how we will develop our town.
Democracy is a long and difficult process, there sometimes can be exhausting, when every participant has the right to participate in the discussions. Manny problems are often so full of conflicts, that it is impossible to reach an agreement in one or a couple of meetings.
Therefore it takes some decisions processes month or even years, but that dos not mean that the quality is less.
Decisions that are forced through, will not be respected and lived by anyway, and have therefore poor value. That everyone participate in the discussions sometimes make the meetings chaotic, but it has the effect that the structure has spaciousness and prevent the social marginalizing and expulsion that we usually se in the rest of the Danish society.
In Christiania you are never cut of from influence on the development in your local environment, even if the social status for example is alcoholic, foreigner, physical or psychological handicapped.
The value in being held as a participant in decisions processes lessen the risk of “falling out” of other society functions and thereby be further marginalized.
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