Cat Gloria is an official CAPA blogger for summer 2017, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Journalism major at the University of Florida, she is studying abroad in Dublin this semester.
In this week's post, Cat discusses a visit she had to a unique part of Denmark.
I travelled to Copenhagen for a few days only to discover a completely different world within the city. It’s a free state called Christiania.
I was walking on the cobblestone sidewalks of Copenhagen when I came to a long archway that read “Welcome to Christiania.” I walked in and to my left was a painted mural on a wooden wall, to my right was untouched lush greenery. Walking further, it felt like I entered a new world, an eerie one.
History of Christiania
It turns out Christiania is its own universe. Founded in 1971, the abandoned military base was taken over by hippies. A local journalist published that the area was now a free town for settlers to use as a “social experiment” and that marked its beginning. Today about 850 people live there. The unique thing about Christiania is that there are no laws. That’s right, the state is technically not a part of the EU, it governs itself. The idea behind having no laws is to create a peaceful community that supports itself without a need for laws.
There are only nine rules all residents must abide by: No weapons; no hard drugs; no violence; no private cars; no biker’s colors; no bulletproof clothing; no sale of fireworks; no use of thundersticks; no stolen goods.
Whenever peace is disrupted in Christiania, questions are raised. There have been drug-related incidents in the past that have led to the closing of Christiania to the public, but it has always reopened. The most recent incident involved a shooting in 2016. Denmark’s government is currently trying to decide whether to let the place coexist or to shut it down.
A land where no laws exist is one like no other. It is so rare to be able to walk around in a place like Christiania, so you should take advantage. Not only is the idea of it such a wonder. Walking through Christiania is like walking through an art gallery, but ten times better. There are murals everywhere. Using colors you’ve never seen before. They also recycle old materials and make them into new things, like a playground made out of trash. It’s just fascinating to see how people without laws get along. There are also cool places to eat inside, as well as a live-music venue and plenty of nature to enjoy.
Just be aware of the danger in it also. When you walk further away from the city center you will come across houses, tents, shacks and other dwellings. There’s a feeling of exploration that pulls you further into the forest, but just make sure to be in a group. Don’t let the danger deter you though; it is very worth the trip.
Cat's journey continues every Monday so stay tuned.