The objective of Christiania is to create a self-governing society whereby each and every individual holds themselves responsible over the wellbeing of the entire community. Our society is to be economically self-sustaining and, as such, our aspiration is to be steadfast in our conviction that psychological and physical destitution can be averted.
The main square is stuffed in Christiania. And, bar one or two exceptions, everyone is strutting their stuff, a big fat bowl in hand. The exercise seems kinda pointless – smoking a big fat blunt just because you can because, God forbid, your mother appears and you don’t have a chance to disappoint her with your alternative lifestyle. Sigh. And this, in many ways, sums up the whole experiment that is Christiaia to me.
In the 1970’s the Danish navy moved out of their base on the island of Christiiania leaving the island deserted. Over the next few years the area became a squat for the homeless and at some stage soon after a bunch of local hippies moved in, turning the area into a kind of area where people could live free, without rules. And the Danes being the Danes they decided that they would let the area stay in this vein, almost like a social experiment.
Five minutes earlier I turn off the main road, consulting my map, this seems like the way to Christiania. I’m not at this point sure if I’ve entered the area, not at this point sure if I should start living free or dieing hard yet. I enter a clearing in the park with a couple of simple benches still asking this question. My answer comes in the form of a massive fat man in his forties sitting on a bench wearing only a pair of speedos and some beat up running shoes, his bulging belly tanned brown from the sun and glistening in sweat, he sits in the most despicable pose I can imagine for a man of his girth. I guess he’s the gatekeeper.
There’s a guy pissing in the bushes, not giving a shit*, a kid who’s obviously 14 or 15 sitting next to a bike with a massive amp on the front; loudly blasting rasta; the biggest joint I have ever seen resting comfortably in his hand and, as always when in the company of hippies; a random mother and a pram. I guess I’m here.
*pun mildly intended
I’m probably exaggerating my disgust here. This is an enthralling social experiment. It reminds me a lot of what a kind of post-apocalyptic reassembly of humanity would look like. Ramshackle (*the absolute best way to describe it all) houses, built or renovated from the remains of ancient navel bases, sheds or just built from scratch, line the overgrown roads and paths that encircle and entangle the area. Most are built on enthralling real estate, overlooking the rivers and canals, hidden inside quaint fantastic hills and foliage. It’s a beautiful place, a real life wonderland.
I have no doubt that the people who founded this society meant well in their attempt to create a kind of utopia, just like the intellectuals who created communism before them and the businessmen who created free market capitalism after them probably meant well. But in the end it failed because,like those before and after, they failed to realize that the majority of the world are just douchebags who like to strut around pointlessly smoking big-ass blunts.