Breakfast is a wonderful thing, and breakfast when you can sleep in for a while is even better. The two previous days had early morning planned hectic meetings and what we in Sweden call ‘fullt ös’, which basically mean non-stop all the time – all the time. Fitting then that our last day was had a few hours to spare in the morning for everyone to take their time before we set of for a guided tour of Christiania, the legendary hippie community in Denmark. We all had this idea of Christiania being a love pace and understanding kind of place. Lately, it has been under a bureaucratic siege where the powers that be are less than happy with the place. They argue that it’s less of a loving safe hippie community and more of a safe haven for criminals.
Our tour guide was an old hippie woman who moved there over 30 years ago, and true enough as we ventured the place every now and then an old face passed by nodding to us as a ghost of the past. Because from the outside looking in – the criticism looked true. Young guys in sportswear and hoodies loomed over small stands on Pusherstreet. No pictures, don’t talk to them – where was the love? The clientele spoke more of broken souls than free spirits. Alcoholics, homeless people, drug addicts, the bottom pile of society. Some 600 adults and 200 children live in Christiania proving that there is a schism between the alternate accepting community and the live fast die young generation. Times have changed, the 68-generation and ‘change the world’ mentality is a dying breed – literally. Modern liberal society places different normative demands on a good life, perhaps explaining the very clear presence of people that the original members have fought so hard to keep away. Our guide told us of the great purge in the late 70s where they threw out all the drug addicts and cleaned house from hard drugs. But seemingly, their battle was futile and she seemed clearly disturbed by the fact.
We ended up in a demonstration to legalize marijuana, a throng of white middleclass kids in their early 20s and higher teens roared out in unison to the reggae beats and pro green leaf artists. The notion for a better society, different economical structures, and more peace less hate was totally absent. This was a fight to keep Christiania for what it was to them – not a place to contribute too but a place for them to go too.
I am ambivalent to the legitimacy of their claim; did it not contradict the original purpose? But is it not the responsibility of the elders to inform the younger? Can they really be held responsible for the demise of progress? And with countries like Portugal, which has turned 90 degrees on its drug policies and legalized drugs and lowered their problematic drug use by 50%, aren’t these kids right?
Copenhagen itself is a buzzling city offering all kinds of cultural expressions. Beside the city centre, the city seems to be bombarded by graffiti and tags. And on more than one occasion I noticed artists contributing to the city walls out in plain daylight, a sight that is rare to see in Gothenburg where they are hunted torches and pitchforks. The day ended with a street festival with various artists ranging from indie pop, rock and rappers going wild in the streets throwing cut throat rhymes at the crowd to heart pounding deep beats. The city offers something for everyone and a must go place for everyone. As a last note now riding the ship of the line Swebus on endless highways back to Gothenburg I must recommend Sleep In Heaven Hotel, an amazing hostel with excellent service.
Over and out
Text: Daniel Brandt