Christiania is one of the most famous areas of Copenhagen. It’s a free spirited district that the locals refer to as “Freetown Christiania”. It works as a commune, and approximately 800 people are currently living there. Christiania receives plenty of tourists, being the fourth most visited place in all of Copenhagen.
History of Christiania
Christiania is located right in the middle of Copenhagen. It used to be a military area, but was then abandoned. Hippies went in and lived there, and they created the Freetown Christiania in 1971.
The Freetown is controlled by the people living there. Their system is based on consensus democracy, and the highest authority in Christiania is “Fællesmødet”, a tradition where any citizen can show up and voice his or her opinion.
It is possible to move to Christiania, but it can be difficult. You have to apply to live there, and money is not a huge factor in getting in. The citizens will decide how many new people that are able to move in every year. Since many Danes and foreigners are interested, it is very difficult. However, anybody can come in and visit Christiania if they choose to.
For a long time, there has been conflicts between Christiania and the Danish government. A big reason is that Christiania has been a center for illegal drug trade – although mostly limited to just marihuana. This was tolerated for many years, although with occasional threats of removing the Freetown, but tensions started to arrise in the mid-2000s.
As of 2010, things began to calm down again. Christiania briefly closed down for visitors in 2011, but now it is open again. The Freetown profits from tourism, providing tours, dining options, merchandise sales and more. It is the fourth most visited attraction in Copenhagen with approximately a half million visitors per year.
Christiania became more internationally famous in recent years, due to higher tourism in Copenhagen, and thereby word-of-mouth between travelers. Also, famous musician Lukas Graham is from Christiania and this has also created attention.
As of 2013, the same rules and laws apply to Christiania as the rest of Denmark.
How to get there
While there are some issues between Christiania and the Danish government, and while we don’t intend to take any sides in this, we highly recommend going to Christiania. Maybe you will love it, or maybe you will hate it. But it’s an area unlike any other, and it’s very interesting to talk to the locals there. The nature in the Freetown Christiania is also wonderful, like an oasis in the city of Copenhagen.
So going there definitely makes sense, and we recommend it – but how do you get there?
Since it’s quite central in Copenhagen, you can probably walk there, depending on where you are staying.
Christiania is located in the Christianshavn area of Copenhagen. It is one of the city’s wealthiest areas, if we look away from Christiania.
You can get to Christianshavn – and therefore also Christiania – with metro lines 1 and 2. You can also take a bus to get there, or rent a bike and ride there yourself. There are many options.
Read more about public transport in Copenhagen here.
What to do in Christiania
It is completely free to get into Christiania. You can go in and walk around. Please notice that taking photos is not allowed. A lot of people do that, but the locals don’t like it, and you will also notice signs saying you shouldn’t take photos. For the same reason, we are not showing pictures from inside Christiania here in this article, out of respect for their rules.
A walk around Christiania can take hours, and you will undoubtably find interesting things to do on the way.
You can pay and get a tour by one of the locals. You can also get into the main house in Christiania and get a lesson in the culture of the Freetown.
Aside from that, enjoy the nature, go for a picnic, get a beer, sit down at one of the restaurant, and walk around for a few hours and enjoy the sights. Socialise a bit if you can – with other visitors and with locals. You can probably get away with buying cannabis if you try, something that many visitors do – it’s a huge attraction in Christiania, since it is a very free spirited area.
Safety in Christiania
Christiania has issued with organized crime and illegal marihuana trade. However, aside from that, it’s a safe place if you behave properly. Respect the locals and don’t do anything illegal, or anything that is considered against the social rules. If you do that, you’ll be just fine.
Staying near Christiania
Check our guide on where to stay in Copenhagen. Here you will find several hotel recommendations, some of which are quite near Christiania. It can be expensive to find a hotel in Copenhagen, so it’s best to make sure that you find a place that is actually worth the money.