Lockdown has been a strange one. As much as I love crossing the road to avoid old people (and be hailed as a hero instead of a rude person), I have been feeling nostalgic for The Before Times.
While I sit in my flat, leaving once a day for my government mandated exercise slot, sometimes twice if I need to walk to the local shop for ‘essentials’ (long papers are essentials, right?), I have been thinking a lot about freedom.
Don’t get me wrong, I know I am playing my part in an unprecedented global health crisis, but I am very sorely missing the freedoms I once had. I often go on flights of fancy as I drag on my morning spliff, dreaming of all those cool things I used to do.
The world seems to be changing astonishingly fast, and it makes you think all those big thoughts. I often look at a large postcard taped to the back of my bedroom door – a cartoon infused with rainbow colours, a souvenir from my short trip to one of the freest places on the planet.
From Christiana With Love
The weed selection was delightful, and we had fun surveying the strains and pre-rolls on ‘Pusher Street’.
A short history lesson!
Freetown Christiania is a big chunk of land slap bang in the middle of Copenhagen, the capital and financial centre of Denmark. The Freetown was founded in 1971 by a group of anarchists who were squatting in the former military camp.
Christiana’s status has been shaky throughout its history. It was established as its own society by those who preferred an alternative way of living. It became the chosen home of socialists, anarchists, eco-hippies and lovers of weed. It has had a few classifications. A commune, a community, an experiment, a utopia.
The town holds a small number of official residents (between 800-1,000), but welcomes a large tourist contingent in the day to visit its many cafes and peruse the notorious ‘green light district’. This small area is populated by stalls selling bud, prerolls, edibles and accessories. One weekend, I was lucky enough to be one of those tourists.
I am best friends with a Certified Genius called Ronnie who lived in Copenhagen for a little while, just being a genius. I got the first plane I could to visit, entranced by tales of a magical marketplace lined with green lights… (and, for some reason, my friend really wanted me to try this beer made of weasel shit).
After a walk around the city, Ronnie and I decided to spend an afternoon being free in the Freetown. Signs around the town gave three simple rules to help ease tension around the drug trade in the Freetown: don’t take photos, no violence, and don’t run. The entire community is also very against hard drugs. Easy enough. These three simple rules kept a peaceful and friendly atmosphere.
My visit was in 2014, early days in the spike of smartphones and before the dominance of Instagram, but I can imagine the no photos rule may be very hard to regulate now. And my god, I can physically feel the pain of the insta influencer wanting to take pics of the street art which covers every building. If you visit, my advice is don’t be a dick and put the phone away, which is a form of freedom in itself.
We joined Ronnie’s friends, and a group of four of us went to a bistro for late lunch, feasting on falafel, houmous and sandwiches stuffed with locally grown seasonal vegetables. This heavenly hippie food is made by members of the community, who grow or locally source most of their ingredients. Right on. It tasted great.
The weed selection was delightful, and we had fun surveying the strains and pre-rolls on ‘Pusher Street’. We grabbed an 8th of a nice sativa and a pre-rolled joint for later, and made our way to the lakeside. Freetown Christiania is divided into two parts – the ‘city’, lined with cobbled streets (no cars allowed), and the Amager side, a calm forested waterfront area, where photos are allowed.
Incredibly, it is easy to lose yourself and find a secluded smoking spot in Christiana – finding total peace in the centre of a capital city. We sat on the edge of the lake, lit up a joint and watched the low late winter sunlight as the sun dipped beneath the small hills hiding Christiana from the rest of the city. Just beyond that mound of dirt were offices for some of the world’s leading financial institutions. Then here we were, sampling a self-sustaining community. I know which one made me feel freer.
Freetown Christiania – A Note
I am aware that I have romanticized an area which has actually faced some troubles and controversies in its history. Freetown Christiania has also become a victim of gentrification, which of course is worsened by tourism. The weed trade has also become a controversial subject among residents in recent years.
Visit Christiana’s website if you want to read more about the community – they have gathered plenty of local information.
Christiania was also featured on an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown. His website hosts a fantastic Love Letter To Christiania from a sometime-resident.
Wanna capture the spirit of Freetown Christiania? Try these mind-bending strains:
A lemony flavour with an uplifting high with few drowsy effects, perfect for daytime smoking.
This hybrid is 60% sativa, 40% indica, achieving a cerebral mind high and relaxed body high. This is a great bud for smoking with friends, if you fancy a few laughs.
This classic pre-roll is a touch of euphoria, giving the smoker a rush of energy and clear-headedness which is perfect for an afternoon on the waterside.