Thursday, 22 September 2011
For 40 years Christiania has been a fixture of Copenhagen cultural life, and on September 26 it will be having a massive birthday celebration. Cake, music, and a spirit of revelry will take place under a warm, enveloping cloud of marijuana smoke. Alternative culture and bohemian pathos will be celebrated by the approximately 1,000 Christiania locals and anyone else looking for a good party. Forty years old, but hardly middle-aged, Christiania will showcase the independent spirit that has made it a hallmark of Copenhagen life.
Back in 1971, in the pursuit of some green space for their children to play, Danish hippies knocked down the fence on the corner of Prinsessegade and Refshalevej and went into the disused navy base that would become known as Christiana. Under the leadership and ideals of journalist and activist Jacob Ludvigsen, the residents of Christiania formed a mission statement citing unaffordable housing as the reason that Christiana was needed. That moment began an immigration of all types of 'new age thinker' and a new society blossomed in the 'freed land'.
Christiania began the open sale of marijuana - fuelling both an alternative culture and an increase in the quality of the drug. In a display of Denmark's tolerance this sale was allowed largely unhindered until 2004 before sanctions were brought in to moderate it.
And Christiana's liberal conceptualisation of property ownership, and by extension property tax, also led to tension with the authorities, and for a long time it looked like the city council might actually sell the land to developers. However, in the end it agreed to sell Christiana to its members, who are now in the process of purchasing their land and gaining legal legitimacy. In honour of this development, the 40th birthday is sure to be that much more special and a celebration of both Christiania's past and its future.
The celebrations on Monday will kick off with a free breakfast. There will also be cake, a film in the afternoon, and of course loads and loads of free music. Among the main performers over the day are:
Car Park North
As one of Denmark's leading rock bands, their electronic rock, catchy choruses and assertive songwriting will ensure a great show.
The Floor is Made of Lava
Bringing a modern approach to rock, their riffs are simple and take you back to the 1970s and the era in which Christiania was born.
Called by many the godfather of Danish rap, Clemens is an outspoken, multi-faceted artist. His music has sampled and taken from old school rap, rock, and dub step.
Referencing the likes of Lady Sovereign and classic electronic legends Kraftwork, the queen of the Danish grime scene's stage show is dynamic and her costumes lavish.
Any of these four acts are enough on their own to fill up any venue in Denmark, so this promises to be a wild birthday celebration. Come down, have fun, and join the free city as it blows out, in cannabis-scented breath, 40 candles.
Christiania's 40th Birthday
Corner of Prinsessegade and Refshalevej, Christianshavn; Mon 10:00-late; free adm;
check www.christiania.org for details of events on Sat & Sun