Free State of Christiania
The Flag used by the Free State of Christiania
Christiania, also known as the Freetown Christiania, is a partially self-governing neighborhood in the city of Copenhagen, Denmark, which has established semi-legal status as an independent community.
Christiania was founded in 1971, when a group of hippie squatters took over an area of abandoned military barracks. One of the more influential persons was Jacob Ludvigsen, who published an anarchist newspaper, which widely announced the proclamation of the free state. For years the legal status of the region was in limbo, as the Danish government attempted, without success, to remove the squatters.
The neighborhood is accessible only through two main entrances, and cars are not allowed.
Famous for its main drag, known as Pusher Street, where hash was sold openly from permanent stands until 2004, it nevertheless does have rules forbidding hard drugs. The region negotiated an arrangement with the Danish defense ministry (which still owns the land) in 1995, and the residents now pay taxes. The future of the area remains in doubt, though, as Danish authorities continue to push for its removal.
The inhabitants fight back with humor or persistence - for instance, when authorities in 2002 demanded that the hash trade be made less visible, the stands were covered in military camouflage nets. On January 4, 2004, the stands were finally demolished by the owners themselves (without stopping the hash trade as such, which continued on a person-to-person basis) as a way of persuading the government to allow the Free State to continue to exist.