Flag of the Freetown of Christiania

Update on the Freetown of Christiania

written by Penny, photos by Wayne and Jack

The Freetown of Christiania is one of Copenhagen’s most visited sites. But it isn’t your typical tourist stop since it is actually a community where around 850 to 1000 residents live, including families with children. Christiania is on an island called Christianshavn connected to the city center of Copenhagen. A man-made island built as a military blockade and functioned as bastions against Denmark’s enemy across the Baltic Sea, Sweden. 

The intentional community and commune of Christiania is founded on the abandoned military barracks that were located on this island, when it was no longer the primary naval post. 

Established in the 1970s as a protest to the rising cost of living in Copenhagen, the founders of The Freetown of Christiania taking influence from the counter-culture, envisioned a peaceful commune with limited government influence, no cars, no police, no violence, and where like minded inhabitants could flourish. Because of the “no police” rule and limited government oversight, Christiania was also the perfect location for a marketplace where drug deals developed. Since the 1980s the drugs sold in the Freetown of Christiania has been an open marketplace for cannabis products only, no hard drugs. Also, hash and cannabis can only be sold on the infamous Pusher Street and nowhere else within, the boundaries of the community.

The relationship between the members of Christiania, the Danish government, as well as drug dealers have been tumultuous at times but has long been tolerated by the members of the community as a way to keep the peace and safety throughout the capital city. As long as the drug dealers would comply with the rules of peace and no violence, they were allowed to continue their commerce on Pusher Street, or Green Light District by another name. 

Unfortunately, the tensions between competing local gangs kept rising and the violence growing between participating drug dealers. In 2023, a drug dealer shot at 2 police officers and fatally injured a bystander. At this point, the members of Christiania could not allow the violence to continue or further escalate. 

6th April 2024, a historic day for the community, Pusher Street which has been part of the allure of the Freetown of Christiania, was the official shutting down. Digging up the physical cobble stones of Pusher Street was symbolic as well as definitive act of shutting down the illegal trade within the perimeter of the Freetown of Christiania. You could even take home a stone from Pusher Street as a souvenir. The community-lead event celebrated the history, but looks forward to a safe and drug free Christiniana while still being an alternative side of Copenhagen, just without the illegal drug trade. 

We invite you on our Tour of Christianshavn. We will share with you the beauty of the island, its history, its alternative vibe from the city center as well as insights to the famous Freetown of Christiania. Our guides will leave you at the entrance to the Freetown of Christiania after sharing its history, stories, culture and some of our favorite recommendations within the community.

We encourage our guests to support the community by booking a tour within the Freetown of Christiania with it’s local members, since our tour is primarily outside on the island of Christianshavn. 

You can book a tour of the Freetown of Christiania directly on their website: 

You can join our daily Christianshavn Tour by reserving your spot on our website.



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