For more than forty years the Danish free city of Christiania has been a refuge for artists, iconoclasts, anarchists, hippies and the generally unconventional. In 1971 a bunch of free spirits playfully occupied an abandoned military barracks in the oldest section of Copenhagen. They liked, one assumes, the irony of turning an army barracks to their decidedly non-militaristic ends. I am sure that the cool 17th century ramparts were appealing as well.
Then the surprise came: No one threw them out. The rather enlightened government on Denmark in the 70s took a look at the general public opinion, which was mostly with the squatters and...shrugged their collective shoulders. There have been occasional problems with biker gangs trying to take over because of the open trade in cannabis and its derivatives, but for the most part the city has thrived. There are over a thousand residents in the mostly autonomous free city within a city. A number of small businesses have sprung up and thrived. Here is a partial list:
- Byens Lys
- Christiania Bikes
- Christiania Radio
- Christiania TV
The Green Hall
Christiania's DIY shop. A large wooden building where one can purchase all the supplies needed to build a small house.
At least one small business has been operating since 1973. There are many more.
Now alas, things have changed. There is a more conservative government in Denmark and they are eyeing hungrily this large parcel of prime real estate. The people of Christiania have been told if they wish to stay they must pay 76,000,000 kroner (about $13,600,000). Thus far they have raised about a tenth of that sum.
They have decided to sell shares. So, if you are looking for something a little different to invest in, think of it as a great low cost time share! Or maybe a little insurance just in case things get really bad at home some day?
Be seeing you.
Oh yes, they have a flag too!
Sources: rawstory, wikipedia, urbanghostsmedia.
For a list of micro-nations see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_micronations