March 27, 2012 by imissyu
While I was mesmerized by the seeming perfection of Copenhagen, I soon learned that there is always a silver lining. In this case, it’s called Christiania. Christiania is a self-proclaimed autonomous neighbourhood of about 850 residents. In this district, there is no internal monetary system and residents do not pay taxes to the government. Residents perform good deeds for each other in exchange for goods and services. When I visited Christiania, there were three rules 1) you cannot run because this means the police is here 2) you cannot take pictures (photos below are the entrance area surrounding Christiania) and 3) have fun! There was a small open-air marketplace selling weed and weed brownies; dogs were running around the area. The district is a little run-down, but it fits the sense of “laissez-faire” in the atmosphere. What’s most interesting about this district is that it is positioned on prime waterfront property, and the Danish government has accommodated their request to occupy this area (although this is an area of debate amongst the community).
Lessons I learned from Christiania:
- Don’t judge a book by its cover
- Not everyone has to live by society’s defined sense of “success” and “happiness” – people in Christiania decided to pursue their own definitions of happiness
- Two extreme point of views can peacefully co-exist
Have you ever been surprised by what you learned about a culture? Why were you surprised?