Christiania, Copenhagen’s hippie oasis, wants to rebuild without its illegal hashish market

Christiania, Copenhagen’s hippie oasis, wants to rebuild without its illegal hashish market

SOURCE: Associated Press – no restrictions
Copenhagen – 06 April 2024
Length: 6.15
Producer: Anders Kongshaug, vnr.TV


  1. Wide of stand with hash merchandise. Sweatshirt in front “Christiania”

  2. Wide of sigh “No Photo”, Pusher street in background.

  3. Various of parade by Christiania Brass Band

  4. Wide of man in a Christiania football shirt digging up the first cobblestone. Big crowd.
    Two children living in Christiania, Emilia and Sally2 children taking up the first cobblestone from Pusher Street.
    Danish Justice Minister Peter Hummelgaard watching

  5. SOUNDBITE Danish Justice Minister Peter Hummelgaard
    “The big, big difference this time is that we are doing this in a coordinated plan with the citizens of Christiania themselves. There is not only a plan for, you know, lifting up the concrete of the street and, and having police patrol it. But there are plans to how do we reinvent and rejuvenate this area of Copenhagen, how do we take it back to the citizens of Christiania. And that is the first time for 50 years that the authorities, the government, the municipality of Copenhagen have worked together with the citizens of Christiania towards that end goal”
    “And second of all, we’re also working together towards an end goal. Then that is to safeguard the Christania who will continue to be a vibrant and colorful, creative part of Denmark and part of Copenhagen. And that and the and the precondition for that is that it needs to be a place without organized criminal gangs.”

  6. Mid of flowers from a killing in front of a stand with hash merchandise.

  7. Wide of a chain of people moving cobblestone from from pusher street to big pile.

  8. SOUNDBITE Christiania spokesperson Risenga Manghezi
    “It is a really important thing for Christiania to do this. And cannabis is  an important part of Christianias history, but there is so much more to Christania and one of our most important things is to say no to violence, so as long as this market is unregulated and therefore violent it is a strong thing and very much in line with our ethos to say no to this violence.

  9. Mid of hovel taking up a cobblestone by man in Christiania football shirt, lifting up the cobblestone victoriously.

  10. SOUNDBITE Lawyer for Christiania, Knud Foldschack.
    “I don’t think you have an area like Christiana, that’s a very big area in a main city. Well, it´s value was that it had to be place for everybody. The buildings, the flats had to have a normal price, a realistic price so everybody can live here. The cultural value is a very important thing, the value for the business is a very important thing. I don’t think you have a place in the whole world like Christiana and those values, they have won the fight and that’s the result. We have won the fight against the economic criminals. We have won the fight against violence. Now we can start taking the fight for legalization of hashish. And so. But now we have won against the violence.”

  11. Close of two joints smoking.

  12. SOUNDBITE a pusher – anonymously. His arm and joint paper seen:
    “I don’t think this thing is going to close so fast as the newspapers and the Christania want it to? 

  13. SOUNDBITE Police, Deputy Chief Superintendent Simon Hansen cont.:
    “We expect some to try to sell. Maybe not only the pushers, maybe also people from other places, persons from other places. But we expect that some will try to sell from now on and forward. But our police efforts are going to try to prevent them.”

  14. SOUNDBITE PUSHER – anonymously. His arm and joint paper seen:
    “It’s gonna evolve to the rest of Copenhagen. 100%. 100% is going to do that.”
    “It’s going to be like then the rest of world, street sales. No customer service like here before. Nothing like it was here before.”

  15. SOUNDBITE Police, Deputy Chief Superintendent Simon Hansen cont.:
    “Well, I think people, maybe buy their drugs in other places. They use other drugs, maybe that they buy locally where they live. And, the  situation where pusherstreet is the only place in the Copenhagen area, where you can buy cannabis. That’s not the scenery anymore. “

  16. SOUNDBITE PUSHER – anonymously. His arm and joint paper seen:
    “Already here in Denmark, we have a lot of growing here where we sell to Holland and, yeah, Deutschland and other countries, Germany, all the stuff.”  

  17. Mid of bags of seeds. A bag with sign “Christiania”

  18. Wide of parade by Christiania Brass Band

  19. VOX-POP visitor Frederik Birket-Smith. Festivalorganisor, 47.
    “Well, I’m sure it will never disappear. So for me, it should be legalized. 

  20. Hippie from Christiania spread smoke to remove negative energy.
    VOX-POP Christanian Karen Grue. Psychotherapist. 77:
    “The negative energy is all these people who want to just make the money, and they do a lot of criminal things and, you know, not being part of Christiania, just using this place for their own profit. And I mean, there’s a lot of negative energy and a negative spirit, so that’s why I move them out. “

  21. Close of joint paper focus shift to painting of Pusher Street

  22. Wide of graffiti painting of a victim and a pan to Pusher Street with many people walking in spring.

  23. Pan from sign with “Christiania”  and small serving tray with hash drawn to wood-house for painters. Stand with ice-cream.

  24. Total entrance with the sign “Christiania”.


COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — The now-aging hippies who took over a derelict naval base in Copenhagen more than 50 years ago and turned it into a freewheeling community known as Christiania want to boot out criminals who control the community’s lucrative market for hashish by ripping up the cobblestoned street where it openly changes hands.

Over the years, there have been many attempts to halt the illegal hashish sales which have often ended in violent clashes between criminal gangs and police, with trading then quickly resuming. On Saturday, residents started digging up Pusher Street, after which they can receive government money earmarked for the area’s renovation.

Just after 10 a.m., two children living in Christiania, Emilia and Sally, lifted the first cobblestone from the infamous street in a symbolic move. A large crowd gathered at the scene erupted in applause as the heavy stone was showed around.

Danish Justice Minister Peter Hummelgaard, who was present at the ceremony, said he believes that the excavation of Pusher Street and the individual cobblestones has high symbolic value.

“For more than 40 years, Christiania and the illegal sale of drugs out here has been a huge thorn in the side of the established society,” Hummelgaard told Danish broadcaster TV2. “But now we have reached the point where the Christianians have also had enough of the (criminal) gangs.”

The plan is to create “a new Christiania without the criminal hashish market,” said Mette Prag, coordinator of a new public housing project in the enclave. Prag, who has lived in Christiania for 37 years, likened it to “a village.”

“We don’t want the gangsters anymore,” said Hulda Mader, who has lived in Christiania for 40 years. Once the illegal trade is gone, “there might be some people selling hashish afterward, but it’s not going to be in the open.”

After the cobblestones are removed, new water pipes and a new pavement will be laid on Pusher Street and nearby buildings will be renovated. That is the first step in an overall plan to turn the hippie oasis into an integrated part of the Danish capital area, although “the free state” spirit of creativity and community life is to be maintained.

For years, Danish authorities have been breathing down the necks of the downtown community.

In 1971, squatters took over the abandoned military facility and set up a neighborhood dedicated to the flower-power ideals popular at the time of free cannabis, limited government influence, no cars and no police. Since then, successive Danish governments have wanted to close Christiania because of the open sale of hashish, among other things, often leading to tense relations.

To begin with, the residents, called Christianites, disregarded laws by building houses without permits and often ignoring utility bills. Outsiders could only move into the community if they were related to someone already living there.

The residents eventually were given the right to use the land, but not to own it. After more than four decades of locking horns with authorities, they were given control over their homes in 2011, when the state sold the 84-acre (24-hectare) enclave for 125.4 million kroner ($18.2 million) to a foundation owned by its inhabitants. Currently, nearly 800 adults and about 200 children live there, according to Prag, with up to 25% of the residents above the age of 60.

The following year, it was decided to erect public housing for up to 300 people. Construction is expected to start in 2027.

Prag said they want “younger people, more families” to move in who are willing to participate in community activities to keep the spirit of Christiania alive, complete with buildings painted in psychedelic colors and stray dogs.

Over the years, Christiania has become one of Copenhagen’s biggest tourist attractions, a magnet for Danes as well as foreigners. Some come to be offended by the open sale of hashish — authorities for years tolerated the hashish trade on Pusher Street — and others to buy weed. Christiania banned hard drugs in 1980.

In 2004, police began cracking down on drug-related activities — worth millions according to police — controlled by the Hells Angels and the outlawed Loyal to Family. Even when police arrested dealers and fined customers, the illegal sales resumed soon afterward.

In August of last year, drug-related tensions escalated when when a turf war apparently led to a shooting in which one man died and several people were wounded.

Residents also have tried to stop the sales on Pusher Street themselves by tearing down the dealers’ booths, but they mushroomed back. Residents blocked access to the street with huge shipping containers, but masked men removed them.

Fed up with criminals, residents decided in August that something had to be done, knowing that the government had said that getting rid of the organized hashish sales was “an important prerequisite” before Christiania could get 14.3 million kroner ($2.1 million) earmarked for the renovation work.

Now, Christiania hopes that, by inviting ordinary people to come and help dig up Pusher Street, the sales will stop once and for all, and the community can remain an alternative yet legal part of Copenhagen without criminals.

“You can come and have a cobblestone” as a souvenir, Mader said with a smile.