Copenhagen!

Posted on September 24, 2012 by Fraser Doherty

This month, I have been on a speaking tour of Denmark, giving 10 speeches about my 'adventures in jam' in towns and cities across the country.  It has been a lot of fun; the highlight being a chance to spend a few days in Copenhagen, which pretty quickly became one of my favourite cities in the world.

My Danish friends were laughing at me for taking pictures of all of the bikes - by far the no. 1 way that people get around.  They even have free bikes that anyone can use (you just put in 10kr, about £1, which you get back when you're done - like a shopping trolley at Lidl!).  And my favourite thing was the Christiania bikes, with little barrows on the front for kids, dogs and shopping to ride in...

There are lots of quirky areas of Copenhagen to explore; Norrebro is kinda multicultural and arty, the old town in the center is nice for a coffee and a stroll around and you definitely shouldn't miss a visit to Christiania.

Founded in 1971 when a bunch of hippies started squatting in an abandoned military barracks in the middle of the city, it has since been the focus of a lot of debate and conflict in Danish politics.  As a self-declared 'Free Town', the 850 or so residents have written their own laws; legalizing cannabis, banning cars and generally promoting an alternative view of the world.  

 

The Freetown Christiania mission:

The objective of Christiania is to create a self-governing society whereby each and every individual holds themselves responsible over the wellbeing of the entire community. Our society is to be economically self-sustaining and, as such, our aspiration is to be steadfast in our conviction that psychological and physical destitution can be averted.

The town is home to all kinds of organic, vegetarian and ethical businesses; a grocery store, carpenter, blacksmith, a brewery and a cinema.   There is a communal wash-house and a bar that only people from Greenland are allowed to enter (and a similar one for people from the Faroe Islands).

All in all, it's a pretty fascinating place.  The thing that I found very cool about the wider Danish society was that there were groups of small schoolchildren being shown around, even in the midst of people smoking pot.  

I hate to say that in Britian kids definitely aren't encouraged to be open to alternative cultures and ideas.  Even though there are communities quite like Christiania in Britain, they tend to just be ignored.

We had some lovely meals in Copenhagen (and lots of great pastries for breakfast!).  My favourite was Kalaset on Nansensgade - in fact, it was so tasty we ate there two nights in a row!

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