Copenhagen is neat, tidy and organised, and I love it. But there’s another part of the city which is its polar opposite…
There’s a huge industrial heritage in Copenhagen which makes for some unique and stark surroundings. Some people would probably say that a lot of Copenhagen looks quite bleak. Looking out over the harbour towards the power stations and factories pouring out smoke, set against a background of choppy water and greeny-brown scrubland, you could feel like you were seeing a completely different city.
For some reason, I really loved it. I think it’s mainly to do with the culture and people in Copenhagen. They have a real skill for turning these stark environments into vibrant communities filled with trendy bars, restaurants, shops, art centres and cafes, all of which are teeming with trendy Danes all day long. The Meatpacking District is probably the best example of this, and eventually I’d like to write another post dedicated to it, because it’s so cool. You can find some of the best restaurants in Copenhagen – possibly even Scandinavia – here, in a complex of white factory buildings that they share with butchers and (you guessed it) meatpacking companies.
But if you head East, across the harbour and towards the factories and power stations, you’ll find Freetown Christiana, one of the most colourful places I’ve ever seen.
It’s also one of the most bizarre places I’ve ever seen. It’s an anarchist, autonomous neighbourhood as well as an illegal green light zone.
I’m not sure whether I’m selling it…
In truth, it’s not somewhere I would normally go out of my way to visit by any means, but it was the art and architecture which really intrigued me. There’s colourful graffiti, some of it really skilled, and brightly painted houses and sculptures dotted around the area.
There’s a lot of controversy around Christiana, and it doesn’t have the best history to say the least, most of which is related to the illegal cannabis trade. It’s a shame, because the neighbourhood itself is really unique, and on a sunny day there’s a real buzz around the area.
A real oddity when seen with the rest of Copenhagen, but worth a trip if you feel like venturing off the tourist track for a slice of hippy, anarchist action!