Bevar Christiania

In ’67 it was abandoned as a military base
In 1971 it was squatted
Folks needed some land to implement their plans
And make the new society they had plotted
Some moved into barracks, some built little shacks
Of all sorts of dubious design
Some built cafes and workshops, built windmills, planted crops
Painted things the color of sunshine

Folks came for the ride, from up and down, far and wide
To find out just what was going down
From Jutland and from Greenland, India and Holland
Everybody came to Kobenhavn
An opera, a jazz club, a sauna and a hot tub
A Pusher Street where you could get your hash
The best falafel in town, beer to wash it down
Lots of space to eat and drink and smoke your stash

Bevar Christiania
May Christiania always be
Bevar Christiania
May the Free State remain free

It became the center of tourism in Denmark
Christiania was the very place to go
Folks came to see the house, to wander by the water
And to watch the hippies grow
The state left it alone or at least that’s how it was
Before the Left Party was elected by the Right
They said Christiania should be “normalized,” broken up and capitalized
They said this massive hippie commune is a blight

Chorus

The cops developed a new beat right there on Pusher Street
Then came one day to bulldoze someone’s shack
Several dozen women and men built the house again
And by the morning the place was back
Now it’s been some time and to stop communal crime
The government is at it now some more
All that they can say is these hippies have to pay
And they say they’re gonna raze it to the floor

Chorus

The powers that be just can’t stand to see
This example of a world without cops
Overwhelmed by what they saw, life with the Common Law
It’s too much for them, they want to see it stop
They cut Ungdomshuset short, but the Free State’s got support
From young and old, here and everywhere
The rulers may not know, but they’ll reap the seeds they sow
And soon they’ll have a million communards shouting in the air

Chorus

“Bevar Christiania” hasn’t been recorded in a studio. It’s only been recorded as an iPhone Broadside, in 2011.

As you enter the Christiania Free State, there is a sign that indicates that on one side you’re in the Free State, and on the other, you’re in the European Union. There have been many impressive alternative movements in Denmark, and Christiania is most definitely the most well-known of them. And for good reason. It’s a huge place, squatted since 1970, taking up a very significant chunk of the center of a major city, Copenhagen. It’s serious real estate. And the hippies have held onto it til now. There are darker aspects to the place, including ugly and sometimes violent competition over the cannabis trade, much to the chagrin of most Free State dwellers. That’s a topic for a different song. This one is more along the lines of celebrating the resistance that the continuing existence of the Free State represents.

I think it’s more than a little significant that Christiania is in a space that used to be a military barracks. For a long time, it was the launching point for Danish invasions of Sweden. Sweden and Denmark were in a bloody state of war with each other for about 400 years. And now it’s a hippie commune. Much better!

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