The Danish government has won an important court case that could see a renowned hippie commune in Copenhagen to close after 38 years. The Christiania collective had challenged a law, passed in 2004, that is intended to re-claim the disused military base where 900 people live virtually rent-free.
But the High Court came down in favour of the government, and now they have the right to serve 18 months notice on the squatters. After the judgement, Christiania spokesperson Mette Pagode said: “I’m very disappointed and frustrated. Now we’ll go home, read the judgement, and have a communal meeting.” The lawyer representing the commune, Knud Foldschack said: “We’re talking about 900 people whose homes are at stake. Of course they should try it in the Supreme Court, and I hope the time will be spent to find a solution where Christiania can survive on reasonable terms.” The commune and the authorities have been at loggerheads ever since the squatters took up residence in 1971. Previous governments gave Christiania exemptions from many Danish laws, and opponents were shocked at the relaxed attitude to drugs in the self-styled freetown. Those exemptions were reversed in the legislation at the centre of this failed court challenge. Lawyers for the commune, though, say the judge’s ruling contains important elements in favour of the residents.