Englishman in Nyhavn: Day trip to Christiania

On the day of the visit, Christiania became Narnia (photo: Kieran Lynam)
August 22nd, 2020 4:49 am| by Jack Gardner
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In my relentless, ruthless pursuit to become a true Copenhagenite, I visit many places in the city. This involves museums, opera houses, nature reserves, places of worship and charitable organisations (which, for the sake of my argument, let’s say I am a patron of).

Furthermore, as is clearly evidenced by you reading this sentence, I am A Legitimate Journalist. It is crucial for journalists to go to places they might not usually go to, such as warzones, for the ultimate benefit of you, The Reader. 

To conclude. For your benefit, I – a culturally obsessive Legitimate Journalist – recently visited Christiania. 

On the way to the lake
Christiania is a small commune in Copenhagen that started out in the 1970s as an organised squat. It has less than 1,000 residents, living in about 70 sqm. It declares itself free from Danish laws, and from the jurisdiction of the EU, which I and every other British person greatly appreciates.

It has bars, restaurants and a lake. I would like to make it clear that I was solely interested in visiting the bars, restaurants and a lake.

When I walked into the commune it was in the general direction of the bars, restaurants and a lake. It was then that I came across a street named ‘Pusher Street’. Some gentlemen were selling their wares out in the open. One particularly rambunctious fellow invited me over to his stall. Whilst this gentleman did not (admittedly) appear to be either a bar, restaurant or a lake, I did not want to be rude and thus joined him. 

 Jazz cigs ain’t my thing
“What are you looking for?” he asked. “I am looking for insight into human nature, so I can put it in my column for The Copenhagen Post,” I replied confidently.

“I’ve got just the thing.” 

The spritely boy pointed to some green moss on his stall. I gazed at it. What possible power could this have? I looked around. It appeared that every single one of the merchants on the street were selling this moss. 

And then it hit me. This wasn’t moss. This was a weed moss. I rounded on my salesman. 

“How dare you. How dare you call me over, hoping that I may suck on the devil’s lettuce? What about me, exactly, looked like a no-good spliff addict? What was it about my aura that suggested I like to spend my spare time puffing jazz cigarettes with Beelzebub? I am an Englishman. And I will not idly stand here while you try to sell me a one-way ticket for the Hash Train to the Fiery Lakes of Hell.”

On my way out
By this point, I was hyperventilating due to my minor problem with uncontrollable anger. Don’t worry – I usually calm down after about 10 seconds (although in this instance I wasn’t helped by the fact that I was surrounded by the smoke of a dozen addicts toking on their fat marijuana doobies). But after some deep breaths, I turned on my heel and walked straight out of Christiania. 

Admittedly, just before I got to the gates, I noticed a pad thai restaurant called Cafeloppen within the commune’s walls. I was feeling quite hungry despite eating half an hour ago, so I popped in and I have to say that it was the best food I’ve ever eaten.

I also met the funniest dog at the table next to me. Its eyes were blue and expressive.

I left and went to the lake. It was a good lake; a man was playing guitar so well. I spoke to him and we were going to start a band, but then another guy came along and his vibe was bad so I left without saying anything. Then I went and looked at the best tree I have ever seen.

No-one is born evil, and we are all space dust.

Jack Gardner


Jack escaped Brexit Britain in October 2019 to forge a new life in Copenhagen. In this column, he outlines the challenges expats face when integrating into Danish life. Jack (jacksgard@gmail.com) co-hosts the comedy podcast ‘Butterflies on the Wheel’, which is available on all major podcasting platforms