Loan ensures Christiania survival

But despite the commune securing 55m kroner from mortgage lender, burgeoning lawlessness may derail the deal

And whatever you do, you're not wearing that hat! (photo: Christian Als)
June 15th, 2012 11:42 am| by admin
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The future of legendary Copenhagen commune Christiania seems to be safe after Fonden Fristaden Christiania, the organisation charged with managing the settlement, secured a 55 million kroner loan from mortgage Realkredit Danmark that it will use to pay the state to purchase the disused naval base.

Christiania has until July 1 to raise enough money to purchase the waterfront property its founders occupied in 1971, and things looked glum after considerable fundraising efforts had yielded just over 8 million kroner.

That loan, which be paid off with interest over 30 years, allows the fund to pay the first instalment of the total sum of 76 million kroner that is required to pay the state for self-ownership.

Knud Foldschack, the lawyer representing Christiania and a member of Fonden Fristaden Christiania's board, was thrilled that the commune was on the threshold of owning the 34 hectare property and the buildings that stand there.

“On July 1 we will be ready with a check for 55 million kroner to the state,” Foldschack told public broadcaster DR. “After 40 years of uncertainty in Christiania, and the failure by over 20 governments to agree to a deal, we have finally managed to sort it out.”

However, there are still issues present that could derail the efforts. A recent escalation of violence stemming from a thriving drug trade that nets gangsters roughly one billion kroner a year, has provoked MPs to threaten to pull out of the deal.

Peter Skaarup, justice spokesperson for the right-wing Dansk Folkeparti (DF), indicated that the party would only support the deal if enough order is restored to Chirstiania to allow police to patrol there. Opposition party Venstre (V) has also voiced their concerns over the violence and the flourishing drug trade.

“We can’t promise to vote for the document when the situation in Christiania is as lawless as it is,” Skaarup told TV2 News. “We must assure that the police have the necessary resources to stop the disorder and uphold the law against the gangster stronghold in Christiania.”

Recently the police announced they had given up on making raids in Christiania in the wake of the recent escalation of violence that included an attack on a journalist and several parking attendants.

It must have been a surreal moment to see the headline “Berlin er faldet” staring back at you – kind of begs the question “What’s lurking under your floorboards?” (photos: Christian Wenanade)
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