Prospects of the City: Celebrating a space where community can flourish – The Post

Prospects of the City: Celebrating a space where community can flourish

The founder of Copenhagen would be proud of the principles of this new establishment (Photo by Ib Rasmussen)
September 5th, 2015 7:01 am| by Per Smidl
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In which the prospector rejoices that even in this day and age of climatic change and beheadings there is still something to be thankful for in Copenhagen – and to celebrate.

Applause when it is due
If there are all sorts of good reasons to castigate and lament the falsehood of this ailing Danish democracy, there is also all the more reason to highlight any life-enhancing endeavours undertaken by the individual men and women who together compose the body of our civil society.

Realising that I would be an ungrateful scoundrel if instead of celebrating such initiatives that are born of the desire to serve and corroborate what is left of community spirit in Copenhagen, I once again chose to expose the power-sick greed, selfishness and smug conceit of the Danish elite, I am herewith calling attention to the community centre just opened (Monday August 17) by Lennard Lajboschitz in what was formerly a church at Sønder Boulevard 73 in Vesterbro.

A rare breed
It just goes to show that the need to believe and worship and adore is constant and constantly finding new outlets; furthermore it goes to show that there is nothing wrong with making lots of money as long as it is the right people doing it.

Lajboschitz who made his bundle through the Tiger chain of shops is one such person. In order to avoid the lethal automatism of going on making more money he did not need, he bailed from the money-making business to turn (some of) the money he made into a community-serving agent.

Abandoning the precautious obscurity of the ordinary money-making-man and putting himself on the line as an entrepreneur of the spirit, Lajboschitz has removed the pews from the Church of Absalon in order to create in their place a more stimulating and high-ceilinged space open to people such as they are.

No ordinary place
Sitting across from me at the table where we met last week, Lajboschitz explained his intentions. It is his objective to establish a place where there is room for the spirit; a place where strangers can get to know one another over a meal or a game of table-tennis or chess; a place where people by sharing, doing things together and enjoying themselves in the process are inspired to express their thoughts, and for these thoughts to become flesh and blood action; and a place for expression in the form of lectures, concerts, theatre performances and readings.

In short, it is a space where the sense of community can flourish to the advantage of all Copenhageners.

Pinch yourself!
Ahead of its opening, I had for some time been passing by Absalon on my early-morning stroll as it was going through its transformation. And then, on the day of our meeting, as I took the whole scene in, I pinched myself on the thigh to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. But no! Not only is this not a dream, it is … happening.

Imagine open community doors all week long from early morning until late night; imagine a real opening to all of us as long as what we bring with us is our humanity, our faith, and the things we love in their manifold manifestations. Imagine that you don’t have to imagine any more. If death and destruction is everywhere around us, so is life and creation.

See you soon at Absalon at Sønder Boulevard 73.

 

Prospects of the City


Per_Smidl_web

As the author of the 1995 essay ’Victim of Welfare. An Essay on State and Individual in Denmark’ and 2011 novel ’Wagon 537 Christiania’, Per Smidl is no stranger to controversy. After 12 years of self-imposed exile in Prague, he is back in his native Copenhagen, a city he will always have a unique perspective on.