Pubdate: Mon, 15 Mar 2004
Source: Kitchener-Waterloo Record (CN ON)
Copyright: 2004 Kitchener-Waterloo Record


The hippie enclave Christiania will remain Copenhagen's alternative
lifestyle community as long as residents obey the law, pay rent and
stop selling drugs, the government said.

In a report on Christiania's future, the government said Friday
enclave residents must adapt their houses to building codes or tear
them down.

The 34-hectare former naval barracks that is home to about 1,000
people "should still be an area where there is room to live in a
different way," said Finance Minister Thor Pedersen.

"But it must be normalized, it must respect the laws that apply in the
rest of the Danish society."

The enclave took root in 1971 when dozens of hippies moved into the
derelict 18th-century fort on state-owned land. The freewheeling
society became a counterculture oasis with psychedelic-coloured
buildings, free marijuana, no government, no cars and no police.

In 1987, Christiania was recognized as a "social experiment" and
residents were later given the right to use the land but not own it.

The government plan eliminates the agreement.

By Jan. 1, 2005, residents must make agreements with the state to rent
the areas they use. Adults now pay a fixed monthly fee worth about
$355 Cdn to the community for electricity, water and other services.

Two-thirds of Christiania's residents live on welfare or have no
official income.

"It is not the intention to build new expensive houses or tall
buildings, it should remain an alternative spot in Copenhagen," said
Bendt Bendtsen, the economics and trade minister.

"What we want is simply that the worse (violations of the law)

In January, hashish dealers, who have openly sold illegal drugs,
demolished their sales booths to avoid a crackdown they feared would
lead to their eviction.

Although the booths have disappeared, hashish is still being sold. 
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