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Posts tagged graffiti

Japanese Graffiti

Graffiti in Japan is pretty rare (thank goodness!). When you do see it, though, it is usually pretty good. This one was under the overpass of a bridge going over the Tamagawa. It reminds me a bit of the critter I previously posted here.

Fristaden Christiania (part 2 of 2)

Freetown Christiania is no longer entirely free. Each resident pays 1300 DKK a month (almost US$300 with the weak dollar) to the common fund. Half of that money goes outside the community for property taxes, utilities, etc. The other half is used internally. New residents (and we were told that is unusual as people rarely leave) have their homes selected for them. Neighbors can apparently veto an undesired new neighbor. There is some sort of wait list to get in.

meeting building in christiania bob dylan copenhagen denmark

The above building, Den Gra Hal, holds over a thousand people and is used when the whole community needs to get together. They also have concerts in the building on occasion. Notable acts here have included Bob Dylan, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rage Against the Machine, Metallica (Lars Ulrich is from Denmark), and Portishead.

This building also hosts the annual Christmas Market.

wooden building with ivy housing christiania bikes copenhagen denmark

Christiania Bikes were previously made in the building, Cykelvaerkstedet, below this ivy covered, wooden bridge. Now they are just sold out of the building. The bikes, which can be seen all over Copenhagen, became too popular, and the building of the bikes had to be me moved to a larger location on Jutland. The bikes feature a large compartment for holding things sort of like a pickup truck. We have seen Christiania Bikes holding big people, kids, babies, groceries, other bikes, and just about anything else you can imagine.

symbol of christiania graffiti three circles

The symbol of Christiania is the three circles or dots. They come from the three dottings of the letter “i” in the name Christiania. Others have ascribed various meanings to the three circles. The three dots can be seen everywhere in Christiania on much more than just flags like this graffiti shows. You can also see them on bumper stickers throughout Denmark and even in the three giant disco balls in the Copenhagen Opera House.

marijuana in christiania copenhagen denmark

I’ll finish this entry with what Christiania is probably most famous for–marijuana, hash, ganja, weed, pot, you get the picture. If you don’t want to buy it on Pusher Street, you can get it for free in other parts of town. I filled my pockets and split town. Just kidding.

Christiania (part 1 of 2)

Through Copenhagen Business School we have gone on several tours and excursions including a Jazz Festival night, a guided tour of the Danish Design Center, the Oslo trip, and our Copenhagen Canal Tour. We were also taken on a guided tour of Christiania, a sort of hippie communal area in Copenhagen on the man-made island of Christianshavn.

The tour was actually quite fascinating and certainly better than I expected. Our tour guide has been living in Christiania for over 30 years. He rolled his own cigarettes continually through the tour. Luckily, we were outside for most of the tour. His fly was down the whole time, and it almost seemed as if he would pass out a time or two. All of this added to the atmosphere–an atmosphere that was already other worldly.

The Church of Our Saviour copenhagen denmark

One of the main entrances to Christiania can be found near the “Church of Our Saviour” on Christianshavn. This church is recognizable for its golden spiral steeple. You can actually walk the 400 steps to the top for about $4 between about April and October.

graffiti in copenhagen denmark

One thing that is very surprising about Denmark is the amount of graffiti. There is far more here than in, say, California and probably even more than what I’ve seen in Mexico (including Mexico City). I’m almost getting used to it. The Danes seem very used to it and don’t seem to mind it a bit.

Some of it is the more “dirty graffiti” like above. I’ll show you a few pictures from Christiania of the more “art graffiti” style below and in tomorrow’s entry. Christiania has tons of graffiti. It covers nearly everything.

“Very Metal” is the name of the art exhibit that is going on in Christiania. The exhibit features sculptures made out of metal.

the laws of christiania in copenhagen denmark

Christiania has had bad experiences with biker gangs in the past. The above shows their laws. There doesn’t seem to be many laws beyond the above. Notice that it says “No hard drugs.” Marijuana can certainly be seen in Christiana (both being grown and being smoked). There was a crackdown a few years back, but we saw lots of it on our tour.

For instance, there was a guy standing buck naked (having just finished his bath) outside of the public bathhouse smoking a huge joint as we walked by. There is a street called “Pusher Street” in which photography is not allowed. Evidently, the dealers don’t want their pictures taken. All sorts of vendors are on this street selling drug paraphernalia. I’m guessing that you can buy weed from these vendors even though it is now illegal. I think it was legal until recently.

copenhagen denmark graffiti art

The above photograph is one, of many, of the nicer graffiti works that can be seen in Christiania (and Copenhagen in general).

house that is only a roof in copenhagen denmark

The Danish government seems to be slowly trying to regulate and take back Christiania. One of the newer laws is that nothing new can be built in Christiania. Roof work can be legally done. So the guy who built the above house tried to get around the law (and apparently has done so since it is still standing) by building a house that is nothing but a roof.

german banana house copenhagen denmark

German carpenters have been coming to Freetown Christiania for a long time and helping with the building and repairs of various things including a bridge or two. They have also created the above “Banana House.”

christiania copenhagen denmark

Although much of Christiania is not pretty to look at with all of the ugly graffiti, garbage, run down buildings, broken beer bottles in the road, etc. other portions are actually quite beautiful. There are many home-made houses tucked away in woodsy areas or along the water that people would probably pay top dollar to purchase. No real estate can be bought or sold here though.

Assistants Cemetery

On our first walk around Copenhagen we went through the aforementioned Assistens Kirkegård cemetery where Niels Bohr and Hans Christian Andersen are laid to rest. This place is incredible. It has atmosphere and then some. There is a rich flavor to the entire cemetery. The greens are lush, the trees old, and the varieties endless.

assistants cemetery

Around one corner you may find a couple having a picnic. Around another you may find curious tombstones in a unique setup. Some gravestones have runes on them as well. I’m not sure if they are Viking, Anglo-Saxon, or, more likely, Younger Futhark or Rok.

Assistens Kirkegård

The only thing that disappointed was the graffiti. Niels Bohr’s tombstone is a mess on the backside (not pictured). You can see what Hans Christian Andersen’s currently looks like below.

Hans Christian Andersen

The graffiti relates to The People’s House Copenhagen located at Jagtvej 69. I don’t know all the details but apparently the government sold the building, and the new owners are going to demolish it against the wishes of many people.

Niels Bohr

This is the front of Niels Bohr’s gravestone. The graffiti on the backside contains several English curse words. I have no idea why.

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