Since 1971, the squatter colony of Christiania has billed itself as a place of peace, love, and happiness, where all property was owned and administered collectively.

A new government plan, however, proposes to build as many as 400 resident-owned properties in the enclave, reported national daily Politiken on Monday. Residents fear that the move will destroy Christiania’s special nature.

For the government, the plan is an effort to integrate Christiania, a green area bordering the city’s former protective canal, into the rest of an increasingly crowded Copenhagen.

After coming to power in 2001, the government has taken an increasingly harder line on Christiania and its estimated 850 residents, closing its open-air hash market, Pusher Street, in 2004, and threatening to bulldoze the colony entirely.

I’ve tagged this boat rockers, but sadly the boat rockers in question are about to have their boats rocked.

I made a stop in Christianshavn during my 1998 stay in Copenhagen. Lame-o that I am, I was probably one of the few travellers who didn’t come for the drugs, but to see the commune in action. The entrance, via Pusher Street, was like a grotty gutter, and was full of unsavory types sprawled in the street. The commune itself was quite pleasant, with carpenters and artists living amongst gardens and in electricity-free shacks. I left with mixed feelings; In any other place seeing very young children free to wander on their own would be inspiring, but with the unpoliced crowd around the corner it made me wonder if it was entirely a good idea.

I’m sad to hear that the end of Christiania comes after the removal of that stumbling block. I’m especially disappointed that the cause of death will be gentrification of the worst kind. And I’m most upset to think that I won’t get a chance to see it again before it’s gone.

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