“Who are the Hippies?” — headline on the cover of National Review, August 8, 1967.
“Who were the Hippies?” — subtext of this Guardian story on Copenhagen’s Christiania, “one of Europe’s most famous communes, [which] faces last stand,” according to The Grauniad:
For four decades, the freetown of Christiania has existed as a testimony to an alternative way of life, where hash was sold openly and squatters’ shacks jostled comfortably with architect-designed eco-sheds.
For some, the commune was a human jungle in the centre of Copenhagen; for others a bastion of irreverence.
But now residents have erected its last line of defence against the Danish government attempts to “normalise” one of Europe‘s most famous squats after 40 years of legal wrangling.
Residents have erected fences at entrance points which they patrol, handing out flyers which declare that “Christiania will be temporarily closed until further notice”. Cafes and shops were closed as residents began meetings to debate their future.
In what residents see as the final attack by the right-of-centre government, and property developers eager to get their hands on the valuable real estate, they have been given until 2 May to decide whether to take up an offer to buy the properties – collectively or as individuals – for 150m kroner (£18m). Many argue that, for residents who have renounced materialism, this is impossible.
On the whole, they should be glad they’re not in Philadelphia, which really knows how to finish off a recalcitrant alternative commune for good.