Christiania is not for sale!
Freetown Christiania, Copenhagen

Free­town Chris­tia­nia is not for sale!

Freetown Christiania is not for sale!

When the National Agency of Palaces and Properties invited selected architectural advisors to propose a development plan for Christiania, Vandkunsten Architects was encouraged by Christiania’s negotiating team to prepare a proposal titled ‘Christiania is not for sale!’.

We viewed Freetown Christiania as a living lab for testing alternative ways of living and building and so refused meet the expectation of keeping the expansion within the specified area. Instead we proposed an alternative expansion plan as well as different scales and densities based on the unique landscape around the fortifications.
This became a memorable process that put Christiania’s consensus democracy to the test and taught us that even obviously good plans with sustainable ambitions are not feasible if the recipient does not wish to be disturbed.

Freetown Christiania

Freetown Christiania is a green and car-free neighbourhood in Copenhagen, best known for its autonomous inhabitants’ varied ways of life. It was established in 1971 by a group of hippies who occupied some abandoned military barracks on the site and developed their own set of society rules, completely independent of the Danish government.

Christiania existed under special conditions for 40 years with constant conflicts and clashes between the local Christianites and the Danish state.

Freetown Christiania has to make a difference when it comes to choose of scale and architectural scheme. There has to continue to be a difference between the rest of the city planning and Freetown Christiania’s autonomous planning. The Freetown must keep its character of a place for experiments, and alternative thinking. From this point of view we decided to dispose of the 30.00 square meters as decentralized building units corresponding to the self-planning character of Christiania.

Along the bastions “city side” the master plan makes it possible to build new there in section and façade respects the duality between the hillside and the water.

The diagram shows the existing buildings (Gray), new buildings (red), and those building that have to be moved or demolished (white)

Project facts


Project name: Christiania is not for sale!


Client: Agency for Culture and Palaces

Location: Freetown Christiania, Copenhagen

Gross area: 30.000

Date: 2005


Program: Planning

Activity: Proposal and dialogue

Contact: Jan Albrechtsen,

Project group: Jens Thomas Arnfred

Employees: Knud Kappel og Julian Jahn


Architect: Vandkunsten Architects (Jens Thomas Arnfred)

Landscape: Vandkunsten Architects