From the hippy town of Christiania to the magnificent Frederiksborg Palace, Copenhagen defines itself as a melting pot of culture and history. Christiania, on the site of an old barracks and home to almost 1,000 people, has become a tourist destination. It is a fascinating ramshackle world of alternative housing, free-spirited murals, children’s playground and people who believe that “to be normal is to be in a straightjacket”.
Since its creation in 1971 by a group of hippies and squatters, its 34 hectares have become a warren of micro-neighbourhoods, with cutting-edge eco-houses placed alongside restored shacks. In 2007, the National Heritage Agency proposed protection status for some of the ancient military buildings, and in 2011 it celebrated its independence as a semi-autonomous region. The Christiania flag is red with three yellow dots inside, and is erected proudly in the commune. Many people who visit Christiania appreciate the nature and values that it identifies with but these views are not shared by many of the residents living in Copenhagen, instead the commune is considered by others as the black sheep of society; however with its newly acquired independent status; it is here to stay.
In complete contrast with Christiania lies the epitomised landscape of aristocracy- Frederiksborg Palace. It is the largest renaissance palace in Scandinavia and was built as a royal residence for King Christian IV but it is now open to visitors as the lavish setting for the Museum of National History.
The King wanted Northern Europe’s most outstanding artists to work on his castle and the bronzes for the fountain were no exception. They were commissioned from the Dutch sculptor Adriaen de Vries whose workshop was in Prague. The three lions from the Danish coat of arms appear on the edge of the marble basin accompanied by Mercury, Fama and Pax – the gods of trade, fame and peace.