Denmark to welcome tourists from every EU country except (most of) Sweden and Portugal

Denmark will from next Saturday open its borders to every country in Europe except Sweden and Portugal, and will also put in place a 'Nordic mechanism' allowing travel to and from regions with low infection rates, such as Skåne.

Denmark to welcome tourists from every EU country except (most of) Sweden and Portugal
A tourist poses by the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen harbour. Photo: Jens Nørgaard Larsen/Ritzau Scanpix
“I am pleased that we can now take a significant step towards normalisation and enable the Danes to travel to more countries in Europe,” Denmark's foreign minister Jeppe Kofod said in a press release
“We stand in a significantly better place in Denmark than we had dared to hope just a short time ago. That's why we can now relax the travel guides in a way that allows us to open up most of Europe.” 
When countries enter the “open” list, Denmark will also change its travel recommendations for Danish citizens, so that travel is not limited to situations where it is “absolutely necessary”. 
Under the new system, Denmark's infectious diseases agency SSI will rank each country in the EU, UK and Schengen area as either “open”, “quarantine”, or “closed”, basing its appraisal chiefly on how many coronavirus infections have been registered in the preceding week. 
If a country has registered fewer than 20 coronavirus infections per 100,000 people over the preceding week, it is ranked “open”, if it has registered fewer than 30 cases, it is ranked a “quarantine” country, and if it has registered above 30, it is ranked “closed”. 
The SSI will also criterion is study countries' testing regimes to ensure that they are adequate. 
The first appraisal will be released on June 25th, two days before the new border regime comes into force, but in the press release, it said that both Sweden and Portugal would currently be counted as quarantined. 
Sweden has 75.5 cases per 100,000, while Portugal currently has 20.2 new cases. 
However, if a country in the Nordic region does not fulfil the criteria to be 'open', the a special “Nordic mechanism” kicks in, allowing the infection rate to be looked at on a regional basis. 
This means that residents of Skåne, Sörmland and Västerbotten in Sweden will be allowed to enter Denmark. 
As before, tourists coming to Denmark from the EU, Schengen countries and the UK, will need to show that they have booked accommodation for at least six nights.  
This requirement will not, however, apply to residents of 'border regions' of Schleswig-Holstein, Skåne, Halland and Blekinge. 
Even if one of these border regions is rated as “quarantined”, residents will still be able to enter Denmark if they can show that they have tested negative for coronavirus 72 hours before entry. 

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Denmark’s ‘freetown’ Christiania hangs onto soul, 50 years on

A refuge for anarchists, hippies and artists, Denmark's 'freetown' Christiania turns 50 on Sunday, and though it hasn't completely avoided the encroachment of modernity and capitalism, its free-wheeling soul remains intact.

Denmark's 'freetown' Christiania hangs onto soul, 50 years on
Christiania, one of Copenhagen's major tourist attractions, celebrates its 50th anniversary on Sunday. JENS NOERGAARD LARSEN / SCANPIX / AFP

Nestled in the heart of Copenhagen, Christiania is seen by some as a progressive social experiment, while others simply see it as a den of drugs.

On September 26th, 1971, a band of guitar-laden hippies transformed an abandoned army barracks in central Copenhagen into their home. They raised their “freedom flag” and named their new home “Christiania, Freetown” after the part of the city where it is located.

They wanted to establish an alternative society, guided by the principles of peace and love, where decisions were made collectively and laws were not enforced.

Soft drugs were freely available, and repurposing, salvaging and sharing was favoured over buying new.

It was a community “that belonged to everybody and to no one”, said Ole Lykke, who moved into the 34-hectare (84-acre) enclave in the 1970s.

These principles remain well-rooted today, but the area has changed in many ways: tourists weave through its cobblestone roads, and the once-reviled market economy is in full swing.

Perhaps most importantly, it is no longer a squat. Residents became legal landowners when they bought some of the land from the Danish state in 2012.

Now it is home to some 900 people, many artists and activists, along with restaurants, cafes and shops, popular among the half a million tourists that visit annually.

“The site is more ‘normal’,” says a smiling Lykke, a slender 75-year-old with ruffled silver hair, who passionately promotes Christiania, its independence and thriving cultural scene.

Legislation has been enforced since 2013 — though a tongue-in-cheek sign above the exit points out that those leaving the area will be entering the European Union.

‘Embrace change’
It is Christiania’s ability to adapt with the times that has allowed it to survive, says Helen Jarvis, a University of Newcastle professor of social geography engagement.

“Christiania is unique,” says Jarvis, who lived in Christiania in 2010.

“(It) endures because it continues to evolve and embrace change”.

Some of those changes would have been unthinkable at the start.

Residents secured a bank loan for several million euros to be able to buy the land, and now Christiania is run independently through a foundation.

They also now pay wages to the around 40 people employed by Christiania, including trash collectors and daycare workers.

“Money is now very important,” admits Lykke, who is an archivist and is currently exhibiting 100 posters chronicling Christiania’s history at a Copenhagen museum.

But it hasn’t forgotten its roots.

“Socially and culturally, Christiania hasn’t changed very much,” he says, noting that the community’s needs still come first.

‘Judged a little’
Christiania has remained a cultural hub — before the pandemic almost two dozen concerts were held every week and its theatres were packed.

But it is still beset by its reputations as a drugs hub.

Though parts of Christiania are tranquil, lush and green with few buildings, others are bustling, with a post office, mini-market, healthcare centre, and Pusher Street, the notorious drug market.

Lykke says it’s a side of Christiania most could do without.

“Most of us would like to get rid of it. But as long as (marijuana use) is prohibited, as long as Denmark doesn’t want to decriminalise or legalise, we will have this problem,” says Lykke.

While still officially illegal, soft drugs like marijuana and hash are tolerated — though not in excess.

Since early 2020, Copenhagen police have seized more than one tonne of cannabis and more than a million euros.

“Sometimes I don’t tell people that I live here because you get judged a little bit. Like, ‘Oh, you must be into marijuana and you must be a smoker’,” says Anemone, a 34-year-old photographer.

For others, Christiania’s relaxed nature is part of the appeal.

“It’s different from what I know, I really want to see it,” laughs Mirka, a Czech teacher who’s come to have a look around.