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This is where foreigners in Denmark are going for their summer holidays

Despite travel in Europe opening up, nearly half the foreigners who answered our survey are planning on spending the summer in Denmark this year, with many planning to go on tour and "discover new areas" of the country.

This is where foreigners in Denmark are going for their summer holidays
One American respondent planned to cycle around Bornholm. Photo: Destination Bornholm
Out of the 100 foreigners who responded to the survey, 34 planned to “travel within Denmark”, eight were staying at home and not taking a holiday, and two were planning on using their home as a base for short trips around the country.
 
In addition, about 20 of those who planned to holiday outside of Denmark, also planned to travel within Denmark. 
 
 
Of the 53 planning to travel in Denmark, ten hoped to go to Skagen, six were planning on visiting the island of Bornholm, three were planning on going to the island of Møn in southeast Denmark, two were planning on visiting the island of Samsø. Others were staying at summer houses in Zealand and Jutland. 
 
Several were planning on camping, a few in the free shelters scattered around parts of Denmark, and some wanted to use the chance to visit theme parks such as Legoland and museums without the crowds. 
 
“Just done Legoland with the kids yesterday, it's so quiet and just a few rides not running,” said Michael Saunders from the UK. “28 rides in one day.” 
 
 
Skagen in North Jutland was one of the most popular destinations. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix
 
Maria Andrianova, from Russia, said she saw advantages to having  to holiday in Denmark, and said that as well as saving money and having a less stressful holiday, she was looking forward to “exploring places in Denmark we haven't visited yet”. 
 
“We've been living here less than three years, so we are still quite fresh, and there are many things we still haven't seen and done here,” she explains. 
 
“It is good to explore the culture and the beautiful places in Denmark,” says Christina, from Greece. “Denmark is beautiful country, you can rent a car and you can go to some beautiful places. It is good to get to know the place were we live.” 
 
“Excited for my first Danish summer which has so far been absolutely lovely,” said Robbie, from the UK. 
 
 
 
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Others pointed to the environmental benefits of not flying, and the chance to reappraise the way people live today. 
 
Most people were taking relatively short holidays by Scandinavian standards, with 32 of the 98 respondents taking two weeks, 28 taking three weeks, and 15 taking only one. 
 
Of the 50 who are planning on taking advantage of Denmark's relaxed recommendations on travel into Europe, the overwhelming majority were going back to their home countries to visit friends and family. 
 
The most popular country for European travel was Germany, which was the intended destination of 21 percent of those who shared their plans, followed by Norway and Italy on about 10 percent each. 
 
 
 
 
Some European travellers planned to take advantage of the unusually empty tourist destinations.
 
“We thought, 'where did we always want to go, but didn’t because of the crowds?'Venice, Gondola ride.” says Chris from America.
 
Others planned a ferry cruise from Copenhagen to Oslo, a bicycle tour in the black forest of Germany, a drive around the Alps, 
 
 For those planning on staying in Denmark, a lot depends on the weather. 
 
” I was super happy last week because it was sunny and warm, but the forecast says it´s going to rain the rest of July… so… I feel pretty low right now,” says Vanessa Lima from Brazil.
 

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TOURISM

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.

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