The Normalisation of Christiania

Joanna Hollingsworth & Christina Callesen Ravn

Student thesis: Termpaper


Abstract Centrally located in the heart of the Danish capital Copenhagen there is a place known as ‘The Freetown of Christiania’. Christiania, is a squatter foundation born in 1971, where a small group of young people took over 49 hectares of government owned land and founded their notion of a perfect society, a community based on consensus democracy and personal freedom. Throughout the history of the Freetown there has been a continuous debate around the legitimacy of the self proclaimed area, and the various Danish governments in power over the years have continuously tried to regain their right to the land. The Freetown has existed a little more than 40-years and throughout its existence it has continuously challenged and resisted the Danish government. In 2004, the Danish Liberal-Conservative government decided to put Christiania on a path of normalisation with the enactment of the Christiania Law. The intent behind this was to privatize the communally owned buildings and land. This project explores the intentions behind the process of normalisation and how it has been implemented and embedded throughout time. We investigate the process in various contexts, such as social, cultural and economically, mainly through Michel Foucault’s theory of normalisation. The actual process of normalisation is explained in steps through the lenses of May and Finch and their theory called the ‘Normalisation Process Theory’ in order to understand the steps involved with enacting normalization on a subject. By focusing on the governmental interventions in Christiania and all the resulting political, social, and cultural perspectives, this project examines the various attempts made and reasons behind normalising Christiania. More specifically, the normalisation process is analyzed in how it can be understood through a theoretical approach in assisting neoliberal society. This project examines various aspects of the effects and intentions of the normalization process, such as the criminal activities in Christiania i.e. the drug trade that takes place in a confined area in the Freetown called Pusher Street. We also investigate the relationship between the Danish state and Christiania and in what ways they have both benefitted from each other regardless of conflict. From here we question “What was the actual intention behind the Normalisation Plan?”. An analysis ensues based on the observation of a possibility that the reason of the allowance of the Freetown’s existence was to contribute to neoliberal society and the greater area of Copenhagen.

EducationsBasic - International Bachelor Study Program in Social Sciences, (Bachelor Programme) Basic
Publication date21 Dec 2015
SupervisorsVertelyte Mante


  • social science