Denmark’s Eastern High Court has ruled that the State has the right of use of the Christiania area of Copenhagen and that changes to the law on Christiania in 2004 were legally safe.
The Christiania community had maintained during the case that it had an irrevocable tenure to use the Christiania area and that a change in the Christiania law in 2004, which removed the community’s inherent right of use, was invalid, or should have been introduced over a longer period.
But the High Court rejected both contentions, as well as a claim by 700 individual inhabitants of the area that the termination was not binding on them, and claims by others that they had won prescriptive title.
The High Court decision ostensibly puts an end to 38 years of disagreement, which started in 1971 when squatters took over an area of disused barracks and transformed it into a seemingly autonomous alternative society. A government decision in 1973 termed the area a social experiment.
After several years of court cases on rights to the area, the Supreme Court decided in 1978 that Christiania could be cleared, although a parliamentary majority decided that inhabitants of Christiania could remain where they were.
Much of the argumentation in the case has centred around how long Christiania could remain unchanged.
Counsel for Christiania says he is pleased with the judgment, despite the fact that his clients lost.
“This was a good judgment. We won 49 percent and lost 51 percent. I am satisfied with the legal arguments and they should lead to us appealing to the Supreme Court,” Knud Foldschack told Politiken.dk.
Edited by Julian Isherwood