Copenhagen has no rules. I’ve noticed here amongst the population that there is a general sense of trust in the universe that everything will work out fine. At our hotel, our rooms only had one key so we would have to turn it in at the front desk whenever both roommates were gone and request it from the front desk whenever we got back. Not once did I give my name or show my ID to any of the various hotel clerks. I could’ve waltzed up to the desk and asked for any old key I wanted, no questions asked. Then, at Tivoli Gardens, we got on one of these. As we were rising above the city, the ride operator held onto Jacob and Tori’s seat and didn’t let go until his feet were a solid six feet off of the ground. We rented go-boats, which were small self-operated boats a group could take around the Copenhagen hour for a few hours. There was a tower overlooking the city that we were climbing up when suddenly the stairwell just ended–no sign, no warning, no the nothing. In America none of this would fly, but these were my favorite activities of the entire trip this far. I appreciate that the Danish still operate under the assumption that people can use their common sense to make it through life whereas back home every precaution MUST be taken by law to ensure that nothing goes wrong. I think this difference in attitude speaks to the Scandinavian people’s strong belief that individuals all start out as innately good. This positive mentality carries over to the smallest aspects of everyday life.
But Copenhagen might be moving away from this lackadaisical mindset and becoming a bit more Americanized in their policy. Christiania is a part of the city known for its hippie culture and unique commerce. For a while now residents and have been growing and selling their own marijuana. There was an unspoken agreement between the neighborhood and the government that kept the area relatively peaceful and quiet. But in recent years, police have started raising Christiana for drugs. I’m not sure if this is because of the influx of tourists and the city not wanting people to come specifically to Copenhagen for the drugs in Christiania or because there have been changes in the type of drug trade, but I definitely don’t think the raids are accomplishing anything. While I understand that police are just doing their job, it’s only made the environment unsafe and seedy. Instead of actually stopping the buying and selling of marijuana, dealers have just started using drastic measures to protect their identity. They wear ski masks and signs are posted everywhere telling people not to take photographs at the risk of your phone being snatched. A tour guide told us how drug dealers set up shop not even an hour after police raided the neighborhood. So, things could be changing around Copenhagen in that they’re moving towards some stricter rules–even the cab driver complained about the city becoming more Americanized. These societal tensions seem like the precursor to the bigger divides we see back home in the states.
Overall, Copenhagen was such an amazing city that stuck me as so different from both what we saw of Oslo and what we’re familiar with from home. I’m excited to see how Stockholm compares.