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Europe

Residents to buy Copenhagen hippie enclave

An enclave of hippies in downtown Copenhagen has agreed to pay the government for the land they've been squatting on for 40 years.

The entrance of Christiania in Copenhagen, Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Christiania has been in squatters' hands for 40 years

The 900 residents of the Christiania district of Copenhagen have agreed to pay for the former Marine training ground they settled on in 1971.

The community lost a legal battle earlier this year, in which they'd tried to assert their right to continue to live in Christiania.

They have collectively agreed to pay the sum of 150 million Danish kroner (20 million euros, $29.6 million) to continue living in their semi-autonomous commune.

Turbulent relations

For a long time, the community was allowed to exist until the government cracked down on the open drug trade in the commune in 2004.

The government then threatened to to tear down ramshackle buildings in the municipality and the resultant protests became violent.

The residents had sued the government in 2006 seeking acknowledgment that they had the right to use the land, but in February, 2011, the courts ruled in favor of the state.

Christiania is one of Europe's last remaining hippie enclaves, counting around 1,000 hippies, artists, activists and misfits as residents.

Author: Stuart Tiffen (dpa, AP)
Editor: Nicole Goebel

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