Dyssen at Christiania

Everybody knows Christiania, but very few have visited Dyssen, the long, narrow strip of land parallel to the free town, on the eastern side of the city moat. This is the ‘unknown’ Christiania, a place to run, walk or cycle in relative peace and quiet, watch the birds on the water and in the trees, wave to the residents or find a quiet spot to relax.

Dyssen (literally dolmen or cairn) is part of Christianshavn’s ramparts, but was built about a century after the rest of the defences, as a low secondary rampart outside the moat.

Unlike the old Bådsmandsstræde Barracks, which were occupied and turned into the free town of Christiania in 1971, Dyssen was outside the barracks area. The only buildings here were the old powder magazines. The area had no electricity and was almost completely untouched until Christianites moved into the old magazines and started building new homes amidst the greenery.

Along the two-kilometre Dyssen path, which is reached from Christiania by bridge or from Holmen in the north, there are ash, maple, hawthorn, elder, rowan, wild cherry and other self-seeded deciduous trees and shrubs. Enjoy the birdsong from the scrub, perhaps while you hunt for edible snails. In the moat you will spot nesting swans, coots, moorhens and great crested grebe.

There’s lots for children and adults to discover in this glorious green space, including many species of butterfly. It’s also a great place for a picnic.

Photo: Kontraframe

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Dyssen på Christiania
(Dyssen at Christiania)
1422 Copenhagen K

  • Walking, jogging and cycling
  • Nature and play
  • Dyssen is a low rampart in front of the moat.
  • The idea was to fire cannons from behind it. Solid, arrow-shaped gunpowder magazines were built here, situated far enough from the defences not to destroy them in the event of an explosion.
  • Dyssen was the site of Denmark’s last execution ground. Twenty-nine people faced the firing squad here after trials in the aftermath of World War II. The final one, in June 1950, was the last ever execution on Danish soil.
  • The concrete floor and drain are still visible.
  • Ash, maple, hawthorn, elder, rowan and wild cherry
  • Chiffchaff, willow warbler, whitethroat and lesser whitethroat, swans, coots, moorhens, grebes and herons.
  • There are plenty of places to eat in Christiania.
1 km

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