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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