Ana Raab


During the summer of 2016, I traveled overseas completely on my own for the first time. Over the course of seven weeks, I wandered through Scandinavia exploring the Swedish heritage of my grandmother, made my way to Berlin by train, and confronted the stark beauty of Iceland—stretching myself along the way.

Follow my past and current journeys here.

Christiana / Freetown

Christiana, or "Freetown" as it is colloquially known, is this funky place that might very well exist only in Denmark. It's how I imagine San Francisco's Haight Ashbury neighborhood was like back before San Francisco became the tech town that it is now. Funky, free-wheeling, anything goes. Established in 1971 on 84 acres of abandoned military land in the center of the city, Freetown started as a small group of hippies squatting in barracks and setting their own rules for a society completely independent from the Danish government. Eventually growing over the years into a sort of hippie commune to include a mix of homemade houses, workshops, art galleries, music venues, eateries, beautiful nature and even guided tours run by local Christianites. All living expenses are free to residents; rent does not exist. It was really fascinating to see such an established "alternative" society still functioning 40 years later largely without government interference. In America, something like this would have been shut down long ago. These are the only photos I snapped at the entrance because there is a strict no-photos policy once you're inside due to things like marijuana/hash dealing (illegal in Denmark). But imagine lots of colorful, creative murals and graffiti like this and hodgepodge houses built from whatever materials can be found (wood planks, reclaimed glass panes, etc) and you have Christiana.