Last night I dreamt that I was helping my daughter and her friends to paint a wall in an old house. I had a backpack, which contained my dreams, visions and ideas about how to create a better world. I was painting the wall but I decided not to open my backpack and take out the contents. I carried with me my own dreams and visions, which in many ways are similar to Hannah’s and her friends, but still not the same. This was THEIR vision that I had the honor to join in on. I decided therefore, in my dream, not to open my backpack. When I woke up I was so proud of that decision – that I, in my subconscious mind, has been so brave and so wise. I painted the wall with the backpack still on my back, and rejoiced in the community and the passion and enthusiasm, which a practical project like restoring a house often brings.
The scene, though without a visible backpack, took place in real life as well when I was helping Hannah to scrape old paint off a wall. She is engaged in the restoration of Folkets hus (The People’s House) in Nørrebro in Copenhagen – a user-controlled communal house – was squatted in 1971 project and is still today driven by visions to create a fairer, more inclusive and sustainable Copenhagen and world. It was very special to be involved in realizing the dreams of this open living room in Nørrebro. Folkets hus, which was a center for activism and citizen’s initiatives in Nørrebro in 70 – 90s, is a manifestation of the desire to appropriate a physical space in the city in order to anchor a vision in a physical location. Having been and center for activism for many years the house has played an important role in the neighbourhood but has, in the 2000s, had a sleepy existence, and finally closed altogether last year.
Nørrebro has, with its activist past, been a focus for many visions and dreams and today the new visionaries continue to move into this northern part of Copenhagen and many who have lived there since the 70s and earlier have stayed; it is also a part of the city where many immigrants have settled. A group that had used the building for café and an “folkekøkken” (people’s kitchens – a tradition in Denmark where a different restaurant or café serves a cheap meal every day) and decided to renovate the house and put new life into the 4 floors again. The dreams and visions which idealists had concerning Folkets hus in the 1970s were their dream embedded in that era but their visions are similar and related to the visions of the people who are active there today – most of whom grew up in the 1990. These visions are shaped and adapted to Nørrebro of today both by younger and older visionaries.
You can support the restoration of Folkets hus!