Nyhavn is one of the most popular tourist spots in Copenhagen. This is an advert, not a political sticker, but the picture was too good to leave out! (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 03/08/2022)
In the summer of 2022, I went on a tour of Scandinavian cities with my sister, and of course I photographed all the political stickers I could find! Our first stop was Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark. We paid a trip to the
Museum of Danish Resistance, which documents resistance to the Nazi occupation of Denmark between 1940 and 1945. To say I was excited when I discovered they have a machine in their collections for printing stickers with resistance slogans is putting it mildly – I had no idea that political stickers went back that far!
I would like to apologise in advance for any dodgy translation, I did the best I could with the help of Google translate, but I’m sure there are some errors. I will correct them if they are brought to my attention.
As ever, there are stickers in Copenhagen that relate to both international and local issues. This is an antique by sticker standards (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 09/08/2022).
This sticker is also quite old – the protest advertised means it was made at some point before July 2017. The colours have faded and it has been partially covered with spray paint, which makes some of the text difficult to distinguish (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 06/08/2022)
Some stickers link the international and local context. This sticker is produced by Extinction Rebellion Danmark, and the text roughly translates to “Update Democracy. Citizens’ Assembly Now.” Citizens assemblies are representatives of a population randomly chosen to discuss and make recommendations on a particular issue. They have become a popular tactic for some protest movements in recent years. (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 09/08/2022).
Danish and English are not the only languages that I found on stickers in Copenhagen. This sticker, in German, reads “Liberation doesn’t stop with people! #SolidaritywithAnimals #vegan.” (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 06/08/2022).
Visual symbolism can be a powerful way to overcome language differences. I would recognise the black and red flags as an anti-fascist symbol even if there was no text at all (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 06/08/2022).
Christiania is an anarchist commune in Copenhagen that started out as a squatted military base in 1971. The residents do not accept the authority of the Danish state, and it has become a well-known source of cannabis for both locals and tourists. Residents have pushed back however, and fought hard to keep hard drugs and violence out of the neighbourhood. In the 2000s, a deal was made to cede control of the neighbourhood to the Copenhagen City Council and in 2012, residents started to buy land, becoming landowners rather than squatters. Some people now dismiss the area as a tourist attraction that has lost all its radical credentials, but clearly not everyone feels this way. Pusher Street is the main street in Christiania, where cannabis used to be freely bought and sold. The red rectangle with three yellow circles is the flag of Christiania (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 06/08/2022).
Sometimes people seem to go out of their way to put stickers up in extreme or hard to reach places. I found this sticker at the top of the tower of Our Saviour’s Church, which is 90 metres tall. The text translates to “The Patriarchy doesn’t take breaks. The 8th of March is every day!” (The 8th of March is International Women’s Day) (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 06/08/2022).
These stickers were produced by the Popular Socialist Youth of Denmark, the youth wing of Green Left, a socialist political party. The top sticker translates to “Didn’t you pass the Danishness test either?”, whilst the lower one reads “We must build up rather than tear down” (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 07/08/2022).
Although basic, I found the image on this sticker quite effective. The text reads “We Stand Together. Refugees are Welcome. Our Culture is Diverse” (Source: Hannah Awcock, 07/08/2022).
The top line of both of these stickers reads “No to EU miliarisation.” The second sentence on the top sticker reads “Retain the defence reservation”, (defence reservation could also be translated as defence opt-out I think) whilst the second sentence on the lower sticker says “Vote no to the abolition of the defence reservation.” Denmark has several opt-outs from EU co-operation. Until recently, one of those related to the Common Security and Defense Policy. In June 2022, a referendum was held to abolish this opt-out, prompted by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Around two-thirds of Danes voted ‘yes’, so Denmark now has the right to take part in the EU’s military operations (06/08/2022).
This is not a political sticker, but I thought I’d finish off with a little bit of positive affirmation from Christiania! (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 06/08/2022).
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University Teacher in Human Geography at the University of Edinburgh. Interested in the cultural, historical, and political geographies of resistance.
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January 26, 2023 January 24, 2023