The free private city of Liberstad in Norway, a project that was announced some time ago, has got stuck. Instead of inhabiting the “city”, the founders of the project are creating an anarchist park with a huge letter A, which should be visible from space. Land plots in Liberstad have not yet been handed over to their owners, or, more precisely, the applicants who have purchased the reservations to acquire the land.
The original goal of the Liberstad project was “to create a completely private city in which everything has its private owner and all public services are provided exclusively by private entities on a purely voluntary basis”.
The founders of Liberstad, John Holmesland and Sondre Bjellås, bought a farm in Marnadal at the southern tip of Norway. After that, they began publicly offering land to the potential citizens of the private “city” of Liberstad, which was officially established on June 1, 2017.
“We want to create a society here without government coercion, supervision and without violence,” the founders stated.
They declared their intention to build a private city that would be “based on individual freedom and voluntary cooperation… A city over which the government will have no power.”
More than 3 years after the city was “founded”, Liberstad still has no inhabitants, probably only with the exception of the founders. In one of their rare public statements, they revealed that 2 families lived permanently in “Liberstad”, which is a number strikingly similar to the number of the Liberstad founders.
There is a high probability that they received money for the construction of the essential buildings from those who purchased a “subscription” to acquire a plot of land in Liberstad. However, the plots in Liberstad have not yet been handed over to the “subscribers” for use.
According to the original plans, all individual plots in the planned Liberstad area were supposed to be handed over to the “owners” in the summer of this year (2020).
Nevertheless, the founding fathers of Liberstad have not revealed whether this would really happen. In the fragmentary public materials of Liberstad, the year 2023 was chosen as the new date. However, it was not confirmed that the settlement should indeed begin during that year.
According to the latest publicly available information, Liberstad has expanded by another 40,000 square metres. Therefore, the pre-sale of plots to the potential residents of the “private city” (or rather a village) can continue.
The organizers’ course of action raises strong doubts about the real purpose and overall feasibility of the Liberstad free private city project.
Holmesland and Bjellås do not seem to be clear on the next steps and their vision of how the “private city” should work, and their sketchy public announcements contradict each other.
On the one hand, they say that the people of Liberstad (if any such people, apart from Holmesland and Bjellås, actually show up) will be subject to the tax system of Norway.
At the same time, they claim that with the exception of a low municipal property tax, the people of Liberstad will never have to pay any taxes again.
Leaving aside the indications of the playground being built, the only tangible result of the founders in their 3 year’s effort has been the creation of the anarchist park – “Anarcho-park” – shaped in the form of large anarchist letter A that should be visible from low-orbit satellites.
The Anarcho-park will include benches and statues so that the people visiting the park can learn more about anarchy, economics and philosophy.
The protagonists of Liberstad further announced creating their own economic market Libermarket that would be designed exclusively for the members of the project.
This idea fits into their new strategy: the Liberstad’s “rulers” have hidden their project from the world, offering information only to the subscribers who paid money for the membership in a private virtual “club” called Liberstad Membership Organization. However, a question remains as to whether the information is actually provided to them.
Only members of this “club” can reserve a plot of land (for additional money, though). In fact, it is just a subscription for a hypothetical future purchase of land.
FREE REPORTER – LIST OF UNANSWERED QUESTIONS to the organizers of LIBERSTAD on 4 June 2020:
1) What is the current status of the LIBERSTAD project? When do you plan to launch LIBERSTAD as an independent city (municipality) that is at least partially independent of the state (public authorities)?
2) According to the latest publicly available information, LIBERSTAD has expanded by another 40,000 m2. Have plots in this area already been sold to interested parties?
- Can you specify whether LIBERSTAD sells land in the incriminated locality with full ownership of the landlords, or whether it sells only land reservations, ie whether it only sells something as a pre-emptive right to purchase land in the future (ie only as a reservation that does not guarantee full land acquisition)?
3) How many plots of land were sold in the first pre-sale phase, with the result that the buyer became the sole owner of the land in LIBERSTAD? In other words, how many people (apart from the founders of the project) have already become real, sole owners of the land sold in LIBERSTAD?
4) How many plots of land were sold in the second pre-sale phase (started in 2019 or 2020) and how many of them already have a new real sole owner?
5) Why were the new plots sold or why are they now sold only for your own virtual cryptocurrency City Coin? Why can’t people buy them for the standard currency?
6) According to the latest available information (February 2020), 2 families now live permanently in LIBERSTAD. Which families are they? Who is it about? Are they the families of the (two) founders of the LIBERSTAD project or other families?
7) According to your previous plans, in the summer of this year (2020) all individual plots in the planned LIBERSTAD were to be handed over to the „owners“ for use. Will it be fulfilled? If not, why not?
8) When and how will landowners start building their houses in LIBERSTAD, or live in LIBERSTAD?
9) Year 2023 has recently appeared in your materials… What is really going to happen this year? Does this mean that the beginning of the settlement of LIBERSTAD has been postponed from 2020 to 2023?
10) What is the meaning and benefit of building ANARCHO-PARK, and thus creating a huge anarchist letter „A“ in the locality of LIBERSTAD?
11) To what extent will the completion of the letter A, visible from space, be useful for freedom on Earth? Will the letter „A“ in LIBERSTAD increase the freedom of the population in LIBERSTAD or on Earth?
12) Does building ANARCHO-PARK mean that the focus of the LIBERSTAD project is changing? Is the project starting to focus on supporters of classical, generally negatively perceived „anarchism“, which is synonymous with violence, destruction and disorder?
13) Can LIBERSTAD be considered as an anarchist project? To what extent do you think this aspect of anarchism will help in the implementation of the LIBERSTAD project?
14) According to the information presented by you, the inhabitants of LIBERSTAD will be subject to the Norwegian tax system. At the same time, however, you state that – with the exception of the low municipal property tax – the inhabitants of LIBERSTAD will never have to pay any taxes… There is a contradiction.
- What taxes will or will not be paid by the citizens of LIBERSTAD?
15) LIBERSTAD creates its own economic market (Libermarket) intended exclusively for project members. What is the purpose of this closed market? Does this mean that LIBERSTAD rejects free international trade? Does it want to create a closed small market only for residents or fans of LIBERSTAD? What are the advantages of such a market and how are they compatible with the liberal orientation of the project?
16) Why did LIBERSTAD start hiding information from the public in a paid membership zone? That is, why does LIBERSTAD not provide all the information to the world’s general public for free, but wants to get paid for it (USD 28 / per year)?
17) Was/is the only real goal/purpose of the LIBERSTAD project to do a promo/PR event for the release and operation of your new City Coin cryptocurrency?
- How do you want to convince the public that the LIBERSTAD project is not a case of the simple sale of land for profit (or only cryptocurrency project) but that it is a project whose main and true aim is to bring at least the basic elements or features of a free society for future settlers of LIBERSTAD?
18) How would you deal with real landowners in LIBERSTAD if the basic plans for achieving of freedom can not be met, i.e. if it is not possible to secure freedom for people beyond those freedom existing in Norway today? Would you return money to people (landowners)? Do you plan that you will provide some guarantees of achieving the basic parameters of the free society (or anarchist society) to the „settlers“ – the landowners in LIBERSTAD?
19) What real / achievable benefits in the field of human freedoms for LIBERSTAD residents you are currently (and in the long run) offering to those interested in living in LIBERSTAD?
- In what parameters/principles/aspects will be the life of the citizens of LIBERSTAD more free than life in other parts of Norway?
20) Do you consider the current development of the LIBERSTAD project to be successful or not?