Nutopia – John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Micro-Nation

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We are all pretty aware of the fame and reputation of John Lennon. John Winston Ono Lennon is known worldwide as the English hipster, singer, songwriter, and peace activist who was also the founder, rhythm guitarist, and co-lead vocalist of the legendary group – The Beatles. But did you know that in addition to all the other things he did, he also tried to create a new nation? Read along to find out more.

The Lennon Wall in Prague Czech Republic
The Lennon Wall in Prague Czech Republic / Photo: Shutterstock by emka74

 

The song “Imagine” is certainly one of the greatest songs of all time. John Lennon wrote this song sometime after the Beatles officially broke up. Many articles and other source material, including an interview which Lennon was part of in 1980, disclose that Yoko Ono – Lennon’s significant other and life partner, was a co-author of this masterpiece. It is known that what inspired the writer to come up with such wonderful lyrics, among other things, was Ono’s book, titled “Grapefruit”. And this is not the only thing that Lennon and Ono did together.

“Imagine” had the most positive impact. The period of history when this song was released was very critical for the world! Many conflicts were coming to an end, and the song was specifically dedicated to ending the Vietnam War. The song related therefore to the urgent worldwide need for peace and resolution, to society’s dreams for a better world – hence, it got massive fame and attention. People were relating to it.

The lyrics of “Imagine” go:

Imagine there’s no countries,

It isn’t hard to do.

Nothing to kill or die for,

And no religion too.

Imagine all the people.

Living life in peace.

 

And this exact, utopian country is what Lennon and Ono had in mind when they were trying to create Nutopia.

 

What Do You Know about Nutopia?

Nutopia is a conceptual country, sometimes referred to as a micro-nation, which was founded by John Lennon and Yoko Ono on April Fools’ Day in 1973. When announcing the birth of this micro-nation, the couple declared that Nutopia would have no boundaries and “no laws other than cosmic,” according to the New York Times.

There is no leadership, and not all citizenships have been recorded. The population of this so-called “nation” remains unknown, as there was no leadership or citizenship recorded. This sounds amazing as a concept, doesn’t it? Even the name itself suggested that there would be a new, utopian society created, which would help bring to life the lyrics of “Imagine.” So why and how did Lennon and Ono come up with an idea like this, so bizarre and so unrealistic?

The whole idea of creating a new nation occurred to the power couple because, at the time, Lennon was being threatened with deportation for a 1968 marijuana conviction in Britain. Lennon’s wife, Yoko Ono, was equipped with permanent residence at the time, due to her former marriage with the film producer Anthony D. Cox. However, Lennon was given 60 days by the U.S. immigration authorities to leave the United States. John and Yoko had requested at the time that Nutopia be admitted to the United Nations. This was Lennon’s only hope to remain in the United States. And of course, this idea never really came to life and was denied as all principles forming the nation relied on an idealistic naivety. This is very much reflected in the declaration of Nutopia, which states the following articles:

 

DECLARATION OF NUTOPIA
We announce the birth of a conceptual country, NUTOPIA.
Citizenship of the country can be obtained by declaration of your awareness of NUTOPIA.
NUTOPIA has no land, no boundaries, no passports, only people.
NUTOPIA has no laws other than cosmic.
All people of NUTOPIA are ambassadors of the country.
As two ambassadors of NUTOPIA, we ask for diplomatic immunity and recognition in the United Nations of our country and our people.
YOKO ONO LENNON (with signature)
JOHN ONO LENNON (with signature)
Nutopian Embassy
One White Street
New York, New York 10012
April 1, 1973

 

We Surrender, to Peace and to Love

One can tell that creating such a nation would not be a very practical thing, especially considering the aspect of rationalism. But this did not stop Lennon and Ono from creating the symbols that would represent Nutopia.

Love and peace
Love and peace concept

The surreal nation had both a national anthem and a flag. The “Nutopian International Anthem” featured in Lennon’s album Mind Games, in 1973, whereas the flag is white. During the press conference in which the birth of Nutopia was announced, Lennon waved a white tissue, stating: “This is the flag of Nutopia—we surrender, to peace and to love”.

The Nutopian Embassy was considered the Dakota apartment, where Lennon and Ono lived.

According to Corynic.com, it is now possible to rent Nutopia — John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s fictional “conceptual country”, housed in a townhouse at 1 White Street in NYC — for just $19,500 per month. They add that the one-time embassy of peace and the micro-nation was purchased by an architect and his wife in 1980, shortly before John Lennon’s death — where they continued to get fan mail up until a few years ago. It was resold after that, and is now adapted to a white, Nutopian style apartment.

As unrealistic as it may sound, the nation of Nutopia keeps our hopes up that one day we will be able to evolve to the concept of global citizens. No passports, no citizenships, but with the freedom to explore the whole world. If something like that ever occurs, at least we have a declaration that’s all ready to go – the Nutopia declaration!

Photos: Shutterstock

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