Free ports often were established to promote certain political objectives, but between the political drawing board and the reality on the ground there could lie a great distance. Sometimes free ports developed local practices and cultures that started from improvised responses to sudden situations. These events could colour the social, cultural and legal identity of the free port to a dramatic extent. Many myths and stories about different kinds of persons, groups of actors and institutions operating in free ports are famous. In our project we want to give a more structured account of how all these different agencies were cooperating or not to create the everyday on the ground reality of free port life.