Odense is the third-largest city in Denmark. The city is the seat of Odense Municipality. Odense has close associations with Hans Christian Andersen who is remembered above all for his fairy tales. He was born in the city in 1805 and spent his childhood years there.
Several major industries are located in the city including the Albani Brewery and GASA, Denmark’s major dealer in vegetables, fruits and flowers. The city is home to Odense Palace, erected by King Frederik IV who died there in 1730, the Odense Theatre, the Odense Symphony Orchestra, and the Hans Christian Andersen Museum, situated in the house that was the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen. In sports, Odense has a number of football clubs including OB, BM, B1909, and B1913, the Odense Bulldogs professional ice hockey team, and the city also hosts the H.C. Andersen Marathon. Odense is served by Hans Christian Andersen Airport and Odense station, which lies on the line between Copenhagen and the Jutland peninsula.
Geography and climate
Odense is situated in the northeastern centre of the island of Funen. The Odense River flows through Odense, to the south of the main shopping quarter.
To the north of the city is the Odense Fjord, and to the northeast, along the 165 road to Kerteminde is Kerteminde Fjord. The fjord is accessed through the narrow passage of Gabets, between Hals and Skoven, and is connected by canal to the Port of Odense.
The eastern side of the bight between Fyns Hoved and Skoven, 5.5 metres (18 ft) to the south, is irregular, with a beach and hills behind it, and to the south of the bight is the small, shallow Korshavn Bay, with the Korshavn Light in the vicinity. Skoven is a bare, rugged peninsula, with Dalby Bay (Dalby Bugt) to the east.
Odense has a temperate oceanic climate, classified as Köppen zone Cfb. Mild summers feature average maximum temperatures exceeding 20 °C (68 °F), while winters are characterised by minimum temperatures dropping just below freezing. The hottest months on average are July and August with highs of 21 °C (70 °F) and daily mean temperatures of 17 °C (63 °F) and 16 °C (61 °F) respectively. The coldest months are January and February, with a daily mean temperature of 0 °C (32 °F), and lows of −2 °C (28 °F) and −3 °C (26 °F) respectively.
Odense is Funen’s most important industrial and commercial centre, and the city’s central location in Denmark makes it one of the national convention and congress centres. Enterprises include the Albani Brewery, ABB (Asea Brown Boveri), Kansas Workwear (clothing), Plus Pack (canning and containers) as well as manufacturers in the electrical sector such as Riegens / SG Lighting. In recent years there has been a general trend from manufacturing into the service sector.
The Rosengårdcentret shopping centre is located in the south-eastern part of Odense. The centre dates from 1971 and is the largest in Denmark with 140,000 m2 (1,500,000 sq ft) floor space and more than 150 shops as well as restaurants, a cinema and a fitness centre. A wide variety of shops can be found in the city centre, especially on Kongensgade and Vestergade and adjacent pedestrian streets.
Tourism is an important source of income for the city. In 2008 Odense Municipality was listed seventh in Denmark for turnover on tourism, reaching 1.6 million Danish kroner for the year. In 2011, Odense Zoo was Funen’s most popular tourist attraction.
Nightlife in the city culminates in Brandts Passage, which contains numerous restaurants, bars and cafes, such as the Envy-Lounge, Australian Bar, Brandts Kladefabrik and Cafe Biografen. The jazz club, Jazzhus Dexter, is situated on the Vindegade. Other notable nightlife venues include Franck A, Froggys and Club Retro. Restaurants include the Cuckoos Nest bar and restaurant, the Brasserie Klitgaard, the Den Gamle Kro, set in a 17th-century half-timbered house, Kvægtorvet, run by leading chef Klavs Styrbæk who serves fresh fish and meat dishes, which is now closed, and the Under Lindetraet in an 18th-century cottage opposite the Hans Christian Andersen house which serves Franco-Danish cuisine. Hotels of note include the Radisson SAS HC Andersen Hotel, the First Hotel Grand with its brasserie bar, the 68-room Old English-style Clarion Collection Hotel Plaza, City Hotel, which is in close proximity to the Hans Christian Andersen museum, and the 140-room Danhostel Odense City.
Nonnebakken, a hill in the Odense area, is the site of one of Denmark’s six former Viking ring castles, built during the reign of Sweyn Forkbeard, who had forced his father Harold Bluetooth to leave the country and seek refuge by the Jomsvikings in Wollin (modern Poland) in around 975. The fort provided its occupier the command of the Odense River passing next to the hill. The archaeological remains of the fort were heavily damaged when a building for the Odd Fellow lodge was constructed on the site during the late nineteenth century.
Palaces and theatres
Odense Palace was erected by Frederick IV, who died there in 1730. Now an administrative building, it stands on the site of Sankt Hans Kloster, a 15th-century monastery which was transferred to the Crown in 1536.
Odense Teater, first established in 1796, is Denmark’s second oldest theatrical enterprise and one of the country’s three main theatres. It is notable in theatrical history for staging the première of Henrik Ibsen’s first contemporary realist drama The Pillars of Society on 14 November 1877.
Teater Momentum or Teater uden Ryglæn, publicly funded by the municipal government and the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, is also of note.
Odense Symphony Orchestra (Odense Symfoniorkester), one of Denmark’s five regional orchestras, was formally established in 1946. The orchestra is based in Odense Concert Hall, which was inaugurated in 1982.
Hans Christian Andersen
Remembered above all for his fairy tales, Hans Christian Andersen was born in Odense in 1805. It is thought his birthplace is the small yellow house on the corner of Hans Jensens Stræde and Bangs Boder in the old town. In 1908 the house was opened as the Hans Christian Andersen Museum. It documents his life from his childhood years as the son of a struggling shoemaker, to his schooling, career as an author, and later life, with artefacts providing an insight into his acquaintances and adventures. Andersen’s childhood home is on Munkemøllestræde not far from the cathedral. He lived in the little half-timbered house from the age of two until he was 14. Opened as a museum in 1930, the house contains an exhibition of the cobbling tools used by his father and other items based on Andersen’s own descriptions.
Throughout the city there are numerous statues and sculptures representing characters from the stories of Hans Christian Andersen. They include the Steadfast Tin Soldier, the Mermaid, the Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep, the Toad, the Darning Needle, the Emperor’s New Clothes, the Sea Horse, the Paper Boat, the Flying Trunk and the Wild Swans.
There is also a distinctive statue of Andersen in Eventyrparken (The Fairy Tale Park) beside the cathedral. Sculpted by Louis Hasselriis in 1888, it shows the storyteller with a book in his hand, ready to entertain onlookers with his fairy tales.
The museums in Odense are mainly governed by the Odense City Museums, a department of the municipal government. Funen’s Art Museum (Fyns Kunstmuseum), formerly The Museum of Funen’s Abbey, is one of Denmark’s oldest art museums, dating to 1885. It contains the principal works by Jens Juel, Dankvart Dreyer, P.S. Krøyer and H. A. Brendekilde. The open-air The Funen Village museum (Den Fynske Landsby) tries to emulate what country life was like in Denmark at the time of Andersen’s life and contains houses of historical Odense.
The Carl Nielsen Museum is dedicated to the life of Carl Nielsen and his wife, the sculptor Anne Marie Carl-Nielsen. It documents his life from his childhood in the town of Nr. Lyndelse, to his career and success on the European music scene, with his violins, his bugle and his grand piano on display, as well as a number of his musical scores, including six symphonies, three concertos, two operas, and chamber music and numerous songs.
The Møntergården cultural history museum of Odense is one of the most notable remaining Renaissance buildings of the city, built in 1646 by the nobleman Falk Gøye.
The Danish Railway Museum is the national railway museum of Denmark, the largest such museum in Scandinavia.
The Brandts Museum of Photographic Art (Museet for Fotokunst) in Odense is the only national Danish art museum dedicated specifically to photographic art.
The mayor’s administration
Peter Rahbæk Juel. Tel. 65 51 10 00.
Mayor’s Secretary Marlene Ditlevsen. Tel. 65 51 10 03.
Stefan Birkebjerg Andersen. Tel. 65 51 10 01.
City Director Secretary Sanne Lundager Jensen. Tel. 65 51 10 06.