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Odense

 

Odense
Photo by Jixar

The majority of Danish more or less big cities are groups on the island of Jutland, which is probably the most important part of the country.

But there are cities in the rest of Denmark that are equally attractive and promising. They also contain a rich history and cultural heritage. One of those cities is Odense, located on the island Funen.

Odense is the 3rd biggest city of Denmark. Its population is 168,798 (as of 2012). The city doesn’t play an active role in international life today but its first mention dates back to the best part of Danish history, 988 AD. The text is from a letter from German Kaiser Otto III.

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Home to Hans Christian Andersen

Hans Christian Andersen
Photo by pcambraf

The storytelling master Hans Christian Andersen was born in Odense. Some of his most popular stories were originated here, containing characters that were imitating the locals, describing landscapes and houses that existed in Odense.

It’s incredibly impressive to know that the streets you set your foot on were once the playground for one of the most influential writers of all times. 

Of course, the city has undergone many changes and renovations since Andersen. New and modern trends reached this beautiful city as well. Despite that, there are still some houses and buildings that haven’t changed a bit.

While walking around the city, pay attention to the stones you step. There are 13 granite stones spread all over Odense. These stones relate to sites and buildings that are somehow connected to Hans Christian Andersen.

Odense Theater, which was once considered to be one of the best, is a part of this city. The theater has played an important role in the works and life of Andersen. Although only some buildings related to Andersen remain standing today, you can still trace back the storyline of his life.

The whole city has been a participant in his works. An example of this is the Odense prison, which served as a venue for family celebrations. Andersen’s grandmother was married to a convict, whom both visited from time to time. As a child Andersen saved bad memories from this place, it later found its place in his stories.

Hans Christian Andersen Museum

Hans Christian Andersen Museum
Photo by solvangca.com

The house where Hans Christian Andersen was born now serves as a museum that gives a small piece of the poet to every visitor.

At the time when Andersen was born, this home hosted not only his family but 4 others.Since 1908 it has been turned into a museum that keeps the memory of the great storyteller bright in our minds.

The Hans Christian Andersen Museum has 8 permanent exhibitions. Some of them tell about the time period Andersen lived in Letters. Others touch upon his personal life and work.

There are letters (more than 8000), pictures, books, personal items and other things on display. You will step out knowing and most importantly, understanding the Danish pride and their greatest poet.

Hans Christian Andersen Parade is held in Odense every year from June to August. The parade features the characters from his stories, in the most creative ways.

The museum is open all week, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.It also has a souvenir shop that offers T-shirts, postcards, and most importantly, books by and about Hans Christian Andersen, the Danish hero of literature.

Funen Art Museum

Funen Art Museum
Photo by allcountries.org

Funen Art Museum is an expression of variety in a city where everything radiates with Andersen.

The museum features the history, development, and outcomes of art in Denmark from 1750 till today. Almost all artistic movements included in that period are on display here.

The exhibitions include paintings, sculptures, graphics, and so on. In fact, the main focus in all exhibits lies on graphics and color, whether it’s a painting or a sculpture.

The  museum works all week except Mondays and is open for public from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

The collection of the museum is definitely a gift to art-lovers and appreciators, but it’s not all. The building itself is an artwork worth many mentions. It was built specifically to house art, archeological and zoological collections in 1885. Hence, it’s the first museum of the city of Odense.

It bears a frieze on the facade, telling visitors about Danish history and mythology. In addition to that, the statue of Greek goddess of science, courage, inspiration and art (and not only) Athena rests on one of the gables.  

Funky Monkey Park

Funky Monkey Park
photo by dinby.dk

After soaking in some knowledge, it’s time to refresh with adventures. Funky Monkey Park is Denmark’s largest  climbing park.

The best thing about Funky Monkey is that you can visit it with the whole family and still enjoy every bit of it.

The park offers dozens of lanes and cable-ways elevated up between the trees that will challenge your courage and flexibility.

However, it’s not only about climbing and jumping. There will definitely be some obstacles on your way to the final destination. You must overcome every one of them or be very clever to avoid them.

Monuments

Paper Boat
Photo by visitodense.com

Odense is full with monuments, most of them in the form of sculptures. The city looks more like a gigantic sculpture park rather than a city.

They are basically hidden all over the city, making the presence of Andersen inevitable.

Of course, the majority of sculptures are inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy-tales. The sculpture of a Mermaid is just to name one of them. The sea girl with half-legs and half-tail is almost flying in the air. The statue was unveiled in 1998.

The next impressive monument is to Andersen’s  Steadfast Tin Soldier. A huge paper boat sales in a lake of Andersen’s Garden. The tin soldier was desperately in love with the dancer but he also wanted to get out and see the world.

So he ended up on a paper boat, very similar to this, only made of real paper and not from stainless steel.  The list doesn’t end with these two, it also includes the Flying Trunk, Lovers’ Twist, the Sea Horse, and many other wonderful works of art.

Churches

sct. Albani Church
Photo by morten.kaplak

Odense visitors can broaden their experience with Danish churches. In fact, there are more than 10 churches in Odense.

The white modern Munkebjerg Church is one of the few contemporary Danish churches. Its futuristic design stands as a clear contrast to Danish traditional architecture.

Sct. Albani Church is another church that must be visited if you are interested in Gothic style. The bell tower rises high to stand as a reminder of the artistic value of Odense.

Tornbjerg Church is another new church that features contemporary art. Clear lines, solid color, and powerful atmosphere.

This is what describes the church. Again, it must be visited if you are a 21st century person. For those who got stuck in time and styles, Sct. Hans Church is a wonderful site. Built in 1250, it presents the best of Gothic and Renaissance styles.

Quick Facts

  • Status – 3rd biggest city of Denmark
  • First mention – 988 AD in a letter from German Kaiser Otto III
  • Location –island Funen
  • Population – 168,798 (as of 2012)
  • Peculiarities – home to Hans Christian Andersen
  • Attractions – Hans Christian Andersen Museum, Funen Art Museum, Funky Monkey Park, Munkebjerg Church, Sct. Albani Church, Tornbjerg Church, Sct. Hans Church, etc.
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