Denmark – Odense
The next stop on our Danish adventure was the city of Odense which is the main city of the island of Funen and the 3rd largest city in Denmark. This works out perfectly as Odense so located almost half-way between Aarhus and Copenhagen so, this was a logical stop on our Journey.
The city of Odense can trace its history back approx. 4,000 years and it was the last stronghold of a Viking king in the Scandinavian countries. The name Odense is derived from Odins Vé, meaning “Odin’s sanctuary” as the area was known as a sanctuary for worshiper’s of the Nordic God, Odin. That was enough of a reason to go there just to say, I was there.
Odense is home to the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen; who wrote many famous children’s tales; a number of manicured parks, numerous statues and a number of beautifully preserved churches. There is a significant commercial district with an extensive shopping district that should to be visited during the Christmas period as it adorned with all sorts of lights and decorations related to the celebration.
Hans Christian Andersen
H.C. Andersen is the author of a number of well-known children’s books and was born in Odense in 1805. When purchasing tickets to see the museums, entrance to all 4 museums across the city are bundles in a combined ticket for approx. 120 DKK.
To start the museum tours, H.C. Andersen’s childhood home is located corner of Hans Jensens Stræde and Bangs Boder in the old town. It is a yellow painted house as it was at the time of his birth and has been preserved as such. The main H.C. Andersen museum is located next to the Opera House where a collection of early art works and his adult life are displayed. The museum while interesting, were not as substantive as one would imagine for such an influential person but these museums are non the less important to visit.
To the left is an example of some of the cut-out art pieces that were typical of Andersen’s story telling. He was a man that would recall the tales and while doing so, would be fashioning these cut-out type puppets to be revealed at the end of the story as a build and grand finalé ending to the tale. A number of these artwork examples are displayed throughout the museum for you to see.
Some examples of his works are:
- The Tinder Box
- The Princess and the Pea
- The Little Mermaid
- The Emperor’s New Clothes
- The Ugly Duckling
The picture to the right illustrates some of the original artwork for a number of the stories that he had written and illustrated throughout his lifetime.
There is an open air museum where there are sections that cater for children that are allowed to interact with the exhibits and provide a feel of how life was at the time of H.C. Andersen.
Statues: Sea Horse, Wild Swans and Others
Odense has been adorned with a number of beautiful sculpture and statues. Many of these can be linked to H.C. Andersen and his fairy tales and others are there to pay tribute to the culture of artwork that is Odense. These can be found throughout the beautifully manicured parks and walkways throughout the old town in addition to
some of the other parks outside of the city center.
Do not feel that it is a waste of your time to go off the main tourist routes as you might well discover some of the beautiful art pieces located off the beaten track. The statues of the sea Horse, The Wild Swans and The Paper Boat can all be seen in the Munke Mose Park on the Odense A River.
There are 3 notable churches located in Odense namely Saint Canute’s Cathedral (Danish: Sankt Knuds Kirke), St Alban’s Church and Ansgars Church.
The first one we visiting was the Saint Canutes Cathedral (pictured here) which the largest Benedictine monastery in the whole of Denmark. There are a lot of technicalities concerning the history, architecture and so on that you can read up online should you wish to but known that this church is really beautiful.
The second Church that we visited on our tour through the city was the Church of St Alban which dates back to the 16th century. This one is located adjacent to the Odin Castle and has some really beautiful architecture to be admired. The church was originally constructed as a monastery however has been rebuilt and restored a number of times over the years.
The last church is that of Ansgards Church which is the youngest of the 3 being consecrated in the 19th century. It features a beautiful spiral bell-tower approx. 45m high. While this is another great example of the architecture of the time, we did not go inside or spend any considerable amount of time there as this is the least impressive of the 3 in the city.
Dogs are not allowed in the churches so you will need to leave them tethered outside.
Food Market & Shopping District
This was the major highlight after the H.C. Andersen Museum tour. Denmark is known as a very expensive country with regards eating out and on this basis, good quality street food markets have developed along with a vibrant street food culture. The Arkaden food market is a great place to escape the cold to a haven of warmth both physically and its atmosphere. Foods from all over the world are on offer from a number of micro restaurants where something for everyone is on offer.
This is a great place to meet people or go to with friends as there is ample seating with music and a great addition is the abundance of board games that can be used without charge. There are a number of bars with drinks to suit everyone’s taste.
The shopping district is a gem in the city centre with a mixture of shops and restaurants guaranteed to keep you interested. The shops sell an assortment of attire and footwear with much of the clothing being made either from wool or alpaca as the temperatures can be pretty chilly during the colder month. This is a great place to find authentic Danish articles to take home with you and a full afternoon and evening should be allowed for to shop and to visit the food market.
While dogs are allowed in the shopping district and are allowed in most shops and restaurants, dogs are prohibited from entering the Arkaden Food Market.
A Brief Summary
While this is a culturally rich city with much to see, I feel that 2 days to see it all is more than sufficient. We were 3 days in total there and felt like we could have seen what we wanted to in 1 less day. We did not include a visit to the Zoo into our trip as we have a world-class Zoo in Hannover and did not include this is our list. Should you wish to add this to your activity schedule then 3 days will be more than enough time to see it all.
It was overall a very successful visit and I do suggest that you visit Odense if there is a possibility to do so. The people were friendly, food & drinks were great and the city well maintained. The city is also undergoing a major upgrade in terms of its infrastructure which means you should expect a number of construction sites and reroutes should you be driving in the city.
If you have questions regarding Odense, leave me something in comments section and I will get back to you with an answer.