Odense Tourist Attractions
FunenOdense, after Copenhagen and Århus the third largest town in Denmark, lies on the island of Funen on the important E20 main road from Jutland to Copenhagen; the town is located on the little Odense Å river which flows into Odense Fjord a short distance north of the town.
HistoryThe name of Odense first appears in the records in 988, when the Bishop of the town was granted a letter of safe conduct by the German Emperor Otto. No doubt it was originally a cult site devoted to the worship of Odin (Wotan); hence its name. In 1086 the Danish king Knud (Canute) was murdered in St Alban's Church here. Fifteen years later he was canonized by the Pope. An ecclesiastical center and place of pilgrimage in the Middle Ages, Odense survived secularization after the Reformation and remained an important commercial town. At the beginning of the 19th C. Kerteminde, 15 km/10 mi away, became the port of Odense. The Old Town was gradually occupied by shops and businesses, so that although it has preserved its original layout few old buildings remain.Odense's most celebrated son is the fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen (the initials H. C. are pronounced ho-tsay in Danish; the "d" in Andersen is silent). He was born here on April 2, 1805, but moved to Copenhagen - where he became famous - because he felt unappreciated in his native town, a resentment which can be "read between the lines" in his tale of The Ugly Duckling. Andersen died in Copenhagen on August 4, 1875.EconomyOdense has developed into a major industrial town; the harbor is linked by a canal to the Odense Fjord on the Great Belt. It has a wharf and iron and steel, electro-technical and textile industries as well as timber-processing.This scenic rail route features beautiful coastline scenery.
Odense hosts an international film festival in mid August. The festival features Danish as well as International documentary films. Admission to the film festival is free for screenings.
South of the Town
The South of Odense contains the Town Hall, St Knud's CHurch and the home of H.C. Andersen.
Odense Town Hall
The Odense town center around the Cathedral and Town Hall is a pedestrian zone. In Flakhaven, a square bordering the long street known as Vestergade, stands the Town Hall, the oldest part of which was built in red brick in the late 19th C., modeled on the Italian style. Further building took place between 1936 and 1955 in reinforced concrete faced with red tiles. It contains many works of art, including a sculpture "Spring in Funen". On St Knud's Square in front of the Town Hall can be seen a statue of St Knud by Utzon Franck.
St Knud Church
To the south of the Odense Town Hall stands St Knud's Church (Skt. Knuds Kirke), the cathedral of Odense. It is named after the Danish saint, Knud IV, who had himself begun the building which was dedicated to his name about 1100. This church was burned down in the 12th C. After a further great fire Bishop Giscio made a start on a three-aisled replacement in the 13th C., but this in fact took almost 200 years to complete. The present brick church has a square tower with a spire above the west end of the main nave.A feature of the interior of this Gothic edifice is the crypt below the choir, with the tombs of King Knud and his brother Benedict as well as sundry other kings and their consorts. Behind the High Altar stands a huge reredos with magnificent carvings, the work of Claus Berg between 1515 and 1534 on instructions from Queen Christina. In the center of the main panel Christ is portrayed on the Cross, while scenes from Our Lord's Passion appear on the side-panels. Paintings of the royal family adorn the predella. Note also the epitaphs, bronze font of 1620 and pulpit of 1750. The carillon in the tower is played several times a day.To the east of the Cathedral a park named after H. C. Andersen (H. C. Andersen Haven) stretches along the waterfront; in it stands a statue of the writer.
St Alban Church
On Albani Torv in Odense is St Alban's Roman Catholic Church.
H. C. Andersen Childhood Home
To the southwest of the Odense Cathedral, in Munkemøllestræde (Nos. 3-5), stands the house of Hans Christian Andersen's parents (H. C. Andersens Barndomshjem), a half-timbered house with a memorial plaque on the gable. Andersen lived from 1807 to 1819 with his parents in one of the little apartments in this house. In 1930 the building was furnished as a museum and is now a branch of the main Andersen Museum in Hans Jensens Strðde.
East of the Town
The East of Odense features the Hans Christian Anderson Museum.
Hans Christian Andersen Museum
At Hans Jensens Stræde 37-45 in Odense stands a single-story, half-timbered house which is believed to have been the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen (1805) and is now the heart of the Hans Christian Andersen Museum, which contains furniture, pictures, manuscripts and books belonging to the writer. Since its foundation in 1905 the museum has been extended on two occasions. On view is a large library with Danish and foreign editions of Andersen's works as well as a collection of illustrations to these stories. The domed hall of the museum, which was set up as a memorial hall in 1930, is decorated with scenes from the autobiographical book "Story of My Life"; the frescoes are by Niels Larsn Stevns.
Address: Hans Jensen Straede 37-45, DK-5000 Odense, Denmark
Carl Nielsen Museum
In 1988 a museum was opened at Claus Bergs Gade 11 in memory of the second famous son of Odense, the composer Carl Nielsen. It is a modern glass-fronted building with a well-lit interior. Visitors can see the room in which Nielsen composed, and all his works can be heard through an excellent stereo system, linked to a videoshow. The life and work of his wife, the sculptress Marie Carl-Nielsen, is also documented.
Address: Claus Bergs Gade 11, DK-5000 Odense, Denmark
Local History Museum
Going south from the Carl Nielsen Museum in Odense the visitor will come to the Møntergården at Overgade 48-50. This is the Old Mint, which now serves as a Museum of Local and Cultural History. The complex includes other typical houses of old Odense from the 16th and 17th C., as well as a Baroque warehouse. The buildings are furnished with interiors of various periods, as well as collections of costumes, ceramics, ecclesiastical art, toys, silver, clocks and coins. Particularly interesting is the exhibition "Odense in the Middle Ages".
North of the Town
The North of Odense contains the Fyns Museum and the DSB Railway Museum.
At Jernbanegade 13 in northern Odense is the Museum of Art (Fyns Kunstmuseum), which dates from 1883-4. Early Danish painting is represented by Jens Juel, Dankvart Dreyer and the Funen painters Peter Hansen, Fritz Syberg, Johannes Larsen and Jens Birkholm. More recent works include those by Asger Jorn, Richard Mortensen, Robert Jacobseb and Carl-Henning Pedersen. A special exhibition of Danish Concrete and Constructive Art forms a considerable part of the collection.
Address: Jernbanegade 13, DK-5000 Odense, Denmark
St Hans' Church
Near Kongens Have Park in Odense stands St Hans' Church, the oldest parts of which are 13th C., the choir being 15th C. The church was once part of a monastery of the Order of St John of Jerusalem. On the north wall can be seen a large 15th C. Crucifix, while the font is Late Romanesque. Outside the southwest wall is a pulpit which can be reached from inside the church; this is Denmark's only external pulpit.
The old monastery buildings were converted in the time of Frederik IV into a mansion, which lies behind St Hans' Church in Kongens Have. Frederik VII had it redesigned in 1841 in the Classical style. Today it houses council offices.
DSB Railroad Museum
In the northern part of Odense the visitor will find the DSB Railway Museum in a semicircular building at Dannebrogsgade 24. The museum was modernized and extended in 1988. As well as locomotives and railroad carriages dating from 1847 to the present day there is a ferry-ship exhibition and a large model railroad.
Address: Dannebrogsgade 24, DK-5000 Odense, Denmark
Outside Odense on the north on Skibhusvej stands the Peace Church (Fredenskirke), built 1916-20 to plans by the architect Jensen Klint; the design was originally intended for the Church of St Paul in Århus but this was never built. The Peace Church, an adaptation of Gothic brick churches and a preliminary study for Jensen Klint's famous Grundtvig Church in Copenhagen, is in yellow brick with a red-tiled roof and has five bays. Unusually, the choir is at the west end and the entrance at the east end. The front of the tower is divided into two gables ("tveje") with high vertical screens arranged like organ-pipes.
West of the Town
The West of Odense features museums and an important arts center.
In the west of Odense, at Brandts Passage 37-43, lies "Brðndts Klædefabrik", a former textile factory which is now an Arts Center, with shops, restaurants and cafes. Visitors are particularly attracted by the Art Hall, an exhibition hall covering an area of 1,600sq.m/17,200sq.ft. In rooms which once housed spinning-jennies and weaving-looms can now be seen paintings, sculptures and works from the fields of architecture, design and handicrafts. In addition, video demonstrations, concerts and lectures are given.
Address: Vindegade 73, DK-5100 Odense, Denmark
Danmarks Mediemuseum (formerly Danish Museum of Printing)
The Museum of Printing (Danmarks Grafiske Museum/Dansk Pressemuseum) on the third floor of the Brandts Klædefabrik in Odense illustrates the history of graphics and printing during the last 300 years. There are workshops for paper manufacture, book-printing and bookbinding, where old machines and tools are used.The museum of media often features exhibitions that focus on special selections throughout the year, including book of the year, and print and tv media commercials.
Address: Brandts Torv 1, DK-5000 Odense, Denmark
Photographic Art Museum
Brændts Klædefabrik arts center in Odense is home to an interesting Photographic Museum. Its collections are currently being built up and are the subject of temporary exhibitions.
Address: Vindegade 73, DK-5100 Odense, Denmark
To the south of the Art Center on the Odense Å is a mooring jetty (Filosofgangen) from where river trips can be made.
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