Getting out of Odense train station you face a square with a weird but yet interesting sculpture (pic 1).
The name of the square is Banegaardsplads (station’s square) but apart from the sculpture there’s nothing really to see here unless you are a journalist and want to check the offices of the local newspaper Fyens Stiftstidende that is located there :)
The building of the train station (pic 2) that faces the square (OBC-Odense Trainstation Center) was visited by us many times though, not only to take the train to Copenhagen but also to take our morning coffee (for only 15DKK). The buildings has some stores, a cinema at the third floor but we also visited the central Library, a colorful place (pic 3) that is located on the first floor. We went there by accident when we took the wrong escalator :)
Kongens Have (King’s Garden) is a nice park in the city center of Odense, opposite the train station and it covers an area of 20,000 sq meters.
First we saw the big statue of Christian IX riding a horse (pic 1) that is located there since 1912. Walking around the park we’ve heard a woman voice calling out some names! It was an installation (pic 2), where every time someone was touching it we could heard the voice!
Anyway, the main attraction of the park (other than the fact that it’s a nice place for a small picnic) is that it houses the Odense Slot (pic 3). The Odense Palace was first used as a hospital and a monastery before turned into a royal palace for King Frederik II in 1579. The gardens were built in 1720 by King Frederik IV that died in the palace in 1730. In front of the palace we saw the statue of Frederik IV(1671-1730), king of Denmark and Norway from 1699.
The baroque gardens were built to satisfy the royals. Later the gardens were turned into English romantic style gardens. Odense authorities made the park public in 1907 so now we can enjoy some very old trees, tulips and manoglias. We also checked the back side of the palace where there is another small garden with some lazy ducks, some sculptures etc (pic 5)
Although the palace is a landmark of the city and with great history background you can’t get inside as it is used for government offices.
Although it is very peaceful during the day it gets crowded every Thursday during the summer
months when there are concerts(19.00-22.00) for free!
Sct Hans Kirke is a church dedicated to Saint John. Unfortunately, it was closed during our visit and could get any information about it. It is located at the side of Kongens Have, a few meters away from Odense palace.
This is the church where Hans Christian Andersen was baptized in 1805 according to a wooden sign at the entrance, of course H.C.Andersen is the main attraction of the city anyway so after a small search on the net I’ve read that they have also put on the wall the official paper (from the National Archives of that era) that proves that he was baptized in this church! :)
Although we visited many museums, churches and parks in the city center of Odense we also loved the Old Town in general.
It was very relaxing walking around the pedestrian streets and checking the numerous half-timbered houses, drinking coffee in local café or just walk into unknown side streets just to check the next corner, some modern sculptures, buying ice cream at the local tiny spot etc…
Carl Nielsen Museum is dedicated to the life and work of the composer Carl Nielsen(1865 - 1931). The exhibition is small so you wont get tired and goes through chronological order through the story of his life and works but also part of the museum is dedicated to his wife’s work, the sculptor Anne Marie Carl-Nielsen.
Carl Nielsen even in his spare time, when he wasn’t busily engaged in his new job as a second violinist in the Orchestra of the Royal Theatre devoted most of his time to musical activities, writing music for string quartets, piano and songs.
In 1890 Carl Nielsen was awarded and spent the money on a journey abroad, he attended many operas by Richard Wagner but also visited various museums and art galleries. When he went to Paris he met with the 27year old sculptress Anne Marie Brodersen but I the photos I loved were the ones from his trip to Istanbul where they had a funny moment when the Turkish soldiers thought he was a Bulgarian spy when they saw him walking along the old fortress walls.
What’s more the museum also presents the life and artistic work of his wife, the sculptor Anne Marie Carl-Nielsen. Although we spent some time at this part of the collection too I preferred to read the info signs about their relationship etc But if you see Pic 5 you will see pictures of Nielsen, they were taken in 1888 when he was taking several grimacing and gestures while he was telling stories and anecdotes to Emilie Demant Hatt, a girl that he felt in love with in the summer of 1887.
By the way the building next to the museum is the Carl Nielsen Museum Concert HallCarl Nielsen Museum (Odense Kocerthus).
It’s open September to May Wed-Fri, 15.00-19.00 and Sat-Sun, 11.00-15.00
June to August, Wednesday to Sunday, 11.00 - 15.00
Hans Christian Andersen Museum(H.C.Andersens Hus ) is located on a picturesque corner of Odense city centre with numerous colorful houses (one of them is Andersen’s birth house) so no surprise that it’s probably the only place we saw so many visitors.
There are different halls (the Age, the Man, the Art, the Life, Birthplace, cabinet of Curiosities, Breathing space, Memorial Hall, the Work)
There’s also a small part (Nyhavn Room) where you can see items that once belonged to the writer, a reconstruction of his study on the first floor at Nyhavn 18 where he spent the last years of his life (he spent several periods of his life in Nyhavn, Copenhagen)
I loved the small sketches and travelogues that Andersen used to do while on travelling but we didn’t really get excited with anything else in the museum although we tried to read all the information signs etc Of course the most important is to read his stories which is “the real deal” about him and not some personal items like his hat for example that you can see in the museum.
Most of the kids wont really get excited inside the museum but they will love the small stage outside where they can enjoy actors playing some of Andersen’s famous stories. The one we saw for a while was in Danish, I’m not sure if they have something in English some time during the day.
The museum is open Mon to Sun, 9.00-18.00
The entrance fee is 60 DDK (8e)
The gift shop has some beautiful books with his tales but they are expensive (not more than in other stores though)
The Tinderbox (Børnekulturhuset Fyrtøjet ) is located next to H.C.Andersen’s museum and as we had the city pass we walked in for free just to check it out.
It is a nice place ONLY if you are a kid though, obviously the children that don’t care about information about the author will love the place where they can run, dance and play! Here they can listen a staff member telling the fairytales, they can wear costumes and sometimes they can take part in some of the fairytales which is great considering the fact that the children can actively participate in the dramatization of the tales. By the way the main theme changes every year so the local children find something different each time (Nightingale, Little Mermaid, Thumbelina etc).
There is also an area where they can paint and play again using their imagination and creativity.
We just took some pictures of the colorful interior, we saw the tired parents just waiting at the corner (bore to death) so after 10’ we decided to go somewhere else :)
It is open daily 10.00-17.00
The entrance fee is 85DKK or free with the city pass
I’m not really sure about this building (pic 1), there is a stone tablet on the wall, unfortunately written in Danish but obviously it had to do with H.C. Andersen again. There was a large group of tourists from China taking pictures of it but of course I couldn’t understand anything from their tour guide.
It must be the charity school where H.C.Andersen went to school between 1813-1819, simple lessons like some writing, mathematics and religion of course. He wasn’t the most popular student, not even a good one with lessons but the future would be much better for him. This was until year 1847 the city workhouse and poor school
Thanks to google translator now I know that the tablet on the wall (pic 2) reads Andersen’s quote: "Here I ran about with wooden shoes and went to poor school"
Then we walked down the street, it turns into a picturesque alley (pic 3) that leads down to H.C.Andersen park.
St Alban’s church(Sankt Albani Kirke) is a Roman Catholic church. I thought it was an old one but the foundation-stone was lain only in 1906, 7 years after the arrival of the first Austrian Redemptorists in Odense that collected the money for the church. But it was here, on the same site where King Knud was murdered on July 10, 1086.
Before we got in we took some pictures of the front side(pic 1), the architectural style is early gothic but the portal is Romanesque. Once inside we looked at the altarpiece (pic 2), the painting shows the Coronation of Our Lady in Heaven including the Archangel Michael, the apostles Peter and Paul and the large figures of St Alban and St Knud.
Then we checked some of the stain glass windows (pic 3) and the music organ (pic 4) that dates from 1920 (it was built by the Rieger firm in Bohemia and has 18 stops).
Finally, we checked St Knuds Chapel (pic 5), on the left is a statue of St.Joseph with infant Jesus, there is a baptismal font, and a statue of Mary with the crucified body of Christ. The stain-glass paintings show King Knud’s story.
We visited the Town Hall (pic 1) because the tourist office is located on the side of the building although I thought it was inside the town hall and we first wondered a bit inside the town hall on some empty rooms :) (pic 2)
What’s more in front of the Town Hall there was an open air market (pics 3-4) with tasty products, we tried some cheeses and smoked prosciutto
The Tourist Info (pic 5) is useful anyway because its not only a place where you can find maps, leaflets, info about hotels etc but also the place where you can but the City Pass. It costs 129DKK and gives you free entrance to every museum in the city and unlimited use of public transportation for one day.
The City Pass was very convenient for us because we had 2 full days so what we did was visiting some sites that doesn’t have admission (parks, churches, Carl Nielsen museum) the first day and we took full advantage of the pass the second day.
In front of the city hall is located a big statue of Hans Christian Andersen (pic 1), although there are many statues of him all over the city this is the most impressive. I have to admit though that I liked much more some other statues showing figures from some of Andersen’s fairytales, like the one you can see on pic 2
The statue at the back of Canute cathedral is also nice (pic 3), the spot is one of the most beautiful corners in Odense, it is actually the first thing you see as you walk into H.C.Andersen park.
The city of Odense is the birthplace of H.C.Andersen so it’s no surprise that there are so many statues of him and of course you can also visit H.C.Andersen Museum, his childhood home, the Andersne park etc
Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875), is not only the most famous Danish author and fairy tale writer but also popular due to his children’s stories like The Snow Queen, The Little Mermaid, The Steadfast Tin Soldier, Ugly Duckling etc
Odense Cathedral (St.Canute’s church) is the oldest and probably the largest church in Odense.
There was a travertine church in Romanesque style since 11th century that was built to house the remains of King Canute that was murdered in St Alban church in 1086. The church was burned down in 1247 and the church we see today was built 2 centuries later (in 1499) in gothic style, amazing that it took about 200 years to be completed! We took some photos of the cruciform shape of the cathedral and then walked inside to check the high vaulted ceilings and the rest of the interior.
The altarpiece that dates from the early 16th century is beautiful while the organ dates from 1752 (actually only the façade is original, the organ expanded and improved later).
We also visited the crypt where you can see on display the skeleton of King Canute and also his brother Benedict. There were a lot of nuns there visiting the crypt that day and obviously they took a lot of time there, we just took some pictures.
It’s open 10.00-17.00 (Sundays 12.00-17.00), visits are not allowed during services
H.C.Andersen Haven (Eventyrhaven) is a beautiful park located at the area SE of the Odense cathedral.
It was always a big garden with fruits and other useful things for the monks and later a place only for wealthy member if a book club!
When in 1941 the City Council decided to renovate the area around the Town Hall and the Cathedral the park came to life. Some buildings had to be demolished, the park finally opened to the public in 1945.
What we see today is a peaceful relaxing area, we spend some minutes walking around, the flowers were colorful, we loved the small winding river (pic 2) or just save some energy at the benches (pic 3), we also noticed many locals having picnic at many spots, we just had ice cream from a small kiosk.
By the way you will notice the statue of Andersen at the back side of the Cathedral (pic 4).
The park is open from sunrise to sunset and has no admission fee.
Walking in the city center along Vestergade is a must do especially if you are into shopping, many stores will attract your attention and will ask to empty your wallet :)
We just walked at this central pedestrian street which seems to be the main commercial street in the city, full of people most of the time (pic 1) it has a lot of street artists, musicians (pic 2) and some fountains and sculptures.
We had a tasty ice cream and checked some of the side streets on our way to Odense Theatre
Odense Theater was built in 1914 and since then it hosted hundreds of plays. The history of the theatre goes back to the end of 18th century though (1796).
The theater has 3 different stages with different capacity.
Unfortunately we didn’t have the time to check the interior or attend to any performance at Odense Theater but we walked by to check the building because it’s located at the city center a few meters away from Funen Art Museum. And I’ve read later that there is a restaurant at the top floor with nice view, if we knew that we may have been inside one of the numerous times we passed by.
Later in the day on our way to Munkemose we passed by Norregaards Teater/Teater monument(Theater Momentum) (pic 3) that was pointed on my tourist map but I found out that it’s not a monument but a new theater (founded in 2005). For those who are interested it’s located at Filosofgangen 19.