Odense: H.C. Andersen City

AFTER A COUPLE OF DAYS IN COPENHAGEN AND NORTH ZEALAND, Yanyan and I rent a car again to get around Denmark, with the plan of leaving the capital just after breakfast and reaching Aarhus in the evening. After a few hours of cruising Denmark’s scenic highway, we reach Odense in the afternoon.

Odense is the largest city in Funen (the smaller of Denmark’s two main islands) and the third-largest in the country. It’s Funen’s commercial and industrial hub, with a number of companies housed here. It also has a vibrant cultural scene and great shopping opportunities. For most visitors, though, Odense is forever linked to fairy tale-meister Hans Christian Andersen. The author of stories such as The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, Snow Queen, and The Emperor’s New Clothes was born here.

Hans Christian Andersen’s house, now a museum, is located in a charming neighborhood of Odense.
Statues of Odense’s most famous son pop everywhere in the city like mushrooms.
Traditional half-timbered buildings are a common sight in Odense’s old town.
The Møntergården Museum contains artefacts relating to Odense’s early Viking history.
Odense’s shops, restuarants, cafes, and bars are located within easy access of the city center.
The Neogothic structure of the St. Alban’s Church is a prominent sight in Odense.

Odense spares no efforts in living up to this reputation, with statues and numerous structures built around the city honoring him. His silhouette is even used in the traffic lights.

In particular, Andersen was born in a small house on a street close to the city cathedral. This house has since been turned into a museum, which shows various objects – documents, writings, illustrations, and others – providing a glimpse of the author’s life and times. The neighborhood where the museum is located is also an attractive place for a stroll especially at sunset, when the golden rays of the sun casts a romantic glow on the cobblestone streets.

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