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City hall and Cathedral in Odense
City hall and Cathedral in Odense
Official seal of Odense
Odense is located in Denmark
Location in Denmark
Coordinates: 55°23′45″N 10°23′19″E / 55.39583°N 10.38861°E / 55.39583; 10.38861Coordinates: 55°23′45″N 10°23′19″E / 55.39583°N 10.38861°E / 55.39583; 10.38861
Country Denmark
Region Southern Denmark (Syddanmark)
Municipality Odense
Established 988
City charter 1355
Municipality 1970
 • City 304.34 km2 (117.51 sq mi)
Elevation 13 m (43 ft)
Population (2013)
 • City 170,327
 • Density 560/km2 (1,400/sq mi)
 • Metro 191,610
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 5000-5270
Area code(s) (+45) 6
Website www.odense.dk

Odense (Danish pronunciation: [ˈoðˀn̩sə] ( )) is the third largest city in Denmark. It has a population of 170,327 (as of 1 January 2013)[1] and is the main city of the island of Funen. The city is the seat of Odense Municipality, with a population of 195,598 (as of 1 October 2013), and was the seat of Odense County until 1970, and Funen County from 1970 until 1 January 2007, when Funen County became part of the Region of Southern Denmark.


The HQ of newspaper Fyns Tidende in Odense following a schalburgtage attack on 26 May 1944.
For the Catholic ecclesiastical history, see Roman Catholic bishopric of Odense

Odense (from Odins , meaning "Odin's shrine", referring to the god Odin of Denmark's indigenous Norse mythology), is one of the oldest cities of Denmark and had its 1000th anniversary in 1988. To celebrate this, a forest named "the Thousand Year Forest" (Danish: Tusindårsskoven) was cultivated. The shrine of Saint Canute (Danish: Sankt Knud / Knud den Hellige) in Saint Canute's Cathedral held great attraction for pilgrims throughout the Middle Ages.

In the 16th century, the town was the meeting-place of several parliaments, and down to 1805 it was the seat of the provincial assembly of Funen.

Odense's most famous landmark was Odinstårnet (The Odin Tower) constructed in 1935, as the second-tallest tower in Europe, only surpassed by the Eiffel Tower with its 177 meters. Odinstårnet was blown up by a Danish Nazi group in 1944 and has never been rebuilt. However, a miniature model of it now stands in the residential area Odinsparken in the area where the original tower was.

Until the beginning of the Danish industrial revolution, Odense was also the second-largest city in modern Denmark, but has in recent times been overtaken by Aarhus.


Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV), the Honorable Donald C. Winter receives a tour of the A.P. Moller-Maersk’s Odense Steel Shipyard.

Several large industries are located in or near Odense. The biggest sales auction of vegetables, fruits and flowers (GASA) in Denmark is situated here. The Albani Brewery brews the local Odense Pilsner amongst others.

The commercial national television company TV 2 is based in Odense.

In the south-eastern part of Odense the Rosengårdcentret shopping mall is located. The mall dates from 1971 and is one of the largest in Denmark with 100,000 m2 of commercially used area and 153 stores.[2]

Odense is the commercial hub of Funen, its retail businesses serve the surrounding cities. The city center houses a shopping district with diverse stores.

The city's central location in Denmark makes it one of the national convention and congress centers.


The main campus of the University of Southern Denmark is located in Odense. A branch of University College Lillebaelt (Danish: University College Lillebælt) can also be found in Odense. Odense is home to 8 Gymnasiums (Grammar schools), a business school, a vocational school, 21 state grade schools as well as a number of private schools.

Tourist attractions[edit]

Winter at Skovsøen in Fruens Bøge, Odense
The Momentum Theatre
Odense Palace
The Café Biografen cinema
Sign post

Saint Canute's Cathedral (Danish: Sankt Knuds Kirke) was formerly connected with the great Benedictine monastery of the same name, and is one of the largest and finest buildings of its kind in Denmark. It is constructed of brick in a pure Gothic style. Originally dating from 1081–1093, it was rebuilt in the 13th century. Under the altar lies Canute (Danish: Knud), the patron saint of Denmark, who had planned to conquer England, then ruled by William of Normandy. Canute was slain in an insurrection at Odense in 1086. Odense is also the see of the bishop of Funen. The cathedral has the skeletons of both the Saint/King and his brother on public display. A large fragment of Byzantine cloth is displayed next to the two skeletons. The cathedral also boasts one of Denmark's finest altarpieces, a magnificent triptych by Claus Berg. Kings John (Danish: Hans) and Christian II are buried in the city.

Our Lady's Church, built in the 13th century and restored in 1851–1852 and again in 1864, contains a carved 16th-century altarpiece by Claus Berg of Lübeck.

Odense Palace was erected by King Frederick IV, who died there in 1730.

There is a theatre as well as a symphony orchestra, a zoo, and the Funen Village (Den Fynske Landsby) which is an open-air museum with old houses typical of Funen.

The City Hall has a small scar from a battle between Germans and members of the Danish Resistance on 5 May 1945. The city's coat of arms – located above the main entrance to City Hall – is damaged. On closer inspection, it can be seen that the kneecap of Saint Canute was penetrated by a bullet.

The 4 most visited attractions in 2007 were:

1. Odense Zoo – 420,254 visitors
2. The Funen Village – 105,040 visitors
3. Danish Railway museum – 97,759 visitors
4. H.C. Andersen's House – 80,622 visitors[3]

Other attractions:


The city lies close to Odense Fjord on the Odense River (Odense Å). A 7.5 metre (25 ft) deep canal, dug from 1796 to 1806,[4] gives access to the town's harbour from the fjord.

By road, Odense connects to Zealand and Jutland by way of the Funish Motorway (Fynske Motorvej), a section of the E20, and to Svendborg on the southern part of Funen by way of the Svendborg Motorway (Svendborgmotorvejen), which comprises the Danish route 9. Other, smaller routes connect Odense to the rest of Funen, with direct links to all coastal towns.

Odense's main railway station Odense station lies on the line between Copenhagen and Jutland, the peninsular mainland. International trains connect the town with Sweden and mainland Europe, i.e. Stockholm. SJ has a direct X2000 train to Stockholm daily, taking 7 hours to the capital city of Sweden. Local and regional trains link Odense to the rest of Denmark. A separate passenger railway (Svendborgbanen) operates between Odense and Svendborg. Formerly, railways connected Odense to most of Funen's coastal cities, but these links were closed down in the 1950s and 1960s.[5] Today, these regional routes are served by buses operated by the public company FynBus, which also operates the town's municipal bus service, connecting the town's suburbs to the city centre.

Accessibility to Odense was greatly increased when the ferry service between the two main Danish islands, Zealand and Funen, was replaced by the Great Belt Bridge – opened in 1997 for rail traffic, 1998 for road traffic. When the bridge opened, it was the second longest suspension bridge in the world. Its construction greatly cut transportation time between Odense and the Danish capital, Copenhagen. Copenhagen can now be reached by trains from Odense in 1 hour and 15 minutes and Aarhus in 1 hour and 33 minutes.

Odense is served by Odense Airport, which operates regular flights only during the summer months.


Odense is the home of a number of football clubs. The most important are OB, BM, B1909, and B1913.

The Odense Bulldogs are a professional ice hockey team based in Odense, Denmark. They are playing in the best Danish League Al-Bank Ligaen, as the only team from Funen.

In tennis, Tennis Club Odense located near Odense River is the most successful in Denmark, having won numerous gold medals at the Danish Championships throughout the years.

The H.C. Andersen Marathon and Eventyrløbet is held annually in Odense.

RC Odense represents the city at rugby in combination with Lindø RSC.

Notable residents[edit]

Pavement decoration from the 2005 Hans Christian Andersen year


The land area of Odense is 304 km2, with a population density of 611 per km2 (2005 figures from Helsingin Seudun Aluesarjat).

The population of Odense city, as of 1 January each year, according to Danmarks Statistik:

Year Population Year Population
1976[6] 138,348 1999 144,940
1981 136,646 2000 145,062
1986 137,286 2001 144,849
1989 138,339 2002 144,636
1990 138,986 2003 145,374
1992 140,886 2004 145,554
1994 143,029 2006[7] 152,060
1996 144,518 2007 158,453
1997 145,354 2008 158,163
1998 145,296 2009 158,678

Twin cities[edit]

For a full list of twin cities, see Odense Municipality

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Population 1st January, by urban areas" database from Statistics Denmark
  2. ^ Rosengårdcentret. "Om Rosengårdcentret – Rosengårdcentret" (in Danish). Retrieved 2 February 2010. [dead link]
  3. ^ Odense Municipality Statistisk 10 års oversigt 2008 -Tabel 40 [1]
  4. ^ Thestrup, Poul; Dorrit Andersen, Niels Oxenvad. Odense bys historie. Mod bedre tider. Odense 1789–1868 (in Danish). Odense Universitetsforlag. pp. 193–200. 
  5. ^ Danske Jernbaner (2008). "danskejernbaner.dk – Oversigt over danske jernbaner, stationer og deres historie" (in Danish). Retrieved 2 February 2010. 
  6. ^ Statistics Denmark tabel BEF4A 1976–2004
  7. ^ Statistics Denmark tabel BEF44 2006–
  8. ^ "Kaunas. International Relations. Partnership". Retrieved 2011-11-18. 
  9. ^ "Twin Cities". Odense Municipality. 22 June 2012. Retrieved 6 July 2012. 

External links[edit]

Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.