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Expat in Germany: Top 10 Things to See in Odense Denmark

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Top 10 Things to See in Odense Denmark

I had never heard of Odense until a recent trip to Denmark, but I became almost immediately enchanted with Denmark's third largest city and home to Hans Christian Andersen, Odense's claim to fame.  Odense has a welcoming feeling, but its more than that.  Perhaps its the local pride of Odense citizens at keeping the stories of Hans Christian Andersen alive that permeates life in Odense.  Regardless, I didn't stop smiling during my visit. 
 #1.  Probably the only place in the world, where in the tourist areas, the traffic lights feature a walking figure of Hans Christian Andersen, and likely the last photo I will ever take of a traffic light.
#2.  The Hans Christian Andersen Museum is worth a visit and you can even visit the house he grew up in.  The photo above is the view from the room where Hans Christian Andersen was thought to be born.  Hans Christian Andersen became famous while he was still alive so many of his personal belongings are on display at the museum, including intricate paper cuttings that he used to do. 
#3.  Right beside the Hans Christian Andersen Museum, is The Tinderbox, a children's cultural center where children's own stories come to life.  I can't recommend The Tinderbox enough if you have children.  Creativity in numerous forms is encouraged and judging by the enthusiastic children we saw, kids love it!
#4.   In summer this park is home to three plays a day centering around Hans Christian Andersen.  It is also a popular outing with locals who will bring along a picnic lunch.
#5.  If you're lucky enough you may just happen to run into Torben, who is out of costumer here, but has played Hans Christian Andersen over 6000 times all over the world.  He's quite the character and his love of Hans Christian Andersen is evident.  We ran into him on a Sunday afternoon.  Talk about meeting the locals!
#6.  While public access is not allowed into this historic building, I included it because it is a seniors home where additional care is provided to those who can no longer live on their own.  It is in the heart of Odense.  I loved how central it was and think it says a lot about a community that devotes prime real estate to some of its oldest citizens.
#7.  This street is right across the street from where Hans Christian Andersen grew up.  It's in the central part of Odense and with its cobblestone streets and well cared for historic houses it's hard to imagine that at one time this was one of the poorest areas of town.  Today, it's quite the opposite.  I could have wandered these streets for hours!
#8.   Biking the river in Odense, past parks and historic rambling houses with well maintained gardens is a great way to see a part of the city enjoyed by locals.  Bike rentals are readily available in Odense and its a very bike friendly town, with 50% of its citizens biking to school or work everyday.
#9.  There are a couple of very old historic churches in Odense which are beautiful and reminds you that Odense is rich in history.

#10.  Statues of characters from Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales are everywhere.  Our guides said that locals feel it is their responsibility to keep the memory of Hans Christian Andersen alive.  I must say they do a good job of it and it's fun to try and figure out which fairy tale the statues are from.  Any guesses on the second photo?  I admit I had to ask our guide.

From my observations, I think its safe to say that the citizens of Odense would have made Hans Christian Andersen proud. 

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12 Comments:

At November 17, 2010 at 11:24 AM , Anonymous Andrew said...

Neat pictures. I remember mostly the train station with the movie theater. For some reason I really didn't take to Denmark. Maybe it was going in March that did it.

 
At November 17, 2010 at 11:29 AM , Blogger Expat in Germany said...

Thanks! How did I miss the movie theatre in the train station? I thought I would like Denmark, but it surpassed my expectations, I loved it!

 
At November 17, 2010 at 11:38 AM , Anonymous Cathy Sweeney said...

How cool that you ran into Torben! Very nice presentation of Odense and the world of Hans Christian Andersen. I haven't been to Denmark nor have I spent much time learning about it, so this was a terrific educational as well as entertaining article for me. Like your photos, too.

 
At November 17, 2010 at 11:40 AM , Blogger Expat in Germany said...

Cathy, I know we were so lucky and chatted with him for about 10 minutes or so. He said he never gets tired of playing Hans Christian Andersen. I didn't know much about Denmark before I went either.

 
At November 17, 2010 at 4:03 PM , OpenID struxtravel.com said...

When I visited Denmark I only saw Copenhagen....now I wish I had ventured out more!

 
At November 17, 2010 at 5:41 PM , Anonymous inka said...

It really looks like a toy town, not only the tinderbox and the museum.

 
At November 18, 2010 at 9:14 AM , Anonymous Norbert said...

Wow! Odense is really proud of Hans Christian Andersen. How cool! Looks like a lovely city to visit.

 
At November 18, 2010 at 10:28 AM , Anonymous The NVR Guys said...

How idyllic!

 
At November 18, 2010 at 11:43 AM , Anonymous Ayngelina said...

I've met so many people from Denmark in Latin America that were so interesting it's moved Denmark to my travel bucket list. Thanks for giving me even more reasons to go.

 
At November 18, 2010 at 12:31 PM , Blogger Expat in Germany said...

I also enjoyed the train ride to Odense, it's nice to see a bit of the country, and see how flat it really is. Well put Inka, I certainly loved it! Ayngelina, I loved the Danes, they were so friendly and it seems well traveled. I met some great people while there and hope to return to do a bike trip there in a couple of years.

 
At November 21, 2010 at 9:07 PM , Anonymous Zoe said...

I grew up on Hans Christian Andersen stories. Nice to see that the person behind these childhood memories is still well taken care of in Odense.

 
At November 29, 2010 at 10:42 AM , Blogger Expat in Germany said...

Agreed Zoe, the local pride in keeping his stories alive is commendable!

 

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