A March 2002 trip
to Odense by Scubabartek
Quote: Located on the island of Fyn (Funen), Odense extends a warm invitation to travelers looking to explore its history, looking to forget themselves among its parks and gardens or those wishing to learn about Odense's most famous son: Hans Christian Andersen.
A visit to Sct. Knuds Church (The Cathedral) is a must as well. It is one of most beautiful gothic churches in Europe, dating back to the XV century. Sct. Albani Church, the local Catholic church, is also worth exploration.
Of course there are also a slew of other museums in Odense, with some of the most interesting ones being located at Brandts Passage. This is where Denmark's only Museum of Photographic Art is located, as well as The Art Gallery Brandts Klædefabrik, and the Danish Museum of Printing. Leave yourself a few good hours to explore these museums.
Once you get to Odense, the choices become much clearer. This charming but small city, is best explored on foot and is a great place to get lost in. While wandering the streets near the Odense river you can discover beautifully preserved old houses whose inhabitants are as curious about you as you are about them.
Another great option (in a good weather) is to explore Odense on a bike. These you can rent cheaply at City Cykler which have two locations at Vesterbro 21 and Vesterbro 27.
And there are plenty of busses if you're going to explore away from the city center (free rides with your Odense Adventure Pass).
Place is well lit, with a glass-covered veranda as well as some outdoor seating, which was unavailable in March though. With all the light coming in, the greenhouse effect is in full swing here, especially on sunny days, so the windows and doors usually stay open (or we'd suffocate inside). Outside the café, an outdoor stage is visible on which, as I was told, Danish children perform plays of Hans Christian Andersen's fairytales during summer. I imagine this place would be packed by watery-eyed parents at that time, so this was one of the rare times I was glad it was still winter (although I wouldn't mind some fairytale entertainment by the little Odensians).
The menu is quite limited, offering a medley of smørrebrød, burgers, salads and other miscellaneous items, which all look very appetizing. Presentation is excellent (Danish design at its best, heehee...) and the dishes are really tasty. In the liquid refreshment field, they offer a variety of sodas, teas, coffees and a limited assortment of liquors (I swear I saw an aquavit bottle behind the counter).
According to my Danish host, prices at this place are unbelievably cheap. Most menu items cost fewer than 50 kroner (around 6 US bucks), so dining here won't leave a hole in your wallet. That's most likely true, but to be honest I didn't feel that Denmark was all that expensive in general (except the hotels perhaps). Then again, US dollar got me more than 8 DKK this time as compared to 5 DKK in the 90's.
For more information you can check out Café Fyrtøjet's web site, which unfortunately comes only in the Danish variety. But at least you can understand some of the menu if you click on the knife and fork icon.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 2, 2002
Hans Jensens Stræde 21
66 13 53 29
Also known as A Cultural House for Children, Fyrtøjet offers the youngsters an opportunity to experience Hans Christian Andersen on their own level – through enjoyable playtime. When children arrive here, they first assemble in an auditorium resembling a castle and listen to a selection of Andersen’s fairytales told by one of the staff storytellers. Afterwards, when the mood is right, they put on makeup and costumes appropriate for a particular fairytale and get to play on the set right out of one of Andersen’s stories. The stage is crafted to resemble the world of Thumbelina or the Ugly Ducking or one of many other beautiful tales known to children around the world. These painstakingly crafted sets are changed every several months, so kids can come here again and again and experience something new every time.
When they are tired of playing, children can go upstairs to draw, paint, listen to music or more fairytales, or simply to relax. Many enjoyable activities await the children at the Tinder-Box.
For parents, what could be more pleasing than watching their kids frolic around in princess’ or fairy costumes. But if watching their kids gets tiresome, they can quietly slip away to Café Fyrtøjet for some coffee or lunch.
Fyrtøjet is located right next to Hans Christian Andersen’s Museum near the center of Odense. Most events are hosted in Danish, but arrangements can be made for English-language events if you register in advance.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 4, 2002
Fyrtøjet - Tinder-Box: Cultural House for Children
Hans Jensens Stræde 21
The brick church dates back to the end of the XI century, although not much of the original remains (some wall remnants can be seen in the crypt). Its current shape and size goes back to the XVI century, right before the Reformation.
Without a doubt, the two most strikingly beautiful parts of the church are the altar and the organ façade. The altarpiece, which was finished in 1523 after a decade of carving by Claus Berg, is an example of a triptych: a three-paneled folding altar. It depicts, like most Christian altars, scenes from the life of Jesus Christ including a central crucification scene. The base panel of the altar shows Queen Christine (who has ordered and paid for the carving), King Hans and their children.
Opposite the altar is the other showcase piece of the church: a wonderful organ, which is frequently utilized in concerts of both church as well as classical music (There is something about the organ façades that I find very holy).
In the lower level of the church (which is accessible from both sides of the altar) visitors can view a sepulcher where the royal family, along with some other famous citizens of Odense is buried. Here you can also witness the earthly remains of King Knud (for whom the church is named) who was brutally murdered in 1086 during a peasant revolt. His brother Benedikt’s remains are also on display.
I found it very interesting and yet another example of "Danish duality" that Odense’s largest Protestant church is named for a Catholic saint. And that people of Odense went to such great lengths and expense to restore the church to its original look: during the pre-Reformation, Catholic times.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 12, 2002
Sankt Knuds Kirke
When you visit Odense, it is impossible to avoid running into reminders of its most celebrated citizen, Hans Christian Andersen. So it would be best to simply immerse yourself in his heritage and start off your city tour with a visit to Hans Christian Andersen’s Museum.
The museum is situated in an 18th century house in which the author has been born and spent a small part of his childhood. It contains a smorgasbord of Andersen’s memorabilia, pictures and photographs, samples of his writings and artwork as well as a library that contains works of Hans Christian Andersen that have been translated in over one hundred of the world’s languages. The most impressive part of the museum for me was a large hall displaying wall-sized murals by Danish painter, Niels Larsen Stevns, which depicted major events of the author’s life. From his childhood and a traumatic departure from home, to his accession as Odense’s honorary citizen, the paintings give a visitor a quick and concise introduction to Andersen.
The museum is a necessary stop for anybody interested in the author’s history. For me it was an incredibly educational experience that enhanced my appreciation of Andersen: realizing the scope of his writing (hundreds of works) and seeing examples of his sketches and paper cutouts. He wasn’t just an author; he was a multifaceted and talented artist as well.
Entrance to the museum costs 35 Danish kroner for adults and 10 Danish kroner for children. Entrance is free with Odense Adventure Pass. For more information on the museum, visit it’s web-site at Odense Bys Museer.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 14, 2002
Hans Christian Andersen’s Museum
Hans Jensens Stræde 37-45