Historiens Hus City archives plus reading room in the old monastery

Historiens Hus
Culture | Klosterbakken 2, Odense C | Written by: Pil Lindgreen | Photo: Hannibal-Bach | 17 recommendations

Behind the Cathedral is a paved yard. No one ever goes in there, as it looks like access is reserved to priests and priestly things. But if you do go in and walk in the direction of the blossoming laburnum on the right-hand corner, you get to the History House.

Here you may get shocked by the fact that both a library, a reading hall, an auditorium, and a nice green view over the cloister yard are hiding behind the arched ceilings. All of it is entirely public and open for all.

On the first floor is Odense's best hidden reading room, in the middle of the library, with fourteen seats of pure cloisterly reading peace. The atmosphere is medieval through art nouveau — the building sits on Skt. Knuds Cloister's ground but was home to fabric manufacture during Odense's golden industrial years. Here, on this most sacred ground, stood Odense's first steam engine as early as in 1839!

This may be why the cloister burned down in the beginning of the next century. In 1919 the place was rebuilt to host a multi-culture house with the public reading room. Here the archivists are still ready to help you, or to let you mind your readings and thinkerings under the reading lamps. 

Everything in this place tells a very human history. On top of their recurring events in the series 'Husker du...' (a kind of collective reminiscence-lectures about specific places and times, where the participants also can contribute with memories) and 'Torsdagsmik' (morning lectures with coffee and bread rolls), the History House regularly arranges events that draw on the vast knowledge that the Local Historic Archive and the National Archive have what life in Odense was like in the past.

At the History House I learned for instance that Odense between 1983 and 1991 had a women's book café called Basviola. It was located in Grønnegade, it had curvy 80's-style letterings on the windows, and on top of selling books it regularly hosted the meetings of five groups: SF's womens group, Women Advice, Women over 40, the Lesbian Movement, and the Working group for women studies at Odense University (as it was called back then). No men allowed, it goes without saying.

This exciting piece of information turned up into my life during a lecture at the History House about the Redstocking movement in Odense. Here in the audience were a number of the leading figures in the activist movements of that time, who contributed to the discussion with corrective commentaries. Titillating both for my curiosity and for my understanding of how the city is driven by those people that want something and do something about it. And when either those people or the zeitgeist disappear, places disappear too, often without any trace.

What drives the History House is a fusion of written and oral stories. Whenever the city changes its looks — as it is doing right now — it is always fun to remind oneself that it's happened before, and that it is only our city for a short while. Being reminded of all the layers of other people's movements on (and behind and under) every facade makes me even happier, whenever I walk around town.

  • Mon - Tue: 12.00 - 16.00
  • Wed: 10.00 - 16.00
  • Thu: 14.00 - 19.00
  • Fri - Sun: -
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Nordatlantisk Hus A must-see architectural gem by the harbour, home to an worthwhile restaurant serving New Nordic cuisine with a North Atlantic twist

Nordatlantisk Hus
Eating | Nordatlantisk Promenade 1, Odense C | Written by: Brian Lindskov Larsen | Photo: Hannibal-Bach | 20 recommendations

You can’t say you’ve been to New Odense until you’ve made your way to the harbour. Odense Harbour is not only a pretty sweet spot, it is also home to several major attractions of the city. And Nordatlantisk Hus is one of them. From afar it looks dangerously cool and un-Odensian and once inside you’ll find a remarkable restaurant serving up a slice of the North Atlantic at a reasonable price.

Grey cliffs and luminous icebergs have inspired the shape of this architectural gem, where icy blue glass birds circle above your head. This striking building was built in collaboration between Greenland House and Odense Municipality and houses the city’s finest student accommodation on its upper floors. Below, in an unbeatable setting, you’ll find a very special restaurant serving delicacies from Greenland and the Faroe Islands in the spirit of New Nordic cuisine. It may not be Noma, but it is delicious and affordable.

Go there for their abundant brunch with the best home-made Nutella you’ve ever had and a harbour view. Eat inside, on the terrace or take away.

Apart from the restaurant, Nordatlantisk Hus also offers occasional concerts and exhibitions with a North Atlantic twist. Their gift shop is open Thursdays and Fridays 1 pm – 6 pm, Saturdays 11 am - 2 pm.

  • Mon - Fri: 11.30 - 23.30
  • Sat: 10.00 - 23.30
  • Sun: 11.30 - 16.00
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Vollsmose Bibliotek A cultural stronghold with community spirit doubles as library and event house

Vollsmose Bibliotek
Culture | Vollsmose Alle 10, Odense NØ | Written by: Jakob Cæsius Krohn | 22 recommendations

“Out on the edges they're mixin' the colors/ Some they don't like it but me I don't mind” (Iggy Pop).

When my kids were very young, Vollsmose was the destination for their first long bicycle ride. We wanted to see the Children’s City. After traversing the idyllic path along the river – with views of pollarded trees in true Hans Christian Andersen style and polkadot ponies like Pippi Longstocking’s – we stood facing the enormous high-rise blocks on Vollsmose Allé. I don’t recall the kids expressing much admiration for or interest in the natural splendour (they were top busy complaining of fatigue and thirst), but my son’s first comment upon arrival was “MEGA nice!”. He immediately added ”The church looks like a prison” – and he’s right; at least, it is hard to tell it apart from the local Aldi. My daughter’s comment, on the other hand, was value neutral: ”Why are there so many brown people here, dad?”

In later years, Vollsmose has made a bad reputation for itself through gang showdowns, especially the one culminating at the Eid celebration, where men left by the dozen to ravage the hospital’s casualty department, and through the commotion around poet Yahya Hassan’s visit that (according to my source) had policemen stationed in every shrubbery in Vollsmose, and through the terrifying “dog-walker case”. However, it seems to be the case that most of the crime originates from a core of troublemakers, or even a small number of families. Experts have even stated that there is more crime in other Odense neighborhoods, naming Bolbro and Skt. Klemens.  Nonetheless, Vollsmose continues to enjoy a motley reputation, even to the extent that students of journalism at University of Southern Denmark have been advised to look elsewhere for research material for their projects.

I have always gone about the vilified streets of Vollsmose in safety. As recently as the early 1970s, it was also the site of a landfill, whose flammable underground produced yellow fetid vapours in the same area that is now home to one of the city’s most charming oases. Vollsmose has returned to its old standing as a place of recreation for the citizens of Odense, much like Stige Ø. And even if Vollsmose is flanked by two-lane roads on all four sides, it is not so much a black square as it is a black diamond, calling for light and life in the shape of an extended system of road and paths supporting new social and urban development strategies.

I have been told that if you insist on using the word ’ghetto’ about Vollsmose, you have to pluralize it, as each of the six ”parks”, each named after a good old Danish tree species, are home to 10.000 inhabitants of very different nationalities. But I wouldn’t know. During the couple of years that I worked in the area, I never once entered a single housing block. I haven’t visited the ‘bog’ for ages, so this is my cue. I think I’ll get on the old velocipede and go along the river path.

I know about Vollsmose because of a youth club and a leisure club, both with a compelling name: Ragnarok and The Diamond. But also because of Vollsmose Torv (previously known as Vollsmosecentret and Center Øst), which for me is, on the outside, the epitome of the architectural style “brutalism in concrete”; but on the inside it is memories of shopkeepers so overwhelmingly friendly, that on a gloomy day I would have to avoid being confronted with their brilliant smiles. But then one could turn to the “old Danes”, like the mysterious “Santa Claus” with the long white beard and the wheelchair, the irritable kiosk owner with the combover, or the crass guy with the cowboy outfit and beer cans by the entrance. Or the regulars at “Mosen”, which has now been well hidden under the center. Yes, I bloody miss them all.

But much has certainly changed since the last time I was there. Vollsmose Torv is a bit of a Klondike, where shops and restaurants come and go. I will therefore take a whole tour around the center, buy my groceries, and take a look inside the fine library, where poet Viggo Madsen once held court; then bust a move up the green spiral staircase and into Vollsmose Kulturhus, which - just like Kulturmaskinen in the city - is a place for conferences and all sorts of creative activities. Here you can also enjoy concerts, theater, movies and communal eating. 

Apropos wolves, it is argued that Vollsmose was given its name by the Germans - of all people! - because the wolf shrieked there in the old days.

  • Mon: 13.00 - 18.00
  • Tue: 10.00 - 16.00
  • Wed: 13.00 - 18.00
  • Thu - Fri: 10.00 - 16.00
  • Sat: 10.00 - 14.00
  • Sun: -
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Odense Stadion OB will win the gold - next season...

Odense Stadion
| Højstrupvej 7T, Odense V | Written by: Bo Jessen | 8 recommendations

I understand why some people are sick of football and those who write about soccer. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Football is not just a game but a myth of biblical proportions; full of emotion, devotion and (local) patriotism. Sure, there is hatred there, but also unity, compassion and mercy. It is the world of massive egos as well as incurable altruists; it is a story about us – about society. Politics, revolution, the struggle of ideas and of culture, in the original sense of the word, and art – it is all there, even on a field in Bolbro on a rainy day.

The game of football is imbued with inherent values, captivating the attention of billions of viewers: from perfect, playful, almost teasing chassés of Prosinecki, to the aesthetics of ugliness exemplified in a badly timed tackle or a victory for the lesser team. In no other sport does it make sense to talk about deserved or undeserved victories – in football, it might.

Even the world that surrounds the game of football is special. There is a reason why football fans around the globe don’t just watch matches between Real Madrid and Barcelona, even though they’d find the most beautiful play here. Football is a mirror to society – its story is that of a working class pastime that those in power adopted as their own, and today football is played in the explosive field between romance and commercial interest, in a war between fans and market forces. Think of Camilla Martin on TV, sponsors gaining ever more influence, and TV-stations wanting to influence clubs. Football is the only sport that can make people sing in unison on this scale without paying or forcing them to do it. Football is the only sport that has brought down governments, started wars and freedom movements, as described by Franklin Foer in his work on globalization; How Football Explains the World.

Take Prosinecki: a Yugoslavian (some might say Croatian) otherworldly dribbler, who played alongside a certain Zvonomir Boban on the Croatian National team in the 1990s. On May 13 1990, Boban played for Dinamo Zagreb against Red Star Beograd in a match that has since come to be known as the point of no return for the Croation War of Independence. Only a few weeks prior to the match, Croatia had held its first multiple-party election in almost 50 years, in which the parties favouring Croatian independence, led by the nationalist Tudman, had won the majority of votes.

Present at the match were around 3,000 Red Star fans, who had travelled to Zagreb, including a later Serbian war criminal, Arkan. After stones were thrown at the stadium, the tension escalated into a fight between supporters of the opposing teams and when a policeman hit a Dinamo Zagreb supporter, Boban interfered with a now-infamous flying kick that propelled him to instant national hero-status in Croatia. That the policeman was a Bosnian Muslim, who was just doing his job, wasn’t a concern at the time.

Take a look at the gruesome footage and don’t tell me football isn’t important.

Come by the stadium and enter into the spirit of the game. Take part of life on the grand stands. We all know that more people at concerts result in more concerts. Equally, more people at the stadium will make the team better. And we need that these days.

Ticket prices starting at 50 kr.

  • Mon - Sun: -
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Møntergården Funen-centric historical museum in a Medieval square with an award-winning addition and a treehouse

Culture | Overgade 52, Odense C | Written by: Pil Lindgreen | 13 recommendations

Ever seen the history of the world through extremely near-sighted Funen-centric optics? Ever cried a tiny, apple-flavoured local-patriot's tear from sheer love of this green island?

Spanning the Ice Age across the Middle Ages and Renaissance, history is retold in the Funen dialect, (somewhat) figurately speaking at Møntergården. In my entire lifetime, and long before, this museum of local history has been sitting squarely in cultural category of 'old stuff exhibited in old places'. In 2013, an extension revived the museum with a new exhibition telling 'the story of an island' through modern technology. The best thing about the architect-designed new wing is the section covering 19th and 20th Century working class and industrial history of Odense, movingly told through artefacts like letters from local, early big-time capitalist Brandts to his faithful factory workers and plentiful examples of the cloth, iron and glassware that used to be produced right here in a not-so-distant past.

But you don't actually need to pay the entrance to get a whiff of Møntergården's magic. On foot, you get a full view of the museum: the 2013 wing has been sensitively placed among heritage buildings and cites, in its use of colour, the surrounding half-timber black, rooftile reds and wall ochre. The contemporary structure was not to everyone's tastes, but the new urban spaces arising from new and old buildings' juxtapositions are appreciated by all. Most surprising of all is the unlikely bond between the new Møntergården and the much-reviled modernist police headquarters across the street (courtesy of architect Christen Borch in 1953). One new building in an idyllic old part of town is a headache; two new buildings constitute a dynamic!

So much for the new. To me, Møntergården is still essentially Falk Gøyes Gård from 1646; resembling a sleeping red dragon with its back to Overgade and making up a closed courtyard with the even more ancient poorhouse, Pernille Lykkes Boder, from 1617, on the other side. Its contents are not gamely presented on screens and in surround sound, but then again I have always been a sucker for history told according to the principle of literal time travel: homespun cloth, the smell of smoked meat, old walls and pinecones in the stove may be easy points, but they come a long way in adjusting the brain to the idea of what life might have been life in a market town in the year 1600.

The low ceilings and tiny doorways of the former poorhouse stimulate the imagination just by being there, and the inner courtyard, cobbled, host to Christmas markets, is the perfect setting for those city walks and children's activities that the museum excels in. 

My own fondness for Møntergården dates back to the time when I was a junior archeologist at the museum's archeology club for children, Hugin & Munin, and I spent a whole day escavating (carefully planted) roman coins in a sandpit placed in the cobbled courtyard. This tradition for living history - the kind that you can taste or have splashed across your face - is still going strong at Møntergården, whether in the form of beer brewing or gladiator-fights in the recently established spaces between new and old.

  • Mon: -
  • Tue - Sun: 10.00 - 16.00
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StudieStuen Perhaps Denmark’s cosiest study spot. Cheap coffee, used books, and intimate events

Culture | Nedergade 12, Odense C | Written by: My Rasmussen | Translated by: Pil Lindgreen | 26 recommendations

Your home away from home. A place where you can immerse yourself in studies, drink cheap coffee, and have a snack while you snuggle up in blankets, clatter with your boxed lunch, and procrastinate by gazing at the artwork (which is changed four times a year) or perusing the bookshelves. If you find a particularly interesting book you can buy it, and when you have passed your exams and would rather chew off your own arm than look at your textbooks again, StudieStuen will gladly sell them for you.

StudieStuen is furnished with reclaimed furniture. The lamp shades have fringes, the blankets are crocheted. There is that really comfortable chair, the slightly-too-hard chair, and the wobbly chair. Homely and unpretencious.

There is no cheesy diner music (but rather some soothing jazz or something as rare as silence) nor will you get the familiar atmosphere from study halls, with their soundtrack of frenzied typing, sending your blood pressure off the scale.

The concept appeals to every student, who does not long for the campus experience at the far-off University but rather enjoys taking a break by stepping straight into the city centre. Or a conversation with other students, of course, with no scowls or shushes from the more ambitions specimens.

StudieStuen also provides the setting for an array of arrangements that reflect the interests of the volunteers. This small space has been a knitting club, a dance studio, a song studio, a lecture hall, a board game room, a concert venue, a poetry parlor, and much, much more. But more than anything it has been a drop-in-centre run by friendly volunteers, who all know each other and have created an atmosphere of familiarity.

A friendly, open family with room for everyone.

  • Mon: 10.00 - 18.00
  • Tue: 10.00 - 21.00
  • Wed: 10.00 - 18.00
  • Thu: 10.00 - 21.00
  • Fri: 10.00 - 18.00
  • Sat - Sun: 10.00 - 16.00
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Danmarks Jernbanemuseum Give in to your childlike love of trains and wear tweed to the museum

Danmarks Jernbanemuseum
Culture | Dannebrogsgade 24, Odense C | Written by: Mikkel West | 18 recommendations

My childhood fondness for trains always flares up when I see a proud steam locomotive. I sense the presence of history and am reminded of the formerly all-important role of railways in Danish infrastructure.

At The Danish Railway Museum, they are having a ball paying tribute to railway culture - that is, to art paying tribute to railway culture. Recently, a symphony orchestra played Lumbye's "Steam Railway Galop" there and later that same season, the museum screened Lars von Trier's "Europa" among the trains.

In connection with Kulturnatten, the Railway Museum hosted a poetry slam in the high-ceilinged exhibition hall, where steam locomotives sit quietly among train accessories of yore The museum seems to like the juxtaposition of old iron and cultural events, and have launched the quite appealing concept JernbaneKULTUR (RailCULTURE).

The train's movement through the landscape, arrivals, departures, the roar of the engine, the random encounters with other travelers; all of this has fueled art since the dawn of time, or rather, the dawn of railways - trains are dynamos for music and literature and it actually makes a lot of sense to use this setting as a platform for art.

And railways deserve our tributes. Even if, after 132 years, it still seems to surprise DSB that leaves fall from the trees every other season, and the prices may be grotesque, but apart from that, trains are the most convenient and wonderful mode of transportation. Show up in your best set of 1930s tweeds and take a steam engine selfie.

  • Mon - Sun: 10.00 - 16.00
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Munke Mose & Stryget Ball games, BBQs, and sunshine on the river bank… or art, ice cream, and sailing

Munke Mose & Stryget
Sights, Parks, Nature & Activities | Munke Mose, Odense C | Written by: My Rasmussen | 19 recommendations

Have your evening pilsner on the bank of Odense River with the sun on your face and surrounded by unbusy people on blankets. Leap between water lily petals on the Fairy tale playground, sail to the ZOO with a riverboat, or jump in the water on your last day of school.

The park is the southern bastion of the Latin quarter where the best of city and nature is gathered in one place; water, trees, grass, duck feeding, aafart (sailing), art exhibitions, sculptures, and playground. A nice place to hang with your friends, with disposable grill and beers in the summer time. And a place just as suited for swinging your ponytail and flashing your gravity-defying sporno body in a neon tracksuit.

On sunny days, there is always at leas tone silver ghettoblaster, releasing tunes from past decades. On the playground: kids. In the open lawn areas: drunken people. So, a good opportunity to hear a truth or two.

  • Mon - Sun: 0.00 - 24.00
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Stige Ø Former wasteyard — now green hills by the bay with a wealth of outdoor activities

Stige Ø
Sights, Parks, Nature & Activities | Østre Kanalvej 7, Odense C | Written by: Katarina Le Müller | 9 recommendations

Summer on a budget? Maybe you should go on a hike to the former wasteyard, now recreational area, Stige Ø. Pull the plug, take your tent, your camping stove and a (warm) sleeping bag on your back and go camping with your favorite bottle of booze on the top of Stige Ø, where the view over the city is quite good.

Stige Ø is Odense's Amager Fælled. Space and kilometers. A big and hilly recreational area. Here you can escape the city and enjoy the wildlife. This is where the good jogging happens. This is where the mountainbike-people do dirt jump. This is where we go out and lay in shelter and make bonfires and ride our bikes and run on the hills and fly kites and get wind in our hair and look out to the water - this is the good life. Whatever it is you might want to know about the island, you can find it here: http://www.stigeoe.dk (in Danish).

Have you used up your entire vacation budget buying ridiculously expensive cold beer at Roskilde, or do you just want to test your survival skills within a convenient (bike) radius, then I recommend that you pack your camping gear and take a trip to our own little "trash island". Here you will find free shelters and great outdoor experiences waiting for you - whether it's catching your own dinner on the island's fishing spots, pretending to be an amateur ornithologist looking for white-tailed eagles, patting the wild horses, or just enjoying the evening while the silence descends - there is plenty to see for those who think nature is awesome. And if you do not feel quite SO adventurous, or simply do not have the time, then you could still just spend a couple of hours exploring the hills and the many activities that the island has to offer.

But I have also just heard that Stige Ø is the place where junkies that can't pay their debts get their fingers cut off. "When a drug addict is told to get into a car, late at night, and driven out to Sige Ø, (s)he knows perfectly well what's going to happen."

This undeniably adds a little extra suspense to our shelter tour. This is - also - Odense. See you on Stige Ø.

  • Mon - Sun: 0.00 - 24.00
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Munkebjergskolens Observatorium Gaze into eternity with a telescope from 1897

Munkebjergskolens Observatorium
Sights, Parks, Nature & Activities | Fengersvej 6, Odense M | Written by: Bo Jessen | Translated by: Pil Lindgreen | 1 recommendations

There is an observatory at Munkebjergskolen.

When reading that sentence, people’s reactions fall in two categories. You either think: “An observatory? As in, a place to look at the stars? In Odense? At a school!?”, or you feel a surge of joy of recognition from your own school years, when first you viewed yourself in a cosmic context and first felt the insignificance of your own existence simultaneous with a desire to dream for bigger things.

I belong in the latter category. The observatory is – like many other places in Odense – one of the treasures that we forget to appreciate; one of the riches of our city that we’ve forgotten all about – the only public observatory on Funen. But it is still here.

In 1917, Seligman – a rich, Jewish doctor from the coastal town Middelfart, which back then still a genuine part of Funen – died.  Seligman was an amateur astronomer, and in his will he left his exquisite telescope to the Odense public school system in the hopes of contributing to the foundation of a public observatory to the benefit of school children and other citizens.

It took 17 years of trying to decide where to place the observatory before the telescope was removed from its box in the attic of Odense Katedralskole and installed at the roof of the then-newly built Munkebjergskole. In 1934, the city hadn’t caught up with the school yet and being still surrounded by open fields, it wasn’t much affected by light pollution.

The telescope, then one of the finest in Denmark, is still there. But despite many restorations by its conservator Erik Clausen it no longer measures up to contemporary standards, and the increased light pollution from street lamps make it impossible to view galaxies and nebulas through the telescope. It is, however, one of the most striking and well-preserved pieces of technology from its time still in use, and through it you can gaze at the moon, double stars and star clusters. The moon, especially, is worth a look.

When you lean in and look through the turn-of-the-centery Carl Zeiss optics, you’re not only looking at a the lighst from distant world, long since disappeared, you’re also standing in a spot occupied by thousands before you; thousands who have felt the same as you do.

The Observatory is open on Mondays, regardless of weather conditions, in the following seasons: February 1 - April 1 and September 15 - December 1:

Visitors are let in between 7.50 and 8 pm at the northern main doors in the schoolyard.  

On clear starry nights, a bright white lamp is lit outside the dome, and the observatory keeper will manually open the dome. Admission is 20 kr, and a visit it well worth that price.

If you’re unsure whether the weather warrants a visit or not, you can get in touch with the observatory keeper at info@munkebjergskolensobservatorium.dk or via facebook, where occasional events are also announced.  

  • Mon: 19.50 - 23.00
  • Tue - Sun: -
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Odense Zoo The best little zoo in Europe. Green and friendly with enough space (for humans)

Odense Zoo
Sights, Parks, Nature & Activities | Sdr. Boulevard 306, Odense C | Written by: My Rasmussen | 11 recommendations

In my younger days, I often strolled through the ZOO; potential lover in one hand and a flask of heartening spirits in the other. Now my visits are with my daughter and a self-indulgent ice cream.

But it is no less enjoyable. Because, even though Odense ZOO in 1930 was the tamest ZOO imaginable – a peacock, two monkeys, a deer, a mole, and some guinea pigs were what was on show – the attraction is now truly attractive and in both 2013 and 2015 it won the award for Best European ZOO in its category (with up to 500,000 annual visitors - only awarded every second year).

This is mainly because the ZOO has managed to make cages into more than crates of containment: The enclosures have become narratives. The rocks and roaring waterfall in the lions’ enclave eccho Pride Rock from The Lion King; the ring-tailed lemurs romp in an abandoned vanilla-warehouse; and the noise of wings whistles overhead in the largest aviary in Europe.

Still, the favourite is the manatee, which bobs about in its jungle swamp bassin with the appearance of an inept kid’s drawing – strange proportions and short of details. Yet, I find myself forgetting time and place watching this big, grey beast hovering in the water, chomping on lettuce. It is absolute, peaceful bliss.

Remember that Odense ZOO serves both very bad and very expensive food, so it is worthwhile preparing lunch befoerhand and enjoying it on the savannah with a view of grazing zebras.

  • Mon - Fri: 10.00 - 17.00
  • Sat - Sun: 10.00 - 18.00
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Den Fynske Landsby
Sights, Parks, Nature & Activities | Sejerskovvej 20, Odense S | Written by: Katarina Le Müller | 7 recommendations

Den Fynske Landsby (Funen Village) is arguably the cultural institution in Odense I have the closest relationship with - I have visited the place uncountable times during my upbringing, under quite different circumstances. Here I have fooled around both during and outside of opening hours when my father worked on the realization of “Svinedrengen” (The Swineherd); here I had the authentic My-Funish-Childhood-experience that time I wore real clogs and all too little sunscreen (thanks Dad); here I was an extra in some play about local hero no. 2, Carl Nielsen. It was also here that I saw for the first time Jeppe på Bjerget in a stunning setup, where you followed the poor protagonist around the village -- from the farmhouse where he was beaten up by his wife with Mester Erik, to the pub, where he would drink all his money up, and over to the manor house, where he would wake up to a new (and unfortunately short-termed) reality.

I COULD be harsh and describe Den Fynske Landsby as Dansk Folkeparti’s dreamland: a seemingly historical time warp, where only people with money and interest in the Danish cultural heritage are allowed. But that’s not (entirely) true: the village just outside the soon-to-be mini-big-city is a fantastic escape destination for families, because here is where grandmom's childhood stories blend with tales from Emil of Lönneberga, talks about animal welfare, agricultural policy and village communities as well as an interest for animals and machines. And if neither you nor your family are equipped with fun facts about the Denmark of the 1800s, there are luckily living stories (link in Danish) and guided tours during opening hours.

So even though there are way too few buttons to press and the whole thing smells a bit old, Den Fynske Landsby is just a crazily cozy place to have a picnic at, and spend a few hours together across generations.

  • Mon - Sun: -
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Davinde Sø Cool freshwater lakes for hot, happy summer days in the company of good people

Davinde Sø
Sights, Parks, Nature & Activities | Hudevad Byvej 20, Årslev | Written by: Anders Skovgaard | 5 recommendations

Is it still summer? Still sunny, still warm? Still time for cold beer, summer reading and skinny-dipping? Then there's nothing better than jumping in - whether it’s in beer, in literature, or in the water! 

While we would normally take a trip out to Hasmark, Kerteminde or - if anything - a lazy swim in the open-air pool, I’m going to suggest a somewhat obscure and definitely overlooked alternative: Davinde lake! 

The lake has long been one of Odense’s hidden gems and I myself have only recently found out about it. The area is a former gravel pit, which has been transformed into a series of lakes surrounded by the purest nature - green and leafy. 

More precisely, the area is called Tarup-Davinde and it’s situated on the road to Ørbæk. You can easily ride your bike there, but if the kids are not totally bike-ripe yet, or you have packed all 24 volumes of Grimberg’s world history in your backpack, then it might be a little too far. Odense Kommune has prepared an info-page about the area with various route suggestions, so it’s easy to plan the trip in advance.  

Read more about the lakes here.

  • Mon - Sun: 0.00 - 24.00
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Friluftsbadet One of Odense’s most iconic gathering points in the summer season

| Elsesmindevej 50, Odense V | Written by: Katarina Le Müller | 2 recommendations

Use a warm sunny day to (re)experience the smell of chlorine, deep fried food and freshly cut grass, and that rush in your stomach when you juust need to check whether the 5 (or 10) meter-diving platform has become less intimidating than the last time. Or the hard task of keeping warm on a bit more unreliable summer day, and to defend a good place in the shade on a good one. Whether you, like me, have plenty of summer memories associated with the open air swimming pool or haven’t been there yet, it’s definitely worth a visit - simply because it offers the unique combination of fellowship, youthful energy and total relaxation. Since its opening in 1933, Odense Friluftsbad has been the place where large families with children plus complete picnic-set, flocks of flirtatious tweens and teens, lovers, and sun-chasing singles have thrown themselves into hours of carefully choreographed togetherness, in which the distance between the towels on the grass, the difference between the casual splashers and the serious swimmers,  as well as the obvious differences between social groups follow rituals that are worth of an anthropological study.

We will see whether the soon-to-open havnebad (an open air pool in the harbor) will outperform the green lawns, the water slide and the 10-meter springboard. But until then: do not miss this bit of Danish bathing cultural history, and - if you’re lucky with the weather - pure summer happiness.

  • Mon - Sun: -
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Svømmehallen Klosterbakken It’s great to swim. Especially in the city’s evocative 1930’s swimming pool

Svømmehallen Klosterbakken
Sights, Parks, Nature & Activities | Klosterbakken 5, Odense C | Written by: Anders Skovgaard | 6 recommendations

"I wish you could swim. like the dolphins, like dolphins can swim"

I think - with the late legend Bowie in mind - that you should go for a swim at Klosterbakken's public baths! Yeah, that's all. Go for a swim in the most beautiful indoor pool in Odense and enjoy the 1930s ambience from its red brick exterior to its grand mural above the waters. And of course the iconic neon sign outside depicting a 90-degree angle "heil" - or is it just a swimmer poised to jump? It is all in the eye of the beholder. Either way, it is a nice building and we don't swim enough.

Swimming is good for you, I hear. Fun, too. Not poetic, though. Looking at swimmers is an ugly activity. It is a awkward discipline. You feel awkward, too, when you're swimming. It is not an aestetically pleasing sport. I don't recall there being many images of swimmers in Leni Riefenstahl's art film on athletes, which otherwise includes lock, stock and barrel of classical and poetic sports. Who among us don't recall the images of a muscular, adroit discus-thrower. But no swimmers. It just isn't poetic.

Consider the American superstar swimmer Michael Phelps. Looking at him is like watching a bicycle pump at full speed in a blizzard. His speed is uncanny, but it has no swing - there is no poetry or elegance in the mechanical thrashing through chlorine water. I don't know if I really see more elegance in the movements of Vladimir Salnikov, Soviet triple gold medalist from 1980, but I like to think I do. I never saw him live, of course, but I have seen recordings of him and there was a certain elegant humanity to his appearance, despite his training under grotesque Soviet conditions. A master of the hostile, wet element.

Even if we aren't able to swim as fast nor look good while doing it, we shouldn't be discouraged from heading to Klosterbakken for a swim. Enjoy it. Enjoy the water and with every stroke feel your body rejoicing. It has saved me from many a hungover shitty morning; going for a dip before work or as a refreshing Sunday actitivity. And if you meet a dolphin in the water, let it swim past you. They're incredibly rare around these parts, and probably protected, too.

The public swimming baths at Klosterbakken date back to 1938 and the building is even older, and it has undergone major modernization several times since then, first in the 1970s, and most recently a general overhaul in 2010-11. The latest addition is a welness area with fitness facilities, spa, steam baths and saunas.

  • Mon: 06.00 - 20.30
  • Tue: 06.30 - 20.30
  • Wed: 06.00 - 20.30
  • Thu: 06.30 - 19.00
  • Fri: 06,00 - 19.00
  • Sat: 07.00 - 14.00
  • Sun: 08.00 - 14.00
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Allerup Gamle Have Old and soulful swimming pool

Allerup Gamle Have
| Klappen 1, Odense SØ | Written by: My Rasmussen | 1 recommendations

If the weather ends up warm enough that you begin considering heading off to Odense Friluftsbad (that is never going to happen, you say? Wouldn’t anyone choose the beach over the pool anyday? Not necessarily. There are in fact people out there who dislike getting sand between their toes. My friend Hakon would rather stand up all day than sit down in the sand. When his daughter got a sand box as a present the other day, and he was obligated to touch the expensive Toys”R”Us sand in order to signal enthusiasm, I saw him wipe his hand on his thighs afterwards with a distinct shiver. AND the sunfish is on its way to Denmark, which means that the great white shark is just around the corner, and some people just don’t care for white sharks in their water), you should instead consider Allerup Gamle Have. A bathing institution with heart, soul and gymnastics.

Dating back to 1929, the gardens have been sports- and festival grounds for nearly a century, and in 1934 Odense Amts Gymnastikforening hoped to secure the salvation of Denmark through gymnastics and a “fine and tough-fibered youth”. I wonder when that idea was thrown overboard. Today, Allerup Gamle Have is home to a workshop run by local volunteers and you can dangle your legs over the pool-blue water and suck a Sun Lolly till the paper dissolves on your lips.

I admit I haven’t actually been there since I was much, much younger and correspondingly shorter and smaller, making the scale of its grandeur a questionable thing. But i my memory, the sunny glory of the old gardens is nothing short of grand. A half-timbered farm with a pool where the cobblestone courtyard should have been, dug by 158 fine, tough gymnast in the upright 1930s.

Apart from the pool, there is also a playing field, kongespil, a jungle gym, basket hoops, volley nets and the chance to buy a sticky-sweet Capri Sonne for 8 kr. and a bag of pork rinds for 15. And if you want to dine on rissoles with new potatoes and gravy and peas at the neighbouring inn, you’ll have to bring your own wine as the place has no liquor license.

The old garden has room for those of us who do not enjoy sharks, sand between our toes or summer crowds. The gardens are 12 km south-east of Odense C. A dash for both cyclists and motorists.


  • Mon - Fri: 13 - 18:30
  • Sat - Sun: 12 - 18:30
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Odense Isstadion Take a trip to the hockey arena and drink an ice cold beer

Odense Isstadion
| Møllemarksvej 75, Odense V | Written by: Anders Skovgaard | 3 recommendations

In the arena the players become heroes; armour-clad giants of the cold, who fight until blood stains the ice and body heat lies like a mist around each player. It is a show, a game of broken noses, blackened eyes, missing teeth all around. And we love it! We want to watch them fight and win every puck and take every close combat as if their lives were at stake! And so they do! Hockey players are ruthless and bold masters of their frosty kingdom. In Odense, this kingdom is called Vestfyen Arena and it is home to the city’s team – Odense Bulldogs.

I have only seen Odense Bulldogs live a couple of times, but each time has been a rush. The mood in the oversized freezer with frozen-solid beer is amazing and it alone is well worth the price of admission. Every kind of character shows up in the audience here – from the meaty businessman who wants to get his sponsor’s donation’s worth to the club kid who gets his whole family season tickets and bleeds, breathes and dreams for his club and still would if the world was aflame outside the stadium doors.  

There is good pølser- and beer-atmosphere there, as well as the city’s worst French fries. And there’s nothing better than the classic ice hockey theme that plays when the boys skate into the pitch with smoke and steam! Go to a game and watch the mighty Odense Bulldogs.

  • Mon - Sun: -
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Papas Papbar Coffee, beer, and more than 600 different board games for nerds and beautiful minds

Papas Papbar
Drinking | Skt. Knuds Kirkestræde 2A, Odense C | Written by: My Rasmussen | Photo: Hannibal-Bach | 5 recommendations

When I was a teenager, and we played Risk for hours and drank beer from the bottle, we always ran into the problem that tables were reserved for trivial things like food, and had to be cleared at the most inopportune times, often standing in the way of world domination. But at Papas, tables are dedicated to board games. And beer.

Head down to Papas if you appreciate board games for their special ability to bring people together in a kind of social contract that is not guided by asking “how things are” until you’re sore. Instead, you can come together to save the world from global epidemics or stab each other in the backs in the attempt to keep your secret identities safe in opposing, equally paranoid freedom movements.

It is a wonderful thing that this place is not founded on the desire to make money off of servings of nachos, but instead is based entirely on the real board game enthusiasm of founder Jens Neumann. So far he is has built a selection of more than 600 board games, and there is something for everyone. Matador, Ludo, and Stratego next to Pandemic, Zombicide and Arkham Horror.

You can walk right in and grab any classic game from the shelf, but if you’re in the mood for a challenge and have between 5 minutes and 24 hours of free time on your hands, you can also try asking one of the volunteer game-gurus to teach you something new. It is much better than trying to make sense of the endless pages of rules that come with every game.

Papas Papbar is nerd paradise, no doubt, but it is no members-only club. Here you’ll find board game love, open arms and hygge to lift the roof.

See the full list of games here, get excited, postpone your meetings/your homework/your chores, call your friends, and book a table at 61705548. It’ll only cost you an order at the bar.

  • Mon: -
  • Tue - Thu: 13:00 - 23:00
  • Fri: 13:00 - 01:00
  • Sat: 12:00 - 01:00
  • Sun: 12:00 - 23:00
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Havnebadet Outdoor pool by (and in!) the harbour. Sauna. Polar bear club. Admission and happiness is free

Sights, Parks, Nature & Activities | Gamle Havnekaj 1, Odense C | Written by: Mira Erik | Photo: Hannibal-Bach | 4 recommendations

Odense Harbour is not a harbour, which is why the public pool at Odense harbour is not really pools in the harbour. Odense Harbour is a mudhole, an appendix, a dead end of brackish water at the end of a canal. There is no flow in the water, and you can’t clean it enough to make it palatable swim. And swim is what the citizens of Odense long to do. It’s what citizens always want. Which is why there now is an island with a tub in the harbour; a real pool; a pure and chlorine-delicious pool.

I grew up on the water’s edge on Southern Funen, and sometimes I feel like an idiot to have moved to the centre; I couldn’t be further from the ocean anywhere on this island. The harbour pool helps a little. A dip is in sight. And there is going to be a Polar bear club and a sauna, and the whole thing’s free; that’s the point.   And it looks nice, too: classical bath cabins on one side and classical red-and-white observation tower on the other.

There are hopes and dreams invested in this pool. This pool is going to breathe life into the inanimate desert where no ice cream vendor or pølsemand have hithertho managed to survive. But now – now it’ll happen. The pool will make the harbour happen. I’m almost positive it will. The harbour is coming alive.

Summer and winter opening hours are different, so stop by the homepage to make sure.

  • Mon: 06.30 - 09.30
  • Tue: 18.00 - 21.00
  • Wed: 06.30 - 09.30
  • Thu: 18.00 - 21.00
  • Fri: 06.30 - 09.30
  • Sat - Sun: 08.00 - 11.00
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Atletikbanen SDU World-class track and field facilities. A playground for grownups

Atletikbanen SDU
Sights, Parks, Nature & Activities | Moseskovvej, Odense M | Written by: Anders Skovgaard | Photo: Hannibal-Bach

Run, dammit, run! I myself never run for the sake of running, but I know that a lot of people do. So why not do it on a prize-winning track?!

The University of Southern Denmark's athletics facility are the best in the world. The International Olympic Committee has, together with the Association for Sports and Leisure Facilities, nominated the facility as world's best outdoors sports center.

Boom. We can't help but recommend something so big. It's also really cool to run on it. It's not as you imagine/fear. It's a track for both competitions and play. And the latter is particularly important. Running should be fun, otherwise there's a whole lot of other disciplines that inspire more fantasy and amusement.

But running is definitely a sport of the people. Unbelievably many people run. Either for health reasons, or to win something — maybe even to win on themselves. It's all good. There is a perfect running track for all this — and it's right in Odense.

So on with your shoes, down to the University of Souther Denmark, take your kids with (if you have any) and run! Run so that you sweat it all off, and your legs rejoice in acid and oxygen!

  • Mon - Sun: 00.00 - 24.00
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Sankt Jørgens Parken Skate or die. Haven for the old and the young alike — with or without wheels

Sankt Jørgens Parken
Sights, Parks, Nature & Activities | Sankt Jørgens Park, Odense C | Written by: Mira Erik | Translated by: Laura Malahovska | 2 recommendations

Sankt Jørgens Park is the shit. Still. Even though it has become a scooter inferno in the daytime - but more about that later.

A skate area located at the poor end of the creek. Weed (illegal), beer, sun, fire, asphalt, curbs, hips, banks, eurogabs, ledges, flatbars, big host, manual pads, rails ... it's a bit of a lie, you must go to Fælledparken in Copenhagen, if you want it all. But Sankt Jørgens Park forever. Skate or Die.

'Skate or Die' is more than a poem for teens to ride on board. Skateboarding is an existential choice. It's To Be or Not to Be. It's a way to use the world. Where the surroundings are not limitations, but possibilities. To get results you must believe in yourself and keep on until you succeed. Each fall is just one step closer to the goal. Slam, hard! There is only one restriction and it’s your own ability. It’s human condition, The Human Condition.

About the scooters: Who would have thought it was going to be cool to have a scooter?! Big boys running around on these children's toys?? I have a theory why: this generation is obsessed with the thought that nothing must hurt. Skateboarding hurts. Scooters don’t. It's easy. It works from the start. See how easy I can get up and down and over ramps, I'm cool right away ... No. You are not cool. No Pain No Gain. You cannot achieve anything without paying a price.

Odense has some skateboard legends. First this guy, from the time of the VHS, a flying Silas Eriksen with alias Kill, from the Wrong Team's Make It Or Break It: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQR66UGinms.

And from the next generation, an even wilder dancer, Flex Sebastian O'Connor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbeRBtQHv98. No one has surpassed him since, he is a European phenomenon.

Once you have thrown your scooter in the harbor, bought a skateboard and hurt yourself 10,000 times at Sankt Jørgens Parken, and in the wintertime in the indoor-hall on Grønløkkevej, and you have become skilful, you may get to Fucke's secret pool.

"Use the City", "Odense plays" - and all those terrible municipality slogans - nobody listens to those better than the skaters. But nobody is as excluded from municipality's 'Leisure and Culture' budgets as much: Odense's outdoor skate areas are under-financed like nowhere else. From Skagen to Bornholm, municipalities are buying setups for large concrete-bowls. And it is only because the owner of the skate-concrete company FSR, Claus Hermansen, an old skater from Odense, financially supported his childhood hobby, that now one-tenth of Sankt Jørgens Park is now worth skating.

  • Mon - Sun: 00.00 - 24.00
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Kunstnerisk Klatrevæg An artistic climbing wall at the back of the brewery is an oasis by the riverside.

Kunstnerisk Klatrevæg
Culture | Frederiksgade 3, Odense C | Written by: Jens Krog | Translated by: Francois Picard

The Albani brewery is located between Albanigade and Frederiksgade, like a massive uncompromising giant enclosed by tall red walls. Undoubtedly, they ensure the whole city’s pilsner supply, but the building has not given much back to Odense – at least until recently.

Since 2016, the Albani brewery has exposed one of its corner, the furthest one down to the river. And, on the high wall next to the brick arches – old inheritance from bygone days – one can meet five high forms, composed by white and black triangular tiles. Once in a while, the triangles somehow stick out into the air, from the underlying insipid brick wall. These small grips run in zigzag through the five large panels, and if you are standing up in front of the artwork, you can actually grab some of them.

The installation on the back of the Albani brewery is indeed both a sculpture and a climbing wall. The artist behind this climbing wall, Jacob Skov, has developed the different wall elements in collaboration with local climbers, thus creating an artwork, on which you can have fun.

In addition to opening the back wall of the brewery for artists and climbing enthusiasts, the small green area beside the wall has also been cleared, and a small playground has been added. The enormous brewery organism opens up beautifully for other urban creatures, and the little green area between the walls and the river has become a tiny oasis in the middle of the city.

The next step could be to tear down the wall underneath one of the arches and open a small bar that sells bottles with manufacturing defects to young people, who relax in pallet-based furniture in the sunshine. Hear me now, Albani!

  • Mon - Sun: 00:00 - 24:00
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Billarden New owners at Billarden have removed the iron bars from the windows and, in general, made the pub more welcoming

Drinking | Vesterbro 60, Odense C | Written by: Christoffer Henneberg | Translated by: Laura Malahovska | 1 recommendations

The brown Vesterbro pubs can still seem discouraging from the outside with their drinking, smoking and shouting. And yes, the most loyal customers are sometimes tough on themselves and each other. It's really just rarely as bad as most people think as long as you are willing to park your prejudices at the door and go in and say 'hello' and order a beer.

This also applies to Billiarden, which is probably one of the city's pubs that has mostly had to contend with a tarnished reputation. Such a reputation is, well deserved or not, notoriously hard to get rid of once it has taken hold, but the new owners Kenneth and Dan are making an honorable attempt, and it's probably worth backing up.

At least a lot has changed at the address since the new partners took it over in January 2020 and called it Billiarden 2020 Aps to mark a new beginning for the place that originally housed a bank until it was turned into a billiard club in 1993 and since received a liquor license and became a public pub.

As one of the first, they wisely chose to remove the grim, old iron bars from the windows, which have probably given a few passers-by some wrong associations over time. Then they painted the walls in lighter and more welcoming colors; light and more transparency are a big part of the new style. Among the other new initiatives are two 65 '' screens, showing all European Championship matches.

However, it is still unmistakably Billiarden, and both the spirit of the place and the vast majority of regulars have stayed after the change of ownership. They still exchange their jovial insults with each other at the bar, just as they can probably also offer a few robbery stories or two from Billarden's wild west past.

But young people are also coming in the door, primarily groups of students who are lured by the cheap prices, the freedom to smoke and the spatial surroundings. The young people usually sit at the tables and drink under the low-hanging lamps, while the bar is the domain of the old-timers.

And yes, of course you can still play free pin bowling at Billiarden.

Brown checklist:

Jukebox: Yes

Patio: Yes

Beers: 22 kr.

  • Mon - Sun: -
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This Is Odense