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: -
Link to place Directions

Studenterhuset Jam-packed concert schedule, cheap beer, terrible decor. A student central

Culture | Amfipladsen 6, Odense C | Written by: Albert Petersen | Photo: Hannibal-Bach | 89 recommendations

“We have an insane amount of chair legs. 72 x 4 outside and 130 x 4 inside…” was the answer from the day manager when asked by Jacob Keinicke about the number of chair legs at the opening. Four years have passed and apart from being an established part of the local music scene, the place has blended perfectly with the colorful environment of “Farvergården”. The place is well attended by students as well anyone fond of cheap coffee, beer and toasts. And the amount of chair legs is still insane.

Studenterhuset (The Student House) is always full, whether it be people warming their hands on a cup of coffee while burying their noses in heavy books or huddled around a group projects, or just people who enjoy having a beer without having to shell out 50 kr. A student house is a must in any university city and Odense has succeeded in creating a rallying point and a place of study for both college and university students – and at the same time a place where no one will frown upon the people playing hooky with a beer and a game of backgammon.

  • Mon - Wed: 10.00 - 22.00
  • Thu - Sat: 10.00 - 24.00
  • Sun: 10.00 - 18.00
Link to place Directions

Svalernes Genbrugsbutik Flea market goodies at old-timey prices

Svalernes Genbrugsbutik
Shopping | Ørstedsgade 20, Odense C | Written by: Pil Lindgreen | 1 recommendations

A bonafide miscellaneous thrift shop like back in the day. In the country, there are huge flea barns with junk stacked roof-high, where only the most persevering venture in. Meanwhile, in the cities, you are stuck with second-hand stores with rows and rows of easily-surveyed Merkel-style polyester pantsuits and patterned tea service with no cups sold seperately, not to mention those insufferable luxury-thrift dealers, who adjust the price tags when copper and teak come back in style.

Luckily, there is also Svalernes Genbrug; the perfect amalgam of gold and junk; the best of both worlds.

Svalerne are rag pickers with hearts of gold and old-world habits. If you have enough time, you will exactly what you (did not know you) needed under breadmakers, chandeliers, tin soldiers and TV stands. Those easily tempted (such as yours truly) are in imminent danger of finding themselves heading home on their bicycle with a full set of garden furniture slung over their shoulder, even though one has no garden, and even so, could not resist the temptation of this particular set and its candy-stripe bolster and affordable price.

If you gather up a nice variety of things, Svalerne will throw in the spoons for free, and there is almost always cake, and coffee on thermos.

The best garage sale in town is open twice a week; show up early to have time to nose out the good stuff.

  • Mon - Tue: -
  • Wed: 15.00 - 18.00
  • Thu - Fri: -
  • Sat: 10.00 - 14.00
  • Sun: -
Link to place Directions

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
Link to place Directions

Flakhaven Explore Odense’s power axis: City Hall and cathedral on the square

Sights, Parks, Nature & Activities | Flakhaven, Odense C | Written by: Mira Erik | 22 recommendations

The square of power: City Hall and the Cathedral . Kings, priests and merchants. The church doesn’t command the power that it used to, but still intimidates with its physique. City Hall still towera confidently and across the square, the financial world pushes on, backed by Magasin and the rest of the city’s shopkeepers. The sculpture Oceania – the naked woman – is laid out in the middle of the town hall square, her womb facing these masculine dominants.

But you can just leave all those thoughts behind and eat your ice cream from Frellsens Chokolade on the sunny benches in front of city hall while watching the kids playing by sliding down Oceania’s sprawling body.

On the southern side of City Hall you will find Odense City Gardens – www.odensebyhaver.dk – and if you look closely, you will find the most precious old herb garden behind the cathedral, taking you back to the silence of the monasteries and a more devout and sincere life.

Stroll along to Eventyrhaven (Fairy Tale Gardens), away from agents of hard power and down to nature’s poetry.

  • Mon - Sun: 00.00 - 24.00
Link to place Directions

Galleriet Ny Vestergade 13 Independent gallery - a loving home to a wide range of local artists and artisans

Galleriet Ny Vestergade 13
Shopping | Ny Vestergade 13, Odense C | Written by: Bo Jessen | 6 recommendations

On Odense's gallery street, Ny Vestergade, is a small, relatively new gallery. It is charming - and a bit strange, and urban - and right in the middle of Odense.

The gallery is owned by artist Christina James Nielsen, and while you are browsing the current exhibition, you can catch a glimpse of the creative process: the gallery space doubles as a studio for Christina James Nielsen, who works in steel wire sketching. As a visitor to the gallery, you get to peek into the artist's world.

The gallery hosts a number of small, alternating exhibits, several of which have been recommended by This Is Odense, such as Small WondersOn Wings and Vinterstemning.

If you fall head over heels for a piece at the exhibition, a visit to the monthly auction might be in order. Auctions are announced ahead of time via the gallery website.

  • Mon: -
  • Tue - Thu: 10.00 - 16.00
  • Fri: 12.00 - 18.00
  • Sat: 10.00 - 14.00
  • Sun: -
Link to place Directions

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
Link to place Directions

Fyns Grafiske Værksted First-rate independent centre of fine analogue arts and printmaking

Fyns Grafiske Værksted
Culture | Hans Jensens Stræde 18, Odense C | Written by: Bo Jessen | 19 recommendations

Right there, in the middle of the construction site of tomorrow's Odense, among light rail tracks, super bicycle paths, garbage disposal and urban gardening, lies a small, humble temple of analogue art forms.

At the printmaker's workshop, printing is something you do by hand, and exhibitions a privilege for those in the know. One of the city's several unpretentious spaces for artistic development known by few, and visited by an even slimmer minority.

It is also one of the finest. It is coorperation of almost 300 artists from over 20 countries, a rustic, authentic showcase for professionals, and an open worshop for members, offering occasional course in techniques such as etching, woodcut, photogravure and lithography.

It was founded in 1976 and the world passed by on the traffic lanes outside its windows. Now, as the old neighborhood between Hans Christian Andersen's house and Nørregade is re-established, the printmaker's workshop will be provide a natural tie between past and present.

  • Mon: -
  • Tue - Fri: 11:00 - 17:00
  • Sat: 10.00 - 14.00
  • Sun: -
Link to place Directions

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
Link to place Directions

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: -
Link to place Directions

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
Link to place Directions

Antikvariatet Find your next great read in the little antiquarian bookstore

Shopping | Klaregade 27, Odense C | Written by: Anders Skovgaard | 1 recommendations

I’ve always carried books with me, and when I moved to Odense to study at university I found the antiquarian bookseller on Klaregade to be my anchor, my oasis in the desert of real life. And if you consider that Odense is a university town and proportionally there should be quite a few that could benefit from that little shop, I’ve rarely met others on my peregrinations there, though I go there quite often. It’s strange because the prices are fair, the books in good condition, and there’s an ok flow of new (old) books. 

The place is not super big, but it’s crammed with a hell lot of books and a fragrant atmosphere, that only old books can give. Their philosophy, history and anthropology sections are particularly nice. They have a passable section of Danish classics and a nice selection of English masterpieces. The books are categorized by either country or topic, and there’s often a nice selection across the board. The only thing that I’ve always found irritating is that they don’t have a good selection of French literature.

Still, it’s pretty much the only place in town where you can buy poetry and dramas, so that’s really nice. The owners are very sweet and knowledgeable people, who know precisely where to find anything you might be looking for, so you just need to ask them.  

  • Mon - Fri: 12.00 - 17.30
  • Sat: 11.00 - 14.00
  • Sun: -
Link to place Directions

Vognhjulet Have a beer and a song among real friends at this neighbourhood watering hole

Drinking | Skibhusvej 115, Odense C | Written by: Jakob Cæsius Krohn | 2 recommendations

The objective here is to enjoy a jolly evening with kegs and golden oldies in a pub in the Skibhus district. At Vognhjulet, lovable caricatures of house friends and classical Storm P. Beer-ads dress the walls. And when I looked up from the urinal in the men’s room – and thankfully avoided the prevalent bar jokes about not to patronise the long-term unemployed – the walls were covered in all the gun of the fair. But this does not change the fact that Vognhjulet has taken a leap forward.

This happened when Skibhusstuen opened with a speech from the chief inspector and whailing violins by, among others, Stig Stradivarius, although I only heard it through Den evige Terp’s cell phone. Since then, I have, without remorse, treated my kids to a soft drink on the way home from the allotment garden, to show them this noble attraction with its old photos from times where the Skibhus district had yet to house the creative class and still went by names like the Skarntyde (hemlock) or Sutsko (slipper) district.

This spirit is alive and well at Vognhjulet.

  • Mon - Wed: 11.00 - 01.00
  • Thu - Sat: 11.00 - 02.00
  • Sun: 12.00 - 01.00
Link to place Directions

Ungarsk Vinstue Folk art adorns the walls and all-day drinkers are welcomed. A killer on the pub crawl

Ungarsk Vinstue
Drinking | Bredstedgade 2, Odense C | Written by: Jakob Cæsius Krohn | 1 recommendations

A city without a broad range of motley pubs cannot claim to be a true metropolis. So of course Odense offers a variety of these. ”Tinsoldaten” (or simply ”Tinneren” to locals) and ”Tingstedet” are legendary. But just off the beaten track, in the Skibhus district, waterholes are strewn like pearls before drunken swine. And beyond comparison is the Hungarian tavern ”Ungarsk Vinstue”. The murals capture the spirit of hussars and gypsies, you can test your skills at local billiard games upstairs, admire inkeeper Arne’s cabinet of curiosities and arcade of abominations, and listen to the evergreens of Rock Nalle on the jukebox.

On special occasions, you might even persuade them to throw a tablecloth on the pool table, as it was the case when this spectacle celebrated its 3 x 15 year anniversary. Live concerts and other exciting events are a frequent feature and, if alewife Connie allows it, Arne is glad to participate in the shenanigans.

Mind the chicken run on your way to the men’s room.

  • Mon - Wed: 09.00 - 19.00
  • Thu - Fri: 09.00 - 22.00
  • Sat: 11.00 - 22.00
  • Sun: 11.00 - 18.00
Link to place Directions

Eventyrhaven Riverside gardens with room for promenaders, kids, and a mid-morning beer with the white noise of the city above

Sights, Parks, Nature & Activities | Eventyrhaven, Odense C | Written by: Pil Lindgreen | Translated by: Pil Lindgreen | Photo: Hannibal-Bach | 7 recommendations

Don’t be fooled by its name – at Eventyrhaven (literally, The Fairytale Garden) there is neither amusement park nor tourist trap in sight; instead, you’ll find a green slice of heaven perfect for sunbathing in the middle of the city. Its official name might be H.C. Andersen’s Garden and sure enough the poet himself stands tall in superhuman size on its hills, yet this river valley park is never called by any other name than Eventyrhaven, and old H.C. is nothing but a dash in the mind of dreamers (and the occasional tourist) here. Instead, the key figures of the place are the soulful nymph Echo on the hill (Aksel Hansen, 1888) and the waterborne iron sculpture Papirbåden/Paper Boat (Erik Heide, 1985), each stirring the imagination of grown-ups and children in their own way.

Despite a playground and a salsa corner with a small café, Eventyrhaven maintains a rather more refined, even secret aura than any other park in the city. Perhaps it stems from the fact that the park is really an island in the Odense River; perhaps because of its history – once a convent garden, it was later turned into an exclusive haven for the bourgeois patrons of the city’s Reading Society and it remained so until 1942, when the whole area was opened to the public, including the herb garden of the cloisters.

Today its gentle hills are open all year round to promenaders, sunbathers and playing children. Yes, hills – in Odense! The steps leading down towards the river are steep and veritably beg for a death-defying bicycle dash. But if you turn around halfway down and look back up, you’ll see the cathedral and the city hall take on unexpected grandeur and height above you. Even after the nearby Albanigade has been closed for traffic, you can always hear the hum of city in the park, but it is white noise under the sound quacking ducks and the reggae music that a group of school kids are sure to be playing at any given sunny day as they set up camp with blankets on the lawns.

Watch the changing seasons in the circular flower garden, surrounded by an overgrown archway providing shade for lovers and beer drinkers alike, no matter the time of day.

  • Mon - Sun: 0.00 - 24.00
Link to place Directions

Graabrødre Klosterkirke Medieval friary in wildly urban setting is still a church worth attending

Graabrødre Klosterkirke
Culture | Gråbrødre Plads 1, Odense C | Written by: Mira Erik | Photo: Hannibal-Bach | 2 recommendations

The Graabrødre Cloister Church was originally a hospital with a church attached to it. But the original church was dilapidated in the 1800's, and what in the old days was the hospital was turned into the church that we know today. Like a hospital for the soul.

The vaulted hallway that makes up the entrance to the new church is what remains of the old one. It's age-old, way back from the 1200's. It's here, under the beautiful low ceilings, that people drink the real red wine after mass. Here is congregation and community, if you want. If you don't, you're free to go. Mass is at a perfect time, Sunday at 5PM, so if you've had a few, you have time sleep it off.

Priests from the Cathedral take turns at the pulpit, so every Sunday you can get a different variant: the liberal, the bigot, and the reflective.

Around the church is the cloister, which today is inhabited by nuns, but also by regular older ladies. Very nice location for very cheap money. From their privileged position, they often shout at the young skaters hanging out on the other side of the street, in front of Skatehouse. I find it somehow absurd to wish that life don't make noise. Jesus surely wouldn't mind a little noise and fuss — at least if I understood him correctly.

  • Mon: 14.00 - 16.00
  • Tue: -
  • Wed: 14.00 - 16.00
  • Thu: -
  • Fri: 14.00 - 16.00
  • Sat - Sun: -
Link to place Directions

Ungdomshusets Café Great affordable food cooked by volunteers in a youth community building. Brunch, burgers, vegan nights

Ungdomshusets Café
Eating | Ungdomshuset, Nørregade 60, Odense C | Written by: Jakob Cæsius Krohn

“It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the ... that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man” (Jesus)

As far as restaurants are concerned, my qualifications are in order, as I have tried almost all of the circa 100, we have in Odense. From the humblest polsevogn to the most expensive restaurant. In all these places, I ate everything that was on the table with a good appetite. But what I don’t like is the all-to-fresh twelve-year-old-girls giving lessons about the menu and the wine card while my food sits there and gets cold, and I get dehydrated. In general, I am not much for food snobbery. It’s yet another way in which more privileged people discriminate those that can’t afford the same treatment. What I am, though, is a music snob: my kids had me almost already married to an otherwise attractive woman, who however disqualified herself by sending an sms with her top-10 tracks, which included songs by U2, REM and Pearl Jam.

Well, what matters the most to me, when going out feeding, is first and foremost to meet cool people. And when Bobby from Dubrovnik is almost too much (Slivovitz) of the good stuff, then I would recommend Ungdomshusets Café. Five years ago, when I lodged in Nørregade 60 and was bored and had sadness in my heart, that was always the café to turn to. And easy now: the café is not exclusively for classic ungdomshus-types with piercings and black hoodies. It is actually a place for all kinds of people of all ages. Not least, it’s a place for youth school people, who usually make for a rather colorful assembly.

The first time I ever visited the place I even ran into Sune from Talent 2008, who is something of a character in himself. And he couldn’t have said it better, when he said: “People here are not crazy - but it’s ok if you are”. Another anecdote from Ungdomshuets Café, which made me really happy, is from that time Steen Viggo dismembered a badger for chef Thor’s well read young students from Kold College og produktionsskolen, while he (under the title “The Lord’s Vegetable Garden”) told about his time as a homeless in the woods, when he lived on a menu of filipendula and hedgehog. I also strongly assume that the café was closed to the public at that time.

Even now, the opening hours aren’t always reliable, nor is the website. Some recurrent events include though Monday Café (an international dining club for students from all around the world) and the (previously mentioned in TiO) folkekøkken with vegan food on Thursdays. But on most weekdays all are welcome to just walk in and get themselves a good lunch or dinner for little money. And a juicy burger for 50 kr. Amen!

“Eat, drink and be merry”, as it says in the Bible. But remember also to speak soberly to each other - that is, without food in your mouth.

  • Mon: 09.00 - 20.45
  • Tue - Thu: 08.00 - 20.00
  • Fri: 08.00 - 14.00
  • Sat - Sun: -
Link to place Directions

Tingstedet A dingy, nasty, and smoky pub in a basement — a true hole-in-the-wall

Drinking | Vestergade 50, Odense C | Written by: Anders Skovgaard | Photo: Hannibal-Bach

Sandpaper; cigarette butts at the foot of the bar stool; those merciful hours from 2 am to 5 am… the hole-in-the-wall in the basement is a house of peace. An oasis for the thirsty, a kingdom of pints, a cave for humanity.

I grew up in the provinces, where pubs like these are not the exception, but the rule. This is where people meet; either in skipper’s cabin or in one of these temples of hideousness, where you chew the fat of the griefs and joys of everyday life, while quenching your thirst. There’s freedom in pubs despite – or because – predictability is king.

When I arrived in Odense, it turned out there were no pubs worth visiting. Too many places were either too try-hard or too disgusting. It is possible to become too smoky, too ugly, too grimy. Finding that balance and being a modest, pleasant hole-in-the-wall is an art of sorts. This is how I’d describe Tingestedet on weeknights. During weekends, almost everywhere turns into a nightmare if all you’re interested in is a place to talk and drink a beer, but for those everyday benders, Tingstedet is the place for me.

Tingstedet has its own mood, chain-smoke fog,s and cheap pints. This is where the gang meets when everywhere else is closed. This is where the vagabond brings his dog when their feet are tired. And where artists turn, when their muse has them in a chokehold.

It isn’t pretty. Not nice-hole-in-the-wall with old furniture and a decorative-if-shabby pool table. The walls are nicotine white-yellow and both furniture and art is nowhere near hip. Everything is ugly in a satisfying way. Ugly meaning un-designed, un-arranged. No fancy gestures. Honest functionality. The charm of the place lies in the people in front of and behind the bar.

Tingstedet is good for your spirit. Its unadorned space is somehow peaceful. It offers a breather from the otherwise polished and overly designed world, and I mean that both physically and mentally. It is my guess that the comfort of the pubs has saved more people over the years than it has destroyed through alcoholism. They offer refuge. And in the increasingly gentrified streets of Odense, Tingstedet is one of the last ones standing and it does so without any digital trace.

  • Mon - Thu: 10.00 - 00.00
  • Fri - Sat: 10.00 - 03.00
  • Sun: 10.00 - 18.00
Link to place Directions

Tinsoldaten Legendary all-night and (especially) morning bar for when you are beyond walking or talking

Drinking | Frue Kirkestræde 3, Odense C | Written by: My Rasmussen

The pub where people have gotten really drunk since 1506.

It’s a while since I’ve been at the Tinner. As the place is called. On the other hand, I lived there for almost a full year after high school, where I, otherwise never again to be forced into doing something boring, still ended up serving fried food all night long at Burger King, until I broke my arm, and the place burned down. Unrelated events, by the way.

After the night shift’s frying-hat was taken off, but before we went home all together to watch Japanese horror movies with Anders and Maria, we stopped by the Tinner for a bunch of morning beers. And it was dark, and it was nice, and I can’t for the love of God remember much more than that.

  • Mon - Wed: -
  • Thu: 12.00 - 21.00
  • Fri: 11.00 - 00.00
  • Sat: 00.00 - 00.00
  • Sun: 00.00 - 11.00
Link to place Directions

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
Link to place Directions

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
Link to place Directions

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
Link to place Directions

Den Lille Smalle Slow juice and surprisingly reasonably priced coffee in polished surroundings

Den Lille Smalle
Eating | Vestergade 5 st. tv., Odense C | Written by: Laura Malahovska | Translated by: Laura Malahovska

Take a slow stroll around the old town. Slowly pass right by all the junk-food shops and sweets by the City Hall. Then stop to enjoy a slow juice at Den Lille Smalle (The Little Narrow in English). It definitely lives up to its name, but even though it’s narrow and fairly small, there is enough seating both inside and outside.

This is the only place in Odense where you can get a slow juice. What’s all the hype around the slow juice? Well, it is juice that is extracted by a special juicer that spins slower than the usual centrifugal juicers (you know, the ones that make you jump ever time when you push the ‘on’ button). And it presumably retains more vitamins. Den Lille Smalle offers lots of juices with greens and veggies.
If you are not too much into slowly juiced vegetables, their coffee is excellent too. And they have started to offer breakfast/brunch type of food. Smoothie bowls, sandwiches, avocado toasts, muesli and all that healthy jazz.

They offer vegan substitutes for milks and gluten free cakes and treats. So there is something for everyone.

  • Mon - Fri: 9:00 - 18:00
  • Sat: 9:00 - 17:00
  • Sun: 10:00 - 16:00
Link to place Directions

ODEON Social Actual social eating. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Cheap and nice and a mix of people

ODEON Social
Eating | Odeons Kvarter 1, Odense C | Written by: Laura Malahovska | Translated by: Pil Lindgreen

Thomas B. Thrige’s transformation has brought Odense a new place to meet up and enjoy a meal with loved ones and strangers alike. The concept of fællesspisning (communal dining) is quite popular in Denmark. Traditionally, it means bringing your own food to a communal table and sharing everything with your friends, work colleagues, or your fellow volunteers.

Odeon Social is a slightly different type of ‘fællesspisning’: Every table seats 8 people and you get randomly seated with people you most likely have never met before. This is not one of those places where dozens of waiters in unison serve all the tables at once. Not at all. Neither do you get to choose what you are going to eat. Every day there is a set menu and you share it with the other 7 people at the table. While it might be out of some people’s comfort zone, it is a great way to meet new people. There are no guarantees that you will meet your new best friend, but you will definitely have a bit of ‘hygge’ with strangers for an evening.
There is one or two days when you can expect to be served fish, Thursdays are always vegetarian and Sundays are reserved for hangover food. So there is something for everyone.

  • Mon - Sun: 10:00 - 22:00
Link to place Directions

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
Link to place Directions

Dania The city's oldest and quintessential pub

Drinking | Vesterbro 26, Odense C | Written by: Christoffer Henneberg | Translated by: Laura Malahovska | 1 recommendations

Dania, as the city's oldest pub, is something of a local gem, and this pub's grand old lady carries her age with a quiet dignity. It's like stepping into a safe pocket of time, where only the digital jukebox testifies that we are no longer in the heyday of brown pubs in the 70s and 80s.

The average age among the regulars is correspondingly higher than at the other Vesterbro pubs, and the atmosphere in the small room may immediately seem a bit ingrained, but you also often see groups of young people at the tables who want to set life on pause for a while. The brown pubs more often than not are inclusive spaces where the cultural, social and age boundaries that apply on the other side of the doorstep are put on standby.

It’s fitting that Vesterbro's range of pubs, its bodega belt, begins with Dania, which with its brown-yellow shades, curtains and red-white-checkered tablecloths on the tables in many ways appears as the quintessential, Danish, pub worthy of preservation.

Brown checklist:

Jukebox: Yes

EC on screen: No.

Patio: No.

Beers: 22 kr.

  • Mon - Sun: -
Link to place Directions

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: -
Link to place Directions

Mango Bazar Fyn Bazar Fyn transplanted to Bolbronx

Mango Bazar Fyn
Shopping | Middelfartvej 123, Odense V | Written by: Bo Jessen | Translated by: Malte Joe Frid-Nielsen | 1 recommendations

The last remaining piece of Bazar Fyn can now be found in Bolbro. In the same charcoal grey building as Føtex, nestled into an area speckled with improvements, new and coming planter boxes, a new light installation by Chaos Engine, you'll find Mango Bazar Fyn.

Named after the greengrocer’s that - in enterprising Arab style - swallowed all the competitors in the Thrige square, until it was the only one remaining. Its rise was due to several factors: On account of Amer and the other employee’s winning characters, good recipies and tips on the perfect ripeness of vegetable X, an impressively large selection of greens, and at times surprisingly cheap or - seemingly - random pricing.

Now Mango Bazar Fyn has expanded to encompass other parts of the late bazar. If Eurodeli is a greengrocer’s, then this is closer to a supermarket; and a notably better varied one than the ones you most often shop at. And it is colored with heavy Arabian scents and sweet Arabian music from all the children running around between shelves and adults.

When you enter, there’s a shawarma stand to your right and straight ahead a decidedly lush selection of fruits and vegetables (but unfortunately still no organics), in the corner a little oasis where you can buy, grind, and taste coffee and tea, and beyond, meters and meters of shelves with olives, nuts, spices, dried gourds, dairy, oils, and a well stocked butcher, where you can finally end your quest for lamb and other cuts and animals that - in Danish eyes - aren’t in popular demand. And of course, breads, too.

The inventory is based in Middle Eastern cuisine and can provide you with just the crunchy, sweet, and spicy christmas salad you’ve always dreamed of. But it can also supply a dinner from India, the far east, and eastern Europe.

Mango Bazar Fyn is an experience rich in variety.

  • Mon - Sun: -
Link to place Directions

This Is Odense