Odense is Denmark’s third-largest city. It is the major city of Funen and has a population of 175,245 people as of January 2016. By car, Odense is 45 kilometers (28 miles) north of Svendborg, 144 kilometers (89 miles) south of Aarhus, and 167 kilometers (104 miles) southwest of Copenhagen. The city is the headquarters of Odense Municipality and served as the seat of Odense County until 1970, as well as Funen County from 1970 until 1 January 2007, when Funen County was absorbed into the Region of Southern Denmark. Odense is closely associated with Hans Christian Andersen, who is well known for his fairy stories. In 1805 he was born in the city and spent his youth there.
The Odense region has been inhabited for almost 4,000 years, yet the name was not recognized in writing until 988, and by 1070, it had evolved into a prosperous metropolis. On 10 July 1086, Canute IV of Denmark, often regarded as the last Viking king, was assassinated by rowdy peasants at Odense’s St Alban’s Priory. Despite being burnt down in 1249 as a result of a royal feud, the city swiftly rebounded and prospered as a center of trade in the Middle Ages. Following a period of decline, large-scale development plans were established in the 18th century, which resulted in the renovation of Odense Palace and the construction of a canal to the Port of Odense, aiding commerce. In 1865, one of Denmark’s biggest railway terminals was established, significantly boosting the population and business, and by 1900, Odense had a population of 35,000 people. Odinstrnet in Odense was one of Europe’s highest towers when it was erected in 1935, but it was demolished by the Nazis during World War II. Southern Denmark University was founded in 1966.
Odense is still the business centre of Funen today, and it features a prominent retail area with a diverse range of shops. The city is home to many big companies, notably the Albani Brewery and GASA, Denmark’s largest dealer in vegetables, fruits, and flowers. The city is home to Odense Palace, which was built by King Frederik IV and where he died in 1730, the Odense Theatre, the Odense Symphony Orchestra, and the Hans Christian Andersen Museum, which is housed in the house where Hans Christian Andersen was born. Odense features a variety of football teams, including OB, BM, B1909, and B1913, as well as the Odense Bulldogs professional ice hockey team and the H.C. Andersen Marathon. Odense is serviced by Hans Christian Andersen Airport and Odense Station, which is located on the railway connecting Copenhagen to the Jutland peninsula.