Odense is Denmark's third largest and Funen's largest city with 180,302 inhabitants (2020). The town is located by Odense Å, about 3 kilometers south of Odense Fjord. Odense is a diocesan town and was until 2006 the county seat of Funen County and before that Odense County. Although Odense is not home to the administration in the Region of Southern Denmark, the city is by far the largest in the region. Odense has Denmark's second largest hospital - after Rigshospitalet - Odense University Hospital (OUH). It is the capital of Odense Municipality.
Odense is one of Denmark's oldest cities and is first
mentioned in writing in the year 988. Below Odense are the remains
of one of the six well-known slave castles, Nonnebakken. The name
Odense dates from the Viking Age. According to Snorre's royal sagas,
the name comes from Odinsø, where the god Odin must have lived.
Odense has since its founding been one of Denmark's leading cities
and was until the end of the 19th century the largest after
The city's oldest quarter houses many old half-timbered houses, including Ejler Rønnows Gård, Østerbyes Gård and Pernille Lykkes Boder, which is part of the cultural history city museum, Møntergården.
Odense Cathedral, Skt. Knud's Church, contains four royal tombs: Knud the Holy after whom the church is named, Erik 3. Lam - whose exact burial place is not known - and transferred from the demolished Gråbrødrekirke King Hans and Christian 2. In addition to the first two, Frederik IV also died in the city, at Odense Castle, which today is home to the municipality's city and cultural administration.
The poet H.C. Andersen was born and raised in the city. Odense was in 1805, when H.C. Andersen was born, Denmark's second largest city with approx. 6,000 inhabitants (and 500 larger domestic animals), of which approx. 50% belonged to the poor underclass, and approx. 10% of the city's citizens were subsistence-free. He, and others, still called the city Little Copenhagen.
During industrialization in the middle of the 19th century, Odense broke its medieval borders and spread in all directions. Industry magnate C.F. Tietgen was from Odense, as was the manufacturer Thomas B. Thrige. Thrige's old factory buildings in the Skibhus district still exist and since February 2007 have formed the framework for Bazar Fyn with goods from most of the world.