Odense – The city that shaped H. C. Andersen

If I travel back in time around 25 years in my mind then one of the first things that I think of is my mother sitting on the corner of mine or my brother’s bed in the evenings with a big book titled The Wild Swans. My father used imagination to tell us fairy tales and my mother used to read…

Where are the stories coming from? From Europe, Africa and Asia.

Why? Because it was written by Hans Christian Anderson.

Do you know him? I am sure you do! Author of such famous stories as The Ugly Duckling, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and many others famous tales.

I would like to invite you for to spend a day to Odense, Denmark, the city where Hans Christian Anderson was born. To visit the house of his birth, the home where he spent his childhood and the unique Media Museum where you can still meet a man over 90 years old who makes beautiful prints by hand.

Living for some time in Denmark and not visiting Odense to me sounds like it is just not right. I had the chance to visit not just once and I know that of course we are all different and so have different interests, but I would like to share a few MUST VISIT places.

Hans Christian Andersen Museum

The museum was opened over a hundred years ago and is built around the charming little house where the author was born and lived for some time. It tells Hans’ life story including his difficult start to life as the son of a shoemaker. The museum is attractive for all ages, from the smallest ones up to older generations, letting all of us travel back into Anderson’s life. It features sketches, sculptures and scenes from his tales as well as his life events, and there are exhibitions that show key moments in the author’s life; his struggles, failures, travels, loves. It was an amazing feeling to look around and feel like a part of his stories.

Hans Christian Andersen’s Childhood House

If you follow H. C. Andersen’s steps along the streets of Odense it will lead you to his childhood home. It is a tiny little house where he lived for 12 years from the age of two. It shows how simple and poor a life the family lived. There is also a tiny little garden where it is nice just to sit for a moment and imagine how life might have been over a century ago.

Brandts Museums Of Photography And Media

Both of these museums can be visited separately but I would really recommend you to visit both of them. They share a big building, which is a former textile factory. The factory closed in 1977 and for a couple of years it lay empty before it was established as an international arts centre and photographic exhibition venue.

Today the Musuem of Photography mostly focuses on contemporary art since WWII, with a mix of interesting classic and modern temporary exhibitions. When I visited for example I had a chance to see a cool photography exhibition about beards.

The Media Museum was very exciting too. It gives the opportunity to explore and experience the history of the media and the role it has in society today, in an interesting and interactive way. There is the possibility to take part in some workshops, to visit a television studio, and to try printmaking.  I was given a present made by a man who is over 90 years old. He used to work with printing presses and today he still comes to the museum to make amazing watermarked paper and prints. My present was a watermark printed with a picture of H. C. Andersen.

So if you are around in Denmark or even if you are just spending a couple of days in Copenhagen and you have already visited The Little Mermaid by Edward Eriksen (based on the fairy tale by H. C. Andersen) then why not just take a train and spend a couple of hours in Odense.