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

Møntergården
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

StudieStuen
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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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 | 15 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: -
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RecordPusher Outstanding new and used vinyl records and hang-out

RecordPusher
Shopping | Overgade 18, Odense C | Written by: Bo Jessen | 10 recommendations

A small, intimate shop and a wide range of records across genres – both new and used – is what makes RecordPusher one of Denmark’s leading record stores.

After many years working in his brother’s cult record store Moby Disc, Bo opened RecordPusher.com in 2011 and, three years later, a bricks-and-mortar store opened in Overgade. Bo quickly became an outstanding provider of analogue sound in the city centre, sometimes in (bitter) competition with his brother, who re-opened his white whale on smaller scale shop in 2015.

I have visited record stores in all the big cities in the world and know what I associate with the real vinyl-experience: Buying vinyl records should be a cohesive experience of feeling, touching, and listening your way through the selection. Being present, taking your time, and having the desire to learn something new.

This is possible at RecordPusher. There is coffee on the pot, a small lounge offering wine and beer, and always good music playing. What is it? Bo will tell you, and you can name a genre and get a recommendation you had not expected, and stream music from your tablet before purchasing, just ask. Most importantly, there are always new records on the shelves.

The store focuses on new releases and a wide range of genres with a preponderance of Indie music. Bo also prioritizes having the music from upcoming concerts and festivals in stock, so this is a golden opportunity to listen up on upcoming concert experiences.

Stop by for a present record experience in one of Denmark’s most well-assorted, independent record stores.

Have a seat in the window or on the bench in fron and watch the bustle of the street.

The shop is always open the first sunday of the month as well, from 11 am to 3 pm.

  • Mon - Thu: 09.00 - 17.30
  • Fri: 09.00 - 19.00
  • Sat: 09.00 - 16.00
  • Sun: -
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Kærnehuset Vegetarian communal dining every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday evening since 1977

Kærnehuset
Eating | Nedergade 6, 1., Odense C | Written by: Mira Erik | 1 recommendations

Kærnehuset is really a locals' place. It's a vegetarian dinner club that is hidden away behind yellow roses in a backstreet. To find it, you have to walk a little further than you think, and then go a little higher up than you think. This is where you'll find true remnants from the hippie era. Here reigns the collective mentality. Here you eat together and feel at home, or at least in someone's living room. This is a raw-shredded-carrot-club that did not disappear with the years, possibly because it lays on solid foundations.

Here you can simply walk in from the street and eat really good and really healthy food at a very low price, and then walk out again. But then you can come back, again and again. The natural next step is membership and a job in the kitchen. It's super cosy, like camping. We help each other out and do the washing up in a tub and make food on a gas burner. Grater and lentils. The living food. Salad is the shit. We sit close to each other, and come early if you want to get a seat. Turn your plate upside down to reserve a spot, and it not always 100% sure you get one. If you do, you'll be sitting next to someone you don't know, and of course you are expected to talk to them.

"Food is served at 6PM sharp."

It's a (in a good way) sectarian enterprise, and as in all sects there are more or less overt hierarchies. In Kærnehuset it's possibly defined by who's been a part of it the longest. And the faintest (as in very faint) rumours say that if you've been there long enough you may even get invited to other evening arrangements, with a whole different type of carrots...

  • Mon: -
  • Tue - Wed: 15.00 - 19.30
  • Thu: -
  • Fri: 15.30 - 19.30
  • Sat - Sun: -
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Suzanne Varming Antik Aristocratic collector with antique treasures from her hidden barn for sale

Suzanne Varming Antik
Shopping | Nedergade 24, Odense C | Written by: Mira Erik

Suzanne Varming is a remarkable woman. A mix between an aristocrat and a sailor. She began dealing antiques because she grew up among antiques, and her quiet childhood happiness of lying in a mahogany bed at night laid the foundation for her fascination of antique beds in adulthood. “I have never slept in a new bed!”

Her style is Francophile with an industrial touch. Surprises, oddities and rarities make up the selection in her alluring store. Old iron ladders, prism chandeliers, turtle shells, French industrial lamps, dower chests, Madonna diadems. Mirrors, signs, benches and cupboards. No imitiatations – of course – and nothing new. Nothing at all. Everything has a story: the beautiful baroque Madonna has the hands of a dockworker because the artist used his own hands to model and forgot to subtract a little in the end.

The treasures are carefully selected on trips to Belgium, France, Austria – and on Southern Funen. She carries home her bounty in a modest Volkswagen, for “the best crime prevention is driving an old rusty car”.

Her store is hidden in the passage between Overgade (by the sports pub) and Nedergade (by Kramboden). It is somehow an unpretentious place, meant to make you feel at ease even if you don’t end up buying anything. And it works. All thanks to Suzanne, driven by youthful fire despite her aging royal appearance. She is the youngest thing in the shop.

  • Mon - Tue: -
  • Wed - Fri: 14.00 - 17.00
  • Sat: 10.00 - 13.00
  • Sun: -
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Kulturbotanisk Have Natural wonder with nine thousand plants numbered and named. Lush botanical hideaway

Kulturbotanisk Have
Sights, Parks, Nature & Activities | Kulturbotanisk Have, Odense SØ | Written by: Mira Erik | Translated by: Fabio Trecca | 2 recommendations

At the cheap end of the river lies a botanical garden, which with its 9000 species is Denmark's largest collection of living plants. 

I recommend biking to Kulturbotanisk Have and swallow in the gorgeousness of nature. And if you can't resist making the experience into a cultural one, then you can couple nature with some knowledge and categories — we humans are so good at classifying! — by reading all the thousands of signs about what the different species are called, how old they are, which other plants they are related to etc. etc. You can book a guided tour by calling this number: 66102723.

But you can also just lay down in the middle of everything. Flowers are too cool. If everyone looked at flowers, the world wouldn't be in flames.

Address: Ejbygade 75, 5220 Odense SØ

Always open.

  • Mon - Sun: 00.00 - 24.00
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Tinsoldaten Legendary all-night and (especially) morning bar for when you are beyond walking or talking

Tinsoldaten
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
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Grønttorvet Marked Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Get veggies directly from the farmer and sausages from the woman who raised the pig

Grønttorvet Marked
Shopping | Sortebrødre Torv 1, Odense C | Written by: Mira Erik

Every city has a building, a square, or an event that in some way embodies its very essence. For me, this has always been Grønttorvet, which, on a summer morning in the haze of a slight hangover, makes me buzz in contentment of being a citizen of Odense.

There's the egg-man, with his orange volkswagen-van, his endless trays of eggs, and an impressive number of regular customers. There's the jolly fishmonger, who always gives away a fishball to kids, while mom and dad shop for some good salmon, or for some fish roe, or for some smoked mackerel. There's the family business on the corner, which sells its own vegetables from its own plantations. They have good apples all year round. There's the pork-lady with the French accent, who has a nice camping trailer and meat from genuinely happy pigs. The best bacon. There are the husband and wife further down, with the dirty hands and dog biscuits in the apron, and with the best white spring honey ever. And a little further ahead, there's one more couple: the big white man and the small Asian wife, "Have a good daaay!". After them are the biodynamicists, with hard unwashed carrots and the market's absolute best salad, proper beetroots, nice onions and a bit too expensive fruit. At the end are the Arabs, they are each nicer than the other and serve melons and dates and samples of their tasty oranges.

Once the shopping is over, you can sit down at a legendary pub, such as Lørups’ or Grønttorvet, and have an Albani pilsner with the regulars, who are guaranteed about to get the party started, even if it's just 11 am. 

The square market is every Wednesday and Saturday all year round. Remember to bring cash.

 

  • Mon - Tue: -
  • Wed: 08:00 - 13:00
  • Thu - Fri: -
  • Sat: 08:00 - 13:00
  • Sun: -
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Kick Off Sportspub A sports pub more Leipzig than Red Bull

Kick Off Sportspub
Drinking | Overgade 45, Odense C | Written by: Bo Jessen | Photo: Hannibal-Bach | 2 recommendations

In summertime, when the sun shines, Lune Larsen sits outside by the tables.

He follows you with his eyes when you walk by on that bike lane that everyone who is not a local mistakes for a sidewalk. But Larsen is not the attraction. The attraction is Football, the kick and rush from the English division, and the dong-sound in your ears. This is the right place to be nostalgic and to believe that football can still be saved.

That's what fans do, those fans that gather here to watch Norwich, West Bromwich, Sheffield Wednesday and Nottingham Forest. Of course, most people would rather see Liverpool, Chelsea and the newest billionaire-club, but this is a place where people still dream about the game that can knock regimes over and make people shut up.

Behind the bar, Flemming pours you a beer that tastes of pilsner and maybe scowls a bit angrily, just like that cranky Hobbit guy. In the background, loud Odensean suburb lingo mixes with songs from White Hart Lane. It's Saturday. There's plenty of time.

Kick Off is a comfortable and nice place.

  • Mon - Thu: 15.00 - 00.00
  • Fri: 12.00 - 02.00
  • Sat: 13.00 - 02.00
  • Sun: 13.00 - 23.00
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Gringas The rare real Mexican street food, especially if you eat on location and skip the take away

Gringas
Eating | Overgade 25, Odense C | Written by: Jens Krog | Translated by: Laura Malahovska

Overgade and the surrounding area is mostly about presenting the nostalgic Odense as H.C. Andersen’s hometown, but lately new places are popping up as we get closer to Overgade being reconnected with the rest of the city. Among those, an authentic Mexican restaurant that neighbours now closed Den Gamle Kro, in which the nostalgia was drifting from the walls.

Gringas does not serve gravy as Den Gamle Kro did, but tortillas and other Mexican street food made from fresh, mostly organic, produce, which is much more flavourful than the nachos you can get at the cafés, and other dishes that are clearly seasoned with Mexican spice mixes from the supermarket. At Gringas, you won’t find ‘dane-ified’ versions of Mexican food and if you are not well-versed in the Mexican kitchen, there are many new flavours to learn about. Frijoles as an example.

The food is ambitious peasant cuisine meets the street joints of Mexico City, but the atmosphere and prices are unpretentious and it is nice to sit on the high chairs and look at Overgade's cobblestone while experimenting with the different types of salsa. It is street food in a safe environment. The food is not necessarily very spicy, although the chilli is in focus. If the habanero is too much, you can try to wash it down with local beer, wine and cocktails.

  • Mon: -
  • Tue - Thu: 16:00 - 21:30
  • Fri - Sat: 16:00 - 22:00
  • Sun: -
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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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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
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This Is Odense