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

Studenterhuset
Culture | Amfipladsen 6, Odense C | Written by: Albert Petersen | Photo: Hannibal-Bach | 85 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
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Brandts Former factory turned museum displays big art in a big way. Enter through the gift shop

Brandts
Culture | Brandts Torv 1, Odense C | Written by: Pil Lindgreen | Translated by: Bo Jessen | 54 recommendations

In the mid-1980s, a vacant textile factory was converted into an art centre in Odense. Modern visual culture replaced weaving mills and industrial dye in the high-ceilinged rooms, and today Brandts is a showcase for contemporary and classical Danish art. After the Funen Art Academy left the building, Brandts has colonized all floors with big ambitions and tales of a future where Odense welcomes bigger exhibitions and give them the space they deserve. The Media Museum is the only other institution still present in this five storey industrial wonder.

Brandts is a cultural giant, setting the tone for the use of former industrial buildings for shops and cafes in the Latin Quarter. A re-launch of the museum in 2014 provided a new logo as well as a new curatorial direction: Brandts banished the solo shows of contemporary artists, and instead specialises in grand, themed exhibitions addressed to the popular unconscious, with appeal to stomach, hearts and egos. At first the contemporary art was displaced to its little sister, Brandts 13, but after another conceptual tightening Brandts 13 is now also in the past.

Whether exhibitions centered on tattoos, selfies and Disney are expressions of an experimental, post-modern attitude to canon, or rather signs of the institution nursing consumer-guests on their conditions is up for debate. For us, part of the answer is provided by the fact that the once well-stocked art bookstore now has been replaced by glasses, scarfs and pillars with Kandinsky motives. A bookstore is where an art museum greets its visitors - an opportunity to show that you have something to tell and that you take yourself and your guests seriously.

In any case, it surely is healthy that the museum is still able to piss people off. For the more traditionally-minded guest, there is a permanent collection of Danish painting on display in the attractive modern extension of the museum, including a gorgeous, dark Hammershøi that you really ought to revisit every time you stop by for a special exhibition.

You should always attend receptions at Brandts, even if there is no chance of catching as much as glimpse of what they have put on the walls because of the crowds. Instead, sip your complimentary beverage in the outdoor gallery in good company of (almost) the entire city and enjoy the glorious view over Amfipladsen.

Today people tend to take for granted that fine arts belong in industrial settings, but the biggest art centre on Funen was a pioneer in the field of developing outdated industrial building complexes into cultural hotspots. In 1988, the museum received the European Museum of the Year Award; the first of any Scandinavian museum to do so. A quality often taken for granted, but something that should still be applauded for respectful transformation of the built heritage. Let's hope it continues to raise the bar for museum practices and doesn't retreat into the comforts of easy choices.

Admission is free on Thursdays from 5-9 p.m. and your grandmother and your maybe-date will both appreciate an invitation (but seperately).

  • Mon: -
  • Tue - Wed: 10.00 - 17.00
  • Thu: 10.00 - 21.00
  • Fri - Sun: 10.00 - 17.00
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Teater Momentum Anarchistic stage art and the creative foyer of the city

Teater Momentum
Culture | Ny Vestergade 18, Odense C | Written by: Mira Erik | 123 recommendations

It smells like Berlin, because of the industrious, creative entrepreneurial desire and limited funds.

The place has an aura of the squatter-environments and backstreet theatres of the past. It tastes like anarchy, of wild energy. The poster-fetischism of the 80s greets you in the foyer, and if you do not know anyone at the bar, you know someone, who knows someone at the bar – they probably studied art or performance together.

The Momentum Theatre ecchoes the homes of your childhood, where the adults were never home, where the doors were always open, where everyone was, but no one was ever visiting. It is the Wienercafé of the city, the salon of the intellectuals. It is where you can argue your way through artistic movements and have angry opinions about the established Parnassus of old, white men with dead money. It is where people are beautiful and fashion plunging backs and second-hand stilettos and entirely original outfits. This is the place of the party with expectations for life.

The theatre serves a steady stream of stage art in all shapes and sizes – and at a price so affordable that even the poorest artisti soul can quench his thirst abundantly. Theatre, modern dance, concerts, lectures, movies, the whole shebang: Momentum Theatre is a theatre with everything coming up – including love.

  • Mon - Sun: 10.00 - 02.00
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Nordatlantisk Hus A must-see architectural gem by the harbour, home to an worthwhile restaurant serving New Nordic cuisine with a North Atlantic twist

Nordatlantisk Hus
Eating | Nordatlantisk Promenade 1, Odense C | Written by: Brian Lindskov Larsen | Photo: Hannibal-Bach | 18 recommendations

You can’t say you’ve been to New Odense until you’ve made your way to the harbour. Odense Harbour is not only a pretty sweet spot, it is also home to several major attractions of the city. And Nordatlantisk Hus is one of them. From afar it looks dangerously cool and un-Odensian and once inside you’ll find a remarkable restaurant serving up a slice of the North Atlantic at a reasonable price.

Grey cliffs and luminous icebergs have inspired the shape of this architectural gem, where icy blue glass birds circle above your head. This striking building was built in collaboration between Greenland House and Odense Municipality and houses the city’s finest student accommodation on its upper floors. Below, in an unbeatable setting, you’ll find a very special restaurant serving delicacies from Greenland and the Faroe Islands in the spirit of New Nordic cuisine. It may not be Noma, but it is delicious and affordable.

Go there for their abundant brunch with the best home-made Nutella you’ve ever had and a harbour view. Eat inside, on the terrace or take away.

Apart from the restaurant, Nordatlantisk Hus also offers occasional concerts and exhibitions with a North Atlantic twist. Their gift shop is open Thursdays and Fridays 1 pm – 6 pm, Saturdays 11 am - 2 pm.

  • Mon - Fri: 11.30 - 23.30
  • Sat: 10.00 - 23.30
  • Sun: 11.30 - 16.00
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Vollsmose Bibliotek A cultural stronghold with community spirit doubles as library and event house

Vollsmose Bibliotek
Culture | Vollsmose Alle 10, Odense NØ | Written by: Jakob Cæsius Krohn | 22 recommendations

“Out on the edges they're mixin' the colors/ Some they don't like it but me I don't mind” (Iggy Pop).

When my kids were very young, Vollsmose was the destination for their first long bicycle ride. We wanted to see the Children’s City. After traversing the idyllic path along the river – with views of pollarded trees in true Hans Christian Andersen style and polkadot ponies like Pippi Longstocking’s – we stood facing the enormous high-rise blocks on Vollsmose Allé. I don’t recall the kids expressing much admiration for or interest in the natural splendour (they were top busy complaining of fatigue and thirst), but my son’s first comment upon arrival was “MEGA nice!”. He immediately added ”The church looks like a prison” – and he’s right; at least, it is hard to tell it apart from the local Aldi. My daughter’s comment, on the other hand, was value neutral: ”Why are there so many brown people here, dad?”

In later years, Vollsmose has made a bad reputation for itself through gang showdowns, especially the one culminating at the Eid celebration, where men left by the dozen to ravage the hospital’s casualty department, and through the commotion around poet Yahya Hassan’s visit that (according to my source) had policemen stationed in every shrubbery in Vollsmose, and through the terrifying “dog-walker case”. However, it seems to be the case that most of the crime originates from a core of troublemakers, or even a small number of families. Experts have even stated that there is more crime in other Odense neighborhoods, naming Bolbro and Skt. Klemens.  Nonetheless, Vollsmose continues to enjoy a motley reputation, even to the extent that students of journalism at University of Southern Denmark have been advised to look elsewhere for research material for their projects.

I have always gone about the vilified streets of Vollsmose in safety. As recently as the early 1970s, it was also the site of a landfill, whose flammable underground produced yellow fetid vapours in the same area that is now home to one of the city’s most charming oases. Vollsmose has returned to its old standing as a place of recreation for the citizens of Odense, much like Stige Ø. And even if Vollsmose is flanked by two-lane roads on all four sides, it is not so much a black square as it is a black diamond, calling for light and life in the shape of an extended system of road and paths supporting new social and urban development strategies.

I have been told that if you insist on using the word ’ghetto’ about Vollsmose, you have to pluralize it, as each of the six ”parks”, each named after a good old Danish tree species, are home to 10.000 inhabitants of very different nationalities. But I wouldn’t know. During the couple of years that I worked in the area, I never once entered a single housing block. I haven’t visited the ‘bog’ for ages, so this is my cue. I think I’ll get on the old velocipede and go along the river path.

I know about Vollsmose because of a youth club and a leisure club, both with a compelling name: Ragnarok and The Diamond. But also because of Vollsmose Torv (previously known as Vollsmosecentret and Center Øst), which for me is, on the outside, the epitome of the architectural style “brutalism in concrete”; but on the inside it is memories of shopkeepers so overwhelmingly friendly, that on a gloomy day I would have to avoid being confronted with their brilliant smiles. But then one could turn to the “old Danes”, like the mysterious “Santa Claus” with the long white beard and the wheelchair, the irritable kiosk owner with the combover, or the crass guy with the cowboy outfit and beer cans by the entrance. Or the regulars at “Mosen”, which has now been well hidden under the center. Yes, I bloody miss them all.

But much has certainly changed since the last time I was there. Vollsmose Torv is a bit of a Klondike, where shops and restaurants come and go. I will therefore take a whole tour around the center, buy my groceries, and take a look inside the fine library, where poet Viggo Madsen once held court; then bust a move up the green spiral staircase and into Vollsmose Kulturhus, which - just like Kulturmaskinen in the city - is a place for conferences and all sorts of creative activities. Here you can also enjoy concerts, theater, movies and communal eating. 

Apropos wolves, it is argued that Vollsmose was given its name by the Germans - of all people! - because the wolf shrieked there in the old days.

  • Mon: 13.00 - 18.00
  • Tue: 10.00 - 16.00
  • Wed: 13.00 - 18.00
  • Thu - Fri: 10.00 - 16.00
  • Sat: 10.00 - 14.00
  • Sun: -
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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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Musikhuset Dexter Jazz, blues, Americana and more in an authentically no-frills venue

Musikhuset Dexter
Culture | Vindegade 65, Odense C | Written by: Kathrine Guldmann | 51 recommendations

You must lock arms with your friends, stroll through the streets, into Jazzhouse Dexter, one of Odense’s most authentic clubs, which serves as a playground for jazz loving people from far and wide. Meet talented jazz musicians, who will offer a terrific experience from Dexter’s intimate corner stage under the low ceiling. The acoustics are wonderful, the atmosphere unique, and if you arrive early you might snatch a seat up front and enjoy a beer and an (imaginary) cigarette, and be close enough to the musicians to smell them.

If you are one to hide in the corner, under the shade of your hat with a Whiskey and a Cuban cigar, find somewhere else or put out your cigar, because at Dexter’s smoking is prohibited. Luckily, there are other things to do. If, on the contrary, you are the type, who cannot help but shake your tail feather when the live music crawls through your ear canal, feel free to show off your moves on the dance floor. For everyone else, there is also the option to sway discretely off stage.

Follow the blue lights and come along! Do not miss the lovely, wanton and vivid music played here – whether world class jazz equilibrists or the budding musicians of Odense. It is going to be wonderful.

If you ask me, Jazzhouse Dexter’s free Monday events are one of the best ways to spend your Monday evening in Odense. Whether the menu offers jazz jam, blues, or gypy/hip hop/poetry slam-fusion there is something about the atmosphere around small tables in dimmed lighting that always adds something to your evening.

For most, Sunday is the day of rest, reading the newspaper, and general regenration after the hardships of the preceding week. If, however, you feel like bursting the sleepy Sunday bubble, Dexter offers the vitality, which most Sundays lack. Therefore, I have no qualms about bringing my mopey eyes to Dexter’s soft light, without fear of dozing off. I have no doubt that a shot of swinging big band energy or captivating drum solo rythm acrobatics should suffice to wake most people from their Sunday slumber and send them forward with renewed energy.

I love Dexter! I like Posten and Kansas City, but I love Dexter!

 

  • Mon - Sun: -
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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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Danmarks Jernbanemuseum Give in to your childlike love of trains and wear tweed to the museum

Danmarks Jernbanemuseum
Culture | Dannebrogsgade 24, Odense C | Written by: Mikkel West | 17 recommendations

My childhood fondness for trains always flares up when I see a proud steam locomotive. I sense the presence of history and am reminded of the formerly all-important role of railways in Danish infrastructure.

At The Danish Railway Museum, they are having a ball paying tribute to railway culture - that is, to art paying tribute to railway culture. Recently, a symphony orchestra played Lumbye's "Steam Railway Galop" there and later that same season, the museum screened Lars von Trier's "Europa" among the trains.

In connection with Kulturnatten, the Railway Museum hosted a poetry slam in the high-ceilinged exhibition hall, where steam locomotives sit quietly among train accessories of yore The museum seems to like the juxtaposition of old iron and cultural events, and have launched the quite appealing concept JernbaneKULTUR (RailCULTURE).

The train's movement through the landscape, arrivals, departures, the roar of the engine, the random encounters with other travelers; all of this has fueled art since the dawn of time, or rather, the dawn of railways - trains are dynamos for music and literature and it actually makes a lot of sense to use this setting as a platform for art.

And railways deserve our tributes. Even if, after 132 years, it still seems to surprise DSB that leaves fall from the trees every other season, and the prices may be grotesque, but apart from that, trains are the most convenient and wonderful mode of transportation. Show up in your best set of 1930s tweeds and take a steam engine selfie.

  • Mon - 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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FAA Project Room Unpredictable exhibition space for students at Funen Art Academy

FAA Project Room
Culture | Jernbanegade 13, Odense C | Written by: Heidi Nikolaisen | 15 recommendations

FAA Project Room is an unpredictable and all-round project- and exhibition space for students at the Funen Art Academy.

On the 4th floor of Brandts Klædefabrik, on the right hand side once you come up the stairs or from the elevator, is a large space that functions as an experimental platform for the students' art works.

Here, thoughts, ideas for exhibitions, and formats of knowledge are tested and refined in a coherent space, which among other things is meant to encourage people with interest in art of all shapes and sizes to become familiar with the work of the scholars.

Therefore, FAA Project Room is not like other exhibition spaces. It is a look into the world of art scholars. Sometimes you get to see almost finished and tested project, some other times just a hint of form. That's what is unique about the place. You can't predict what you will find.

There are not fixed opening times or program, so the best idea is to keep up-to-date with their facebook page, or sign up for the art academy's newsletter.

  • Mon - Sun: -
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Galleri 5000 A (secret) gallery with the best of Danish visual arts hidden away in an apartment

Galleri 5000
Culture | Filosofgangen 3, Odense C | Written by: Bo Jessen | 1 recommendations

The best gallery in town is also the best kept secret. Galleri 5000 is Peter Thomsen's spacious third-floor apartment on Filosofgangen. Here, decor and art bombard the senses in alternating exhibitions. Genres and prices fluctuate, but the quality is consistent.

Go exploring among paintings, photography, prints and sculpture by artists of varying fame, some of them local. You will find names such as Peter Martensen, John Olsen and Per Arnoldi, with price tags ranging from a couple of hundred to a million kroner.

Peter Thomsen is a kind, knowledgable host, patient with visitors who need a briefing on stylistic periods and artists' names.

You can always try the doorbell, but if you want to make sure that the gallerist is in, you should call ahead on 24 23 73 57 and make an appointment. Ahead of your visit, you can delve into the gallery's website, which lists more than 2.300 works of art for sale.

  • Mon - Sun: 00.00 - 24.00
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Cafe biografen Films should be seen on screen at Cafe Biografen

Cafe biografen
Culture | Brandts Passage 39, Odense C | Written by: Bo Jessen | Translated by: Francois Picard | 78 recommendations

On July 23, 1983, Ole and Karen Cafe opened Café Biografen, being thus the first ones to open a new business within the renovated Brandts Klædefabrik. With a colonial builder spirit and a scrap collector energy, they created an oasis in the past detached house city.

Since then, not much has changed. Karen handed the café over to Jørgen. But Ole is still there, the interior is almost the same, and in the small viewing room with soft red seats, where you can bring a drink with you in both glass and porcelain, are still projected movies certainly far from the common Hollywood standards.

Development resistance is rarely an advantage nowadays, but the Café Biografen is today an integral part of so many Odenseaners’ life and story, that major changes would inevitably mean that we would lose a part of ourselves. Even a stressed waiter’s grumpy closing time warning has become for me a predictable ritual, bringing joyful memories.

The Café Biografen is the destination for both everyday evenings, an early city tour and a Sunday afternoon around a backgammon. During the winter, the ground floor is a compelling shelter, bathing the Amfiplads’s soggy quarry tiles in light; in the early summer, the café moves outside under the sun and the linden tree; and when August finally arrives, the Café Biografen becomes home for film makers from all around the world during the famous Odense International Film Festival (“OFF”).

With the support from the Danish Film Institute (“DFI”), there is as well an obligation to give special attention to what moves the movie public places, where they do not already are. Therefore, one could wish that the Café Biografen, with greater courage and independence, dared to push a bit more the slightly-too-safe-choices boundaries, making thus Odense’s own great cinema an attraction for both movie and atmosphere.

  • Mon - Sat: 10.00 - 23.00
  • Sun: 10.00 - 22.30
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Antikvariatet Find your next great read in the little antiquarian bookstore

Antikvariatet
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

Nørregaards Teater One of Denmark’s best and most energetic children & youth theatres

Nørregaards Teater
Culture | Filosofgangen 19, Odense C | Written by: Anders Skovgaard | Photo: Hannibal-Bach | 6 recommendations

Nørregaards Teater is Odense's only professional theater for children, which through the years has produced and developed a number of intense and elegant shows for children and young people.

The theater is very active, producing and co-producing new shows of high artistic quality every year. It's not just a theater that wants to entertain. The performances are deep and based on issues and dilemmas that children and teenagers might have — and always on the children's premises.

The theater also shows guest performances for the young audiences — which adults can enjoy too.

  • Mon - Sun: -
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Odense Bunkermuseum Dedicated Cold War museum is in itself a perfect time capsule

Odense Bunkermuseum
Culture | Kragsbjergvej 99, Odense M | Written by: Mikkel West | 1 recommendations

Odense Bunkermuseum offers a living picture of how real the Cold War was.

The museum consists of a fully intact, atomic-proof military command center — which operated in secret until 2007 — from which Odense was to be governed in the case of an attack from the Soviet Union. The bunker still holds the original systems from the Cold War, which still work. Original paraphernalia like forms, disaster plans, telephones, radio equipment, warning systems, and a city map can also be seen.

The bunker is divided into an auditorium-like command center, a communications center (where secured phone lines originally made it possible to keep in touch with the city, with Fynen's authorities, and with other atomic bunkers), a kitchen with room for 30 people, and an intact machine room with a functioning back-up power generator.

  • Mon - Fri: -
  • Sat - Sun: 10.00 - 16.00
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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 | 1 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: -
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Fyns Antikvariat Pull on your trench coat and get your crime fiction fix at Fyns Antikvariat

Fyns Antikvariat
Shopping | Østre Stationsvej 42, Baghuset | Written by: Christoffer Henneberg | Translated by: Malte Joe Frid-Nielsen | 1 recommendations

You’ll only find two second-hand bookshops in downtown Odense, but it just happens that they complement each other so nicely, that you might suspect them of secretly coordinating to share the market: Akademisk Antikvariat and Fyns Antikvariat.

Where Akademisk Antikvariat has a dusty aura of wisdom about it, Fyens Antikvariat on Østre Stationsvej is a bit more sleazy. A sign out on the road guides you into the back lot, where you flip up the collar on your trench coat and skulk your way down into the back annex. Here, Carsten Bøttcher will greet your eye with a suitably disillusioned expression, not unlike that of a veteran bartender, whose many years of service has made him well-versed in every shade of human vice. An attitude which is totally in keeping with the locale.

Because these depths don’t exactly invite you to delve into academic studies, but rather tempt you with the quick thrill you get from comic books, graphic novels, horror stories, detective fiction and other more or less sordid forms of light reading. If you’re in the mood for more corporeal satisfaction, there’s even a separate room dedicated to porno films and magazines.

In general, there’s more room than in Akademisk Antikvariat, where you can barely squeeze through with a backpack without toppling one of the many unruly Jenga-towers of books.

The house specialty is comic books and according to the website, it is the nation’s most well-stocked second-hand shop in this category. As if that weren’t enough, they also have their own publishing house, Tegneserie Kompagniet, which has produced an array of volumes, as well as another newer publishing line, High Heels Society, which specializes in erotic and pornographic comics.

If you’re not into graphic storytelling, you should take the time to peruse the large selection of crime novels. While chain stores like Arnold Busck only have the newest offerings on their shelves – titles age quickly on the oversaturated market – here, you can find all old the hardboiled American classics in yellowed pulp paperback, sure to earn approving nods from Dan Turéll.

And more besides: Police stories, historical intrigues, counterfactual histories, female-centered crime novels, Southern crime, Scandinavian noir, spy thrillers, lexicons of crime literature, you name it, Karsten’s got it.

A few series that I collect and can recommend are: Raymond Chandler’s unmissable septet about detective Philip Marlow, who was immortalized on film by Humphrey Bogart; Lawrence Block’s New York crime stories about the alcoholic ex-NYPD cop-turned-private-eye, Matt Scudder; Sara Paretsky, the first so-called “Sister in Crime” to be translated into Danish and her female-centered detective novels about Chicago’s V.I. Warschawski – Vic, for short – a cool character who is more than a match for her male colleagues, both when it comes to taking slugs of whiskey and dealing out slugs of lead!

 

  • Mon - Fri: 12:00 - 17:30
  • Sat: 10:00 - 13:00
  • Sun: -
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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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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
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