Guest | Written by: Mikkel Larris | Friday, November 17, 2017

Odense is moving fast. But where are we going?

Odense is moving fast. But where are we going?
Debate | Written by: This Is Odense | Translated by: Pil Lindgreen | Tuesday, November 14, 2017

ELECTION DEBATE: More things are happening in Odense than ever before. But what direction is the cultural scene going in? And more importantly, where do we want it to go?

In a series of articles leading up to the local elections, we will be asking questions about the city’s culture and providing our best answers, helped by some of the people involved in arts and culture in Odense. Read along, voice your opinion and show up on Saturday at the pre-election debate organized by Kulturklyngen at Storms Pakhus at 6 pm. Central figures in the election will be there to answer for themselves.


Photo: Theatre Momentum, 2016


This Is Odense’s aim has always been to show that the city has more to offer than you might think. Today, this is truer than ever before, and our job of looking through Odense’s events and selecting the best is getting more and more difficult each week. But as exciting as this new multitude is, all new things are not good merely on account of being new.
And what do we mean by that?  

No matter how much we might differ in opinion within the group in This Is Odense, we all share a dream of culture that challenges us; arts that do not merely aim to please, but strive to provoke and change.   

A cultural scene that does not begin and end with audience numbers, but cares to move its audiences. A cultural scene that is open to the world, but does not rely on tried and true cultural package-deals passing through town. A cultural scene that allows artists not only to survive but to live and play in Odense.

A cultural scene that causes a stir throughout Denmark, but is as real and present to an Odensian on a Tuesday night in some muggy attic as it is in the crowd in front of the stage on a June evening in Tusindårsskoven.

A cultural scene supported by a free and open discussion about its own merits and direction.

In other words, culture with courage. And there is still some way to go before we get there.


The cultural scene in Odense is small enough that most people in it are connected somehow, depending on support from each other and often from the City itself. This kind of close network often means fruitful conditions for collaborations, but also sometimes that necessary critiques and critical questions are only posed in private conversations. And we should not forget that at This Is Odense we too are part of this network.

But the questions have to be asked, so the starting point for our series of articles is to bring some of these difficult questions to light.



Photo: Odeon’s main venue, Store Sal. Credit: Klaus Knakkergaard

ODEON has been long in the making - from the initial plan to place a cultural centre in the former Thrige factory, to a political decision to establish a centre for music and theatre at its present-day location back in 2005 that stranded during the financial crisis and went through two consecutive adaptations before it reached its final form. The question is: has ODEON become what we hoped it would? And is it what Odense needs today?

A political decision in 2005 allotted DKK 90 m to a projected new centre for music and theatre. The project was called a cultural beacon for the city and both Venstre and Socialdemokraterne were eager to stress the importance of smaller, non-commercial cultural initiatives being invited to join this new centre.

When the sketch for the ODEON project was unveiled in 2008, it was accompanied by the story of building a “cultural powerhouse”. Then-mayor Anker Boye (A) called the centre “the beating heart of the city”, and predicted it would finally put Odense on the cultural map. Jan Boye (K) pointed out that ODEON would allow the city to attract performers of a whole new calibre, while Jane Jegind (V) called it a “cultural beacon that will make the citizens of Odense proud of their hometown”. Meanwhile, urbanist Lars Engberg commented that a cultural centre will only become a landmark when it provides content of unique quality.

What followed was a lowering of both price and quality, especially for the main venue, in order to make a profit on student housing, a supermarket, and conference facilities at the centre. A more realistic project for the post-2008 market, some might say. Meanwhile, the City increased its share of the investment. Jan Boye (K) maintained that the centre would be of high quality. The Danish National School of Performing Arts and the Danish National Academy of Music argued that this was their chance to make a mark on the city and create new synergies by settling their activities in the building. Steen Møller, who replaced Jan Boye, called it a possible “international dynamo”, and both S and DF expressed enthusiasm.

Cut to late 2017. ODEON has been open and running for about eight months now, and what do we have on our hands? The city has gained an acclaimed communal restaurant and a much critized supermarket.
We have not seen much of the non-commercial initiatives so far, contrary to the original intent. And whether such performers would be able to carve out a meaningful space for themselves in the building remains to be seen. It is still too early to judge what has been gained by moving the schools of music and performance to their new location.

What we can judge is the cultural landmark, the “beacon” itself; ODEON’s own bookings and visiting events of the past eight months. This is where projection and reality differ the most. A cross-section of the programme so far includes: City Singler, Tina Dickow, Chippendales, Linie 3, The Bootleg Beatles, Kim Larsen, Stine Bramsen, Caroline Henderson, Svend Brinkmann, Midt Om Natten-musical, Cliff Richard, and of course productions by Odense Teater and Odense Symphony Orchestra.

It is very hard to see a beacon taking shape from that. Nothing on that list does not already feature on every major venue across the country and most of the performers could have been booked at Odense’s existing venues. And though the acoustics might be better at ODEON, other venues might have offered a more fitting setting for several names. Worst case scenario: because of ODEON, Odense is left with a lesser culture and the new venue could be said to cannibalize the bookings of other, existing venues.
We might be so bold as to ask: Has Odense gained anything culturally by ODEON that the city did not already have?

And does it have to be that way? The special merit of ODEON must lie in its size and in the quality of its events. So what happened to the ambitions for its bookings? Where is the courage to be a cultural beacon? Could it really be that there are still people who doubt that Odensians are ready to step out of their comfort zone? And what role does the City play in challenging this tendency?



Photo: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at their almost sold-out show at Posten last week

Posten is the regional venue in Odense - one of 18 across the country - and is comparable in size to Radar, Train and Global/Jazzhouse in Copenhagen and Århus.

It is furthermore a venue with a solid economic record and a strong network of sponsors. Comparing Posten’s finances to the accounts for Vega, the two receive roughly the same state funding (Vega DKK 6.1 m, Posten/Dexter DKK 6.2 m), and have roughly the same income from sponsors (Vega DKK 1.8 m, Posten/Dexter DKK 1.4 m). The big difference lies in their turnover. Ticket income at Posten/Dexter amounts to DKK 10.3 m; Vega DKK 56 m.

Posten states its strategy as follows: offering audiences “high-quality live music” and big international names, and in later years have also expressed ambition to support upcoming local bands and underground acts. After its extension in 2007, Posten has a capacity of 900 at its main stage. In comparison, the count at Vega is 1,550, at Radar 300 and at Train 1,000.

All things considered, Posten should be able to offer Odensians a combination of high quality upcoming bands and midsize international acts, on top of those classic Danish acts touring the nation.

Between now and April next year, Vega has (among many other) the following acts scheduled that would easily fit the bill at Posten too: Joey BadaSS, Destroyer, Alex Cameron, Sun Kill Moon, The Kooks, Mastodon, Mando Diao, Thomas Dybdahl, Iron and Wine, Niels Frahm, First Aid Kit and Editors. Hiphop, singer-songwriting, indie rock, folk rock, pop rock, heavy, alternative rock, modern classic and electronic music.

Posten, in that same period, presents a list of cover bands, well-known Danish touring bands and a handful of lesser known international acts, that are not unknown because they are on the verge of a breakthrough.

Is it not possible to improve this booking profile? Shouldn’t Posten be Odenses main venue for medium-sized international acts? And what about the ambience? Why don’t audiences tend to stay and hang out at Posten after a concert? Why is there no sense of a creative environment when you enter through its doors? Why is it that one tends to feel more like a number being handled in wardrobe than a valued guest?



Photo: Kenneth Danielsen, Odense Offentlige Slagtehuse

This leads us to the next question - does Odense lack a true alternative upcoming venue surrounded by production facilities and rehearsal space for off-off centre arts with less obvious commercial potential? A creative hub without a neat and orderly municipal ambience? In a central location? Where bookers do not have to end concerts early, and where artists and organizers can shape everything from start to finish?

Is the lack of such a place not one of the main reasons why the city’s creative talent is so hard to find, even though it is growing in numbers? Kansas City is trying its best to be that place on the music scene, but its efforts have so far been held back by its location far from the city centre and its small following.

Kulturklyngen is on it; several cultural and educational institutions are talking about it, and initiatives such as Røde Himmel and other talented people from Ungdomshuset and Flow HF have been looking for an inclusive home for a while now.

How will we get there - what will it take? What is the ideal location? Could the last remnant of pristine industrial history on Siloøen be an option? Not every bit of industrial history has yet been developed into apartments, but we are getting there, and fast. That is not the recipe for a big city. What role should the city play in establishing such a project? And how do we ensure that it does not end up another temporary space, fertilizing an area for investment and development?



Photo: Disney exhibition at Brandts

The new Brandts is big, shiny, and ready to position itself as an ever-larger-looming figure in Odensian culture. Central to this ambition is (mostly) pop(ular) art. Soon the fourth floor that hosts the Funen Art Academy will be cleared and included in Brandts. The Media Museum will also have to go. More room - bigger exhibitions - more visitors.

Brandts has since its relaunch in 2014 exhibited tattoos, fashion, air travel, the sea, Walt Disney (with hands tied and no creative input) and, currently, the work of Lars von Trier. All no doubt with the admirable aim of getting more people to visit, and to establish itself among the big players in Danish cultural institutions.

The question is: What do we lose along the way? Is it really in a serious museum’s best interest to purchase a readymade (by Disney) exhibition on Disney? Is it desirable to fill the museum bookstore with assorted bric-a-brac instead of art books and make a visitor’s first impression that of a Bed, Bath and Beyond? Exit through the giftshop, please. And buy your identity here.

The rebranding of Brandts has included a satellite in Brandts 13; home to every risk and chance the museum has taken in the past 3-4 years, and as a result, often the most interesting exhibition space in Odense. Now it too faces closure. Brandts 13 has played the part of the empire’s frontrunner; pushing forward, moving ahead with installatons, photography and contemporary artist from Funen, Denmark and the world. Every exhibition has met an impressive still- higher standard.

What will happen to these ambitions when Brandts 13 closes its doors? Will the ambition and cultural courage move to a different site in the Brandts empire? And what will happen to the building - the former Funen Art Museum? Might a clever investor eye an opportunity to develop luxury apartments with a desirable tint of culture?


Photo: Funen Art Academy at Brandts

This is one question that has already been raised and discussed in the past few years - it usually comes up whenever the city council is negotiating their next budget, and there are rarely any visions for solutions beyond balancing the accounts.

Instead of discussing whether the City is allowed to fund an institute of higher education, we should be talking about why it is important to have an art academy in our city. Could the art academy anchor a new creative scene on the harbour? What kind of art might arise from establishing a alternative cultural centre? Could it create an enviromnent attractive to more people than the art students themselves?

Might it challenge the mentality of headless progress that has lead to a massive billboard lighting up the city with commercials for the airport canteen and Svendborg, day and night? And what is the Art Academy itself currently doing to ensure its future existence?


Photo: Odense Kommune - the new “Borgernes Hus”

The city’s libraries receive DKK 70 mio.  in yearly funding, and, seen together, as a result, they could be called one of the largest cultural institution in Odense. The institution also distinguishes itself by having branches located all over the city; a potential to cater to and interact with a very broad spectrum of citizens.

Running a library in 2017 must be somewhat similar to planning a city of self-driving cars: the possibilites are revolutionary, but no one knows what the future holds and there is a danger of destroying something that already works in favour of something uncertain.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that the best option is to continue shelving books and just wait for time to make the choice for you. Næsby Library started the Harry Potter Festival in a back room 15 years ago and now service 15,000 visitors for that event alone each year.

The Music Library was hosting and creating some of the most interesting and challenging cultural events in the city before they were given the unwelcome task of being the main library while Borgernes Hus was underway. What will become of their energetic ideas in their new, gilded setting at the central station?

And why is there not a handful of other examples of libraries breaking the mould? The money is there. What might happen at the new Borgernes Hus? Will it finally become a place where people will want to create, hang out, play? Or will it be “yet another library”?


Odense has made a name for itself as a site for big events in recent years, thanks to funds from Odense & Co. Events sponsored by this fund have been well-executed on an unprecedented large scale.

This justifiably excites a lot people, but has also raised some eyebrows. Who is these events catering to? Are they for the benefit of current Odensians or do they serve to attract new citizens - and if the latter is true; are these the best events, then, strategically?

How do we strike a balance between buying events from professional Danish/ international event organizers and supporting local organizers who may not have the same ressources, financial or otherwise, but who could anchor the profits as wells as the experience in local talent?

It is a difficult queston. Could local forces have organized Tinderbox on the same scale and with equal success? No, probably not. And the same could be said for a number of smaller events in the same category. There IS a difference when it comes to skill, experience and turnover. Yet what happens to all of that when the organizers move on and go back where they came from; when the money leaves?

It has been integral to the strategy to ground know-how locally, but has it been successfully done? There is no doubt that the local commercial event organizers are frustrated. Are they right to be?


S o. What do our future representatives in public office think about all this? Do they even have an opinion? Who and what do the arts serve? What are the hidden possibilites in Odense? Which cultural institutions have the potential to do better, and how do we foster a distinct cultural scene, whose influence reaches across Danish borders while maintaining a clear Odensian spirit? Is there room for dreams of more than counting pennies in next year’s political plans? Do arts and culture mainly serve to create growth and attract new citizens or is there inherent value in this field?

These are some of our concerns and questions for the future. What do you think? Are we far off? What is the most urgent thing for politicians to discuss before the elections? And what do we need to talk about when the elections are over?


Sailing to Odense

Sailing to Odense
Essay | Written by: Mira Erik | Wednesday, October 25, 2017

I used to think that Odense sucked as a sailing destination. But I know better now. 

I grew up sailing the South Funen waters; navigating green islands, landing on beaches. Not in a million years was I going to moor at Odense Harbour; that long, dull, artifical entrance. 

It turns out it is a sport, a game. A different thing, but not a lesser thing. It is curiously difficult to navigate because the channel passage is narrow as a trouser leg, and you will run aground the second you bass that buoy. There is no margin.  You have to beat up to windward in tight little moves.

A sport: sailing so close to the buoys that you can stick your chewing gum to them

Nautical charts. At the top: Gabet, followed by the channel passage past the shipyard and to the canal. The canal is just outside the frame on the left side.

But before we begin our trip inland, we have to tend to the necessities - sailing, peeing, swimming:

With our backs to Fyns Hoved - the northernmost point of Funen, seperating Kattegat and Storebælt.


Just south of Fyns Hoved - right when you have passed its tip - you’ll see Korshavn, an amazing natural harbour. And if you don’t want to moor, you can drop your anchor right there in the middle of nowhere:

Anchoring for the night

“Hygge” and near-comatose sleep in the bunks below deck
And here we go! Hard winds from the east tear at the sails. The deck is flooded. 

Gabet is that tiny opening you pass through from the open sea into Odense Fjord. It is like a funnel through which the wide ocean pours into a narrow tube, and that’s why the waves are always in motion here. Action waters. And if you’re lucky, some of the really big ships are heading towards the shipyard and you get to sail alongside giants. 

And you’re there: Gabet. On a quiet day like this, the shallow waters are easy and still. Enebærodde at your starboard side. The lighthouse is 14 metres tall and was built in 1869, and its siblings stand on every tip of the Danish coast. I love them. When you turn the corner, the shipyard comes into view.

Gabet lighthouse

The shipyard on the horizon

A seasoned sailer who is familiar with the waters would cross the shallow waters at Hvide-Grund, but I am not taking any chances. I am sailing without a gps, using nautical charts instead, and I have only navigated this passage a couple of times. We navigate the buoys and laugh at the cormorants who glare at us before they take off when we get close.   

Sailing is slow and suspenseful. You can see far - and it will take exactly as long as you think to get there. 

It is quiet here. Only the cranes are noisy. They lift up their metal cargo. We sail by close enough to reach out and touch.  

Lindø shipyard. Wow. 

Throughout the 20th century, Lindø shipyard was one of the titans of Funen industry in earnings as well as in number of employees. At the height of its productivity in 1974, Lindø employed 6105 people. The shipyard ruled North Funen. 

The grand dames of the seven seas were built here at Lindø. Here: Emma Mærsk passes by Enebærodde after stopping by for repairs. In 2006, at her virgin voyage, she was the world’s largest container vessel. 

The navigation channel is 11 metres deep here to accomodate the huge vessels. From here on in the canal is 7,5 metres wide and it only gets narrower from here. This is where the chewing gum game starts. 

We leave Lindø behind

Taking a nap and missing out

At the next bend in the channel, the smokestacks of the power plant appear in the distance. 

The outermost edges of the nature preserve before Stige Ø is in sight. De yderste klatter af naturreservatet før Stige Ø kommer til syne. Standing at the stern and gazing out is the best. 

And we enter the canal. The five kilometre long canal was dug by hand force by 200 workers over the course of eight years, using only shovels and wheelbarrows. On October 7 1803 the first ship entered Odense Harbour through the canal. The new harbour was an important factor in the city’s growth in the 1800s, as it simplified the previous work of unloading goods at Skibhusene, where everything was repackaged  and shipped by smaller prams to Odense. Difficult, arduous work. The canal is around 3 metres deep. 

Odense canal. Max speed: 6 knots.

No matter how windy it was on the other side of Gabet, the hills on either side of the passage provide shelter here. You can take off your boots and your hat, and every windproof, woollen item, and the last stretch can be navigated in a bikini, aided by a warm, gentle breeze. 

A distinct and meticulous stone wall lines the canal on the last stretch. We spot horses and cyclists on both sides of the water. 

As we get close to the harbour, we get busy tying fenders and readying ourselves for mooring, which without the aid of a motor engine involves so much adrenaline and concentrated work that I completely forget to take any pictures of us disembarking. But hell, who needs to be on solid ground?

All pictures by Mira Erik, except the aerial photo of Emma Mærsk.


8 good reasons to move to Odense - right now

8 good reasons to move to Odense - right now
List | Written by: Bo Jessen | Translated by: Pil Lindgreen | Sunday, September 3, 2017

I cannot think of anyone more critical of Odense than us here at This Is Odense: not because we don’t believe in the city, or don’t see the city’s potential, nor because we think the city is headed in the wrong direction.

No, we are critical for the opposite reason - because we believe that Odense has a historical opportunity to become a very special little big city if we pull through and say no to the temptation of shortcuts and short term solutions.

This is my claim on behalf of Odense right now: Odense could become the only city in Denmark that offers both intensity and contemplation - the only city that combines the two greatest opposing trends of our time: our need for urban speed, creativity and stimulation, and our longing for community, nature and room to think.

You and your friends are invited to join the movement - here are 8 reasons to move to Odense right now:


1. The jobs of the future are in Odense

Universal Robots, den største robotvirksomhed i Odense med 350 ansatte og en forventning om yderligere 30 % medarbejdere i Odense i 2017


The robotics hub in Odense is one of the most important hubs in Europe and among the 10 most important in the world. In 2016, the tech hub was home to 102 companies with around 2,600 employees; this with an increase of 22 companies and 400 employees compared to the previous year. A conservative assesment expects a 60% increase in the workforce at the hub by 2020. There are 83 vacancies at the hub right now - see them all here .

Several other professions are booming, including drone and IT businesses. You can get a job at Daxioatic - voted the best workplace in Denmark - or join the open-source crowd at Umbraco, who program websites for international companies and whose platform is used by half a million around the world. See more job openings in the IT business in Odense here.

And if you can’t find the perfect job in Odense, chances are you will find it somewhere within an hour’s drive between Århus and Copenhagen - and in a year or so, a lot of jobs are going to be a lot closer once the fast train to Copenhagen is in service.


2. Innovative education - students in Odense are spoilt for choice

University College Lillebælt at City Campus is neighbour to the train station,
the harbour, the city centre and the newly opened street food market Storms Pakhus.


The tech hub is also making its mark on the city’s institutes of education. Children in Odense’s elementary schools play with educational robots made by local company Kubo and no less than 40 educational programmes offer schooling in robot technology, including the brand new course in automation technology at University College Lillebælt, study to become an automatic technician at SDE College, or delve into robot technology at University of Southern Denmark (SDU).

At SDU they are treading new paths, too: while the rest of Denmark is busy fighting over grade averages, SDU has increased its acceptance rate of alternative admission requirements by 25% and held 5,300 extraordinary admissions tests in 2017, and SDU is the first university in Denmark to establish a mandatory semester abroad. That is not all: Once the projected university hospital is finished, a new health sciences faculty will offer extraordinary opportunities to future students in that field.

Or - study to be an artist at Funen Art Academy, learn from the country’s finest jazz musicians at the Danish National Academy of Music, or become an actor at the National Danish School of Performing Arts. Or choose one of the roughly 200 other institutes of higher education in the city, all working together towards creating Denmark’s best study environment with many shared events.


3. Odense is the greenest city in Denmark

House of Fairytales right next to the pedestrian zone in the city centre


In which other Danish city can you sail down or walk or bicycle along a lush and green river valley running through the city centre? In which other Danish city will you find an urban garden at City Hall? What other Danish city will have a garden like the one pictured above in 2-3 years?

And Odense is about to become even greener: two trees are planted for every tree that is cut down during the construction of the light rail system, and the municipality is currently planning a new large-scale vision for a greener city.

If you crave more nature still, Odense is only 30 minutes away from the most striking areas of natural beauty on Funen, such as the south Funen archipelago.

A september boat trip through central Odense


4. The city is being transformed with a 40 billion DKK investment

Thomas B. Thriges Gade, the former four-lane road, is being transformed into a green neighbourhood

Odense is currently undergoing what might be the most radical transformation of a former industrial city into a living, liveable city in Danish history. From 2012-2020, more than 40 billion DKK will be invested in developing Odense.

As a result, Odense will get a tram system, the largest new university hospital in Denmark, and a four-lane road that used to cut through the city is being turned into a green urban area with apartments, shops, restaurants, cultural venues, squares and green spaces.

The city has already been endowed with a harbour bath, and a bicycle bridge that spans the train tracks and makes life easier for pedestrians and cyclists traveling between the harbour and the city centre. And much more is underway. It all adds up to a better city, and it fuels a special confidence in the future for Odensians.


5. You can make a difference in Odense

The FAF building with street artist Roa’s tuna is home to Dynamo workspace
for circus and performing arts, who have arrived from Copenhagen

Odense is small enough that you won’t disappear in the crowds and big enough that anyone with something to share can find an audience. There is a special DIY vibe on the alternative cultural scene, where underground groups across the board collaborate to everyone’s advantage.

A side-effect of the city’s transformation is that anyone who has a good idea and the talent to bring it to life can find their niche and create a distinct environment from scratch. A city headed for an unknown destination can be shaped by the doers and dreamers of the moment. And there is a massive heritage of industrial buildings just waiting to be put to new use - just as Dynamo has done with the FAF building, or Storms Pakhus at the former timber warehouse, or DOK5000 the old silos.


6. You don’t have to sell your spleen to buy an apartment in Odense

Vesterbro, one of Odense’s central neighbourhoods. Photo: Kirstine Mengel

Unlike the housing market in Copenhagen and Århus, an apartment or a house within walking distance of the city centre in Odense is affordable for most people. The average square metre cost in Copenhagen is currently 44,000 DKK; in Århus it is 28,000 DKK; in Odense, only 17,500 DKK. That means that a 100 m2 apartment in Copenhagen will cost you 4.4 million DKK, whereas the same in Odense will cost you only 1.7 million DKK.

On the rental market, too, the difference is stark: a two-bedroom apartment in Copenhagen averaged 10,838 DKK in 2016, in Århus 7, 307 DKK and in Odense 5,463.

If you're a student you're lucky that the City of Odense guarantees a place to stay, if you can't find one yourself. Not sure how fun it is to roam the streets for the first two months without a roof over your head?

As an added bonus, 95% of all residential buildings in Odense are located within 300 m of a green area - Odense being Denmark’s greenest city, and all.


7. More culture, better culture

There are more than 80 festivals in Odense in 2017


When we started publishing cultural recommendations at This Is Odense back in 2013, we acted against a myth that nothing ever happened in Odense.

The arrival of Tinderbox music festival, street party Karrusel and H. C. Andersen Festivals has put that myth to rest.

But it is not only the popular strains of festival life that flourish in Odense - the city is also home to Denmark’s most uncompromising electronic music festival PHONO, a locavore gastro-festival, SPIS!, Mod.Strøm festival for abandoned sites and buildings, international short films at Denmark’s only Oscar-qualifying film festival OFF, the world’s best circus artists at Dynamo, word-lovers at Spoken Word Festival, and it is becoming the entire Danish music industry’s new meeting place during Music Days, and the list goes on.

Not to mention everyday life on the cultural scene, which keeps surprising even cynics like us with its diversity and inventiveness.


8. Odense is a gastronomical destination

Restaurant Vår in Vintapperstræde is one of the city’s most interesting new restaurants

Odense is brimming with restaurants. 61 new restaurants opened in the city center between May 2014 and February 2017. Only last week, a new street food market opened in the remarkable setting of Storms Pakhus, an old warehouse on the harbour. The near future will see yet another street food market open at Arkaden, and a food hall is planned for a central location at the former Thomas B. Thrige site, supplementing the existing fresh produce market at Grønttorvet.

It is not just a matter of quantity; quality is on the rise, too: high quality restaurants have opened in every price range, and still more wine or beer bars are being added to the list each. Funen has traditionally been called “Denmark’s garden” and Odensian restaurants make good use of the finest that Denmark has to offer by basing their menus on local and seasonal produce.



The Odense of my dead ones

The Odense of my dead ones
Guide | Written by: My Rasmussen | Translated by: Irina Antonescu | Wednesday, August 30, 2017

WHEN YOU'VE Lived in a city for a long time, YOU see both what the city was and is

You walk past buildings that once housed the ones you loved.
Places where you lived your prehistoric self.
And you fall into nostalgia. Because the walls and the roads stay there and look like themselves, even though the people who filled the air with perfume and the staircase with footsteps are long gone.

In the Ansgargade apartment, at my refined grandmother's place, there were embroidered slippers in the warm cabinet and marmalade spread on the whitest wheat bread. But now others live there. No longer my grandmother, who always required to taste her watermelon before buying it at Føtex, while I hid behind the tea shelf with blushing cheeks.

I imagine that my grandmother's home - with noise- and dust- absorbing carpets, the Bornholm clock and the black plastic telephone with rotary dial; the dark hallway, the fringed armchairs and the kitchen, where the doors were closed with a small metal hasp making a crisp sound, has now become all whitened and brightened and streamlined.

I don't think THERE'S STILL SOMEONE HERE holding pastel-colored water balls in a glass JAR in the bathroom.

Odense shouldn't have been my city, and strictly speaking I shouldn't have been here at all, as the two halves of my gene pool had planned to settle on different continents. But Australia did not want Argentinian emigrants.

And the bad health of my youngest uncle made the stopover on Ternevej permanent. Here, my grandfather mangaged to skillfully hide his shame of having survived far too much behind a big smile and an abundant appetite.

Where my aunt Anna lived, I don't know. I'm afraid to find out. I'm afraid to concretize the magic out of the memory where lemonade and lavender and my aunt, with hysterical big glasses and long, flowered garments made of crackling artificial materials, live forever.

In 1996, a man whom I see as a mythical character sat himself into a truck and drove over the red light at the cross between Søndre Boulevard and Kløvermosevej, where he hit my father and his silver-gray Toyota, which tumbled like a piece of silver paper against a steadfast light pole. And so life became divided into the one before and the one after.

I remember the laughter. WhiCH was not AT ALL laughing, but A crying that toppled uncontrolled FROM the throat. I remember the awkward sideways GLANCE OF THE POLICEMAN.

I remember him on the hospital bed, with bandages around his beloved forehead and the broken teeth. I remember we were eating food from the takeaway grill-bar in the evening, while watching television. Because we could not cry any more. I can not drive by that intersection without imagining the crash.

They all died in 1996. Grandma on the passenger seat of the silver-gray Toyota Corolla, in a puddle of newly purchased red wine. Aunt Anna with raised legs and no grounding. Grandpa dwindled by the cancer that bit him to the stomach. Rebel enough to live until the last moments as trans-fat-acid-saturated as possible.

When Christmas came, we sat close to each other and watched movies on the couch. A beaten flock, craving for sparkling lights and vaseline on the lens.

we did not cover THE TABLE, AS those we should eat with wERE gone.

The city is rich in stories. Some important for generations. Others only important to me. And I carry them with me. They are part of that lens that gives colour to the city.


This Is Odense