ODENSE, a city of Denmark, the chief town of the amt (county) of its name, which forms the northern part of the island of Fünen (Fyen). Pop. (1901) 40,138. The city lies 4 m. from Odense Fjord on the Odense Aa, the main portion on the north side of the stream, and the industrial Albani quarter on the south side. It has a station on the railway route between Copenhagen and Jutland and Schleswig-Holstein via Korsör. A canal, 15½ to 21 ft. deep, gives access to the town from the fjord. St Canute's cathedral, formerly connected with the great Benedictine monastery of the same name, is one of the largest and finest buildings of its kind in Denmark. It is constructed of brick in a pure Gothic style. Originally dating from 1081–1093, it was rebuilt in the 13th century. Under the altar lies Canute (Knud), the patron saint of Denmark, who intended to dispute with William of Normandy the possession of England, but was slain in an insurrection at Odense in 1086; Kings John and Christian II. are also buried within the walls. Our Lady's church, built in the 13th century and restored in 1851–1852 and again in 1864, contains a carved altarpiece (16th century) by Claus Berg of Lübeck. Odense Castle was erected by Frederick IV., who died there in 1730. In Albani are tanneries, iron-foundries and machine-shops. Exports, mostly agricultural produce (butter, bacon, eggs); imports, iron, petroleum, coal, yarn and timber.
Odense, or Odinsey, originally Odinsoe, i.e. Odin's island, is one of the oldest cities of Denmark. St Canute's shrine was a great resort of pilgrims throughout the middle ages. In the 16th century the town was the meeting-place of several parliaments, and down to 1805 it was the seat of the provincial assembly of Fünen.