Life in Denmark before 1900s

Den Gamle By - Life before 1900s
Part of Den Gamle By is an authentic recreation of a Danish market town from before the 1900s

As in Hans Christian Andersen's day

When entering Den Gamle By it is like travelling back in time, to when the streets were covered with cobblestone and the buildings were made with half-timbering, and where the transport was horse-drawn carriages. Just as it was in a Danish market town in Hans Christian Andersen's day.

Open the doors and step inside the buildings to get a glimpse of how people used to live and work before the 1900s. Visit the widow of the late Vicar in the Eilshou Almshouses and listen to her story of when the young Hans Christian Andersen came by to learn about poetry and culture. 

Den Gamle By - the Vicar's widow at the Eilschou Almshouses
Meet the Vicar's widow at the Eilschou Almshouses, built in 1767 and across from Hans Christian Andersen's childhood home in Odense.
Den Gamle By - Victorian drawing room from 1890
A typical Victorian drawing room as in 1890, packed with tasselled furniture and heavy drapes. Find it in the Tailor’s home and workshop on Vestergade.

Historical buildings and interior

In the first section of Den Gamle By, you will find historical buildings from all over Denmark, dated from the mid-1500s to around the late 1800s, each with their own story. Inside the houses you can see the interior decorating, the house plants and the clothings of various periods from before the 1900s. 

At the market square, Torvet in Danish, you will find the Mayor’s House built in 1597, which is a complete Renaissance merchant complex housing a gallery showing the history of middle-class interior from 1600 to 1850. The Mintmaster’s Mansion, a magnificent home for the upper-class from the 1700s, is also worth a visit.

Den Gamle By - a shoemaker as before 1900s
Have a look inside the many workshops, such as the Shoemaker's Workshop on Vestergade. The shoemaker was the most used craftsman in town.
Den Gamle By - a tailor as before 1900s
Before the 1900s a tailor would have his workshop in his home. He would mainly make coats, jackets and pants, and sometimes shirts for the gentlemen in town.

Urban trades and workshops

Throughout this area there are many different workshops with urban trades used in Denmark in the 1700s and 1800s. Step inside the workshops and homes, and see how the Danes worked and what tools they used back then. You can visit the Carpenter, the Candlemaker, the Shoemaker, the Tailor, the Cobbersmith, the Hatter, the Goldsmith and the Watchmaker, and many more. 

At the Bakery on Algade, you will find the Baker's wife selling Danish pastry made using historical recipes from 1885, and inside the Merchant’s shop and house, you will see how a prosperous middle-class Danish family lived in 1864, showing the interior and tableaux. At the shop you can meet the Merchant himself and buy goods as sold in 1864.  

Den Gamle By - old Danish market town from before the 1900s
In Hans Christian Andersen’s day a market town the size of Den Gamle By would house about 700 people and 150 head of cattle, 50 horses, 100 pigs, and ofcourse sheep, geese, chickens, pigeons and bees.
Den Gamle By - maids in the kitchen at the Merchant's house
If you are lucky, you might find the maids busy cooking in the kitchen at the Merchant's house, and get a treat of what they are preparing.
Den Gamle By - the Baker in 1885
The baker’s wife sells cakes and breads made with historical recipes in the bakery from 1885. Step inside and smell the freshly baked Danish pastry from Easter to New Year.
Den Gamle By - the Apothecary from the mid-1700s
The Apothecary – as a pharmacist was called - from the mid-1700s, is the oldest and best preserved in Denmark. Find it on Vestergade.