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Several major industries are located in the city including the Albani Brewery and GASA, Denmark's major dealer in vegetables, fruits and flowers.
The city is home to Odense Palace, erected by King Frederik IV who died there in 1730, the Odense Theatre, the Odense Symphony Orchestra, and the Hans Christian Andersen Museum, situated in the house that was the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen. Odense is served by Hans Christian Andersen Airport and Odense station, which lies on the line between Copenhagen and the Jutland peninsula.
In 1865, one of the largest railway terminals in Denmark was built, further increasing the population and commerce, and by 1900, Odense had reached a population of 35,000.
Odense's Odinstårnet was one of the tallest towers in Europe when built in 1935 but was destroyed by the Nazis during World War II.
Dramatic changes began in Odense in the 18th century to modernise the city and a great plan was drawn up for development.
The University of Southern Denmark was established in 1966.
In the present day, Odense remains the commercial hub of Funen, and has a notable shopping district with a diversity of stores.
There has been human settlement in the Odense area for over 4,000 years, although the name was not mentioned in writing until 988, and by 1070, it had already grown into a thriving city.
Canute IV of Denmark, generally considered to be the last Viking king, was murdered by unruly peasants in Odense's St Alban's Priory on 10 July 1086.
The local nobility also participated in the city's development by building residences where they spent the winter months.