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printImage of Drawing of Odense by J.H.T Hanck

Hans Christian Andersen's childhood in Odense

‘My life will shed the best light on my work.’
Mit eget Eventyr uden Digtning

Hans Christian Andersen was born on 2 April 1805. He was the only son of Hans, a self-educated shoemaker and Anne Marie, an illiterate washerwoman. For most of his childhood he lived with his parents in their one-room home in Odense on the island of Funen. It was a place where old rural traditions survived.

Enlarged image Image of Stage with ballerinas, papercut by Andersen Enlarged image
Image of Drawing of Odense by J.H.T Hanck   Image of Stage with ballerinas, papercut by Andersen
Drawing of Odense by J.H.T. Hanck
Copyright Det Kongelige Bibliotek, Copenhagen (Denmark)
  Stage with ballerinas, papercut by Andersen
By kind permission of Odense City Museums, Denmark

Andersen’s early years in Odense were to have an important effect on his writing. Here he gained his first taste of the stage when his father made him a toy theatre and took him, aged seven, to the town’s playhouse - the only one outside Copenhagen. When he visited Graabrødre (Greyfriars) Hospital, the old people’s asylum where his grandmother worked, he heard the folk tales which were to inspire his stories.


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Hans Christian Andersen's childhood in Odense
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'Hans Christian Andersen' by Jackie Wullschlager (PDF format) 169kb
'Hans Christian Andersen' by Jackie Wullschlager (PDF format) 169kb
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