An 8 kilometre (5.0 mi) long, 7.5 metre (25 ft) deep canal from Odense Harbour to Odense Fjord was built between 17 to facilitate the growth of Odense as a port city, radically increasing its level of trade and population.
From the 1840s, the city enjoyed a period of rapid expansion beyond its traditional boundaries, becoming Denmark's second largest city.
In sports, Odense has a number of football clubs including OB, BM, B1909, and B1913, the Odense Bulldogs professional ice hockey team, and the city also hosts the H. The earliest community was centred on the higher ground between the Odense River to the south and Naesbyhoved Lake (now dry) to the north.
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.
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.
In 1720, Frederick IV ordered the rebuilding of Odense Palace, partly on the foundations of the 13th century St.
Hans’s Monastery, and the construction of St Hans’s Church by the Knights Hospitallers.
The local nobility also participated in the city's development by building residences where they spent the winter months.
But the city's prosperity came to an abrupt end in the late 1650s heavy taxes were imposed after the end of the Swedish Wars.
All this provided an ideal basis for industrialisation, attracting a wide range of industries including iron and metals, textiles, and food and beverages.