Odense, Denmark
Zhang Ruiqi   Apr 30.2016


Europe's most livable city? The secret of Odense's post-industrial revolution
Denmark's third-largest city has transformed its prospects by making itself a desirable place to live and invest. At the heart of this change is an extraordinary commitment to getting the whole city cycling.

Reason to Be Selected

Odense was formerly one of Denmark's industrial centres, especially for shipping, building huge container vessels for the Maersk group until 2012.

Its hoped-for economic future is based heavily around reshaping the centre to reflect the new purpose. An old harbour is being rebuilt with offices and homes, as well as a cultural centre, all linked to the centre by a just-finished, sweep-curved cycle bridge.


Denmark is universally known for its fantastic cycling, to the extent that Copenhagen was named the world's best city for cyclists. But with 560 kilometres of cycle paths and 123 cycle-only bridges and new developments that will increase these impressive figures, Odense is truly striving to become the cycle city of Denmark, ergo the world. Following decades of work to build infrastructure and embed a cycling culture, the statistics are astonishing.


The new plans for the city will pedestrianise the former thoroughfare of Thomas B.Thriges street, therefore creating an even safer environment for commuters to tear up the cycle lanes and connecting the central area of the city to the harbour and train station. Thomas B Thriges street – named, inevitably, after a famous local industrialist – will in its rebuilt form host not just bikes and pedestrians but also a new tram line, linking to the city's university and hospital. Cars can approach the city centre via ring-roads but will be channeled to park-and-ride systems or new underground parking.
Most impressive is the inclusivity of cycling, with 81% of children riding to school and training programmes in place to get even two-year-old kindergarten entrants to trundle to and from home on a balance bike.


Lat: 55.3842
Lng: 10.3978
Region: Europe
Scale: City
Field: Environment
City: Odense