The history of Odense Aafart

For centuries the Odense River has been an important thoroughfare for the people of Odense. If you sailed with the current north, you came quickly out in Odense Fjord and from there into the big wide world. If you sailed south against the current, you could go all the way to South Funen, before the Odense River rises in Arreskov Lake, less than 12 kilometres from the south coast of Funen.

 

Aafart since 1882

However, in the 1800s, sailing south took on a new dimension, because it became fashionable to sail up the river for a woodland ball in Fruens Bøge (Lady’s Beech). It was originally in Hunderup wood, near Fruens Bøge that the woodland excursions started. Rowing up the river was romantic, yet somewhat exhausting. Wise people therefore put a steamboat into operation on the river. In 1882, it was joined by the boat ”Kvik”. In 1886, they are joined by ”Pilen”, ”Odin” and ”St. Alban”, in addition to several large tugs.

 

For high society

On a nice summer Sunday up to 400 people per hour could be transported in each direction. At that time there were five restaurants, namely Carlslund, Røde Hus, Skovlyst, Sorgenfri and Skovpavillionen. If you were going to the ball, you would wear your best outfit. Gentlemen in top hats and white gloves, the ladies in long flowing dresses with a shawl and parasol. Whitsun tours were a tradition. If you paid 25 øre 100 years ago, you got a return ticket for the boat. Domestic servants and farmhands were not allowed into dance halls - they were only for high society.