Carl Nielsen Museum
Visit the museum of world-famous composer Carl Nielsen. Revisit his music-oriented childhood in this house-turned-museum showcasing Nielsen's work and personal life.
A nurturing home
Carl Nielsen's third (and last) childhood home was originally built in the 1850s and was converted into a museum in 1956. Carl Nielsen's parents first bought the home in March of 1878. Other than a brief time away in the summer of 1878, Carl Nielsen lived here until November 1879. When introducing his wife to his family in July 1891, Carl Nielsen brought her to this childhood home, just before his parents sold the house and their belongings to emigrate to the USA that September. This cozy house tells the story of Carl Nielsen's childhood, where his family’s musical background was integral to his development as a musician and composer.
A life of music
Carl August Nielsen (1865–1931) held many musical talents as a violinist, conductor, and the most prominent composer in Denmark. He was raised on the island of Funen by working class parents who were also musically talented. Nielsen showed musical abilities from an early age.
Throughout his life, Nielsen took on many roles. He displayed his talents in a military band, then attended the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen from 1884 until December 1886. Intermittently from 1886 to 1905, he was a violinist in Copenhagen's court orchestra. He was later Kapellmeister at the Royal Theatre (1908–14) and conductor of the Copenhagen Musical Society (1915–27). From 1915, he taught at the Royal Conservatory and became the director in 1931, shortly before his death.
Carl Nielsen and his wife, sculptor Anne Marie, were a match not only in love, but also in intellectual abilities and ambitions. Anne Marie was a skilled artist with modern ideals who was determined to have her own successful career. Her strong-willed nature and the lengthy periods of time she left home to work on her career led to some tensions in the couple's relationship. Nielsen sublimated his anger and frustration over his marriage in several musical works.
The most well-known of his six symphonies are Symphony No. 2 (1902, The Four Temperaments), Symphony No. 3 (1911, Sinfonia Espansiva), and Symphony No. 4 (1916, The Inextinguishable). Many more pieces fill out his portfolio, such as four string quartets, three concerti for violin, flute, and clarinet, and two operas, Saul og David and Maskarade. Some of his most highly regarded songs are those based on Danish folk traditions.
Plan your visit
Carl Nielsen's childhood home is located approximately 15 kilometers south of Odense. The best way to get there is either by car or bus. Fynbus routes 41, 42, and 43 stop right outside the museum. Be aware that the museum is only open during select months, so check the museum website for opening hours. If you're a music lover, combine your visit with Odense Symphony Orchestra's concerts in Odense Concert Hall.