FAQ's

Below you can find answers to some of the questions most frequently asked.
C.A. Jensen: Portrait of Hans Christian Andersen 1847

How tall was Hans Christian Andersen?
Hans Christian Andersen was about 185 cm tall - which was 25 cm above the average height at the time.

What size shoes did Hans Christian Andersen wear?
We have the writer's last pair of shoes at the museum. They measure 33 cm, corresponding to size 47.

What were the names of Hans Christian Andersens mother and father?
Hans Christian Andersen's mother's name was Anne Marie Andersdatter. We do not know precisely when she was born, but information from censuses indicate that she must have been born around 1773-1775. She died in 1833.
Hans Christian Andersen's father's name was Hans Andersen. He was born in 1782 in Aalsbo, Rørup parish. He died in 1816, only 33 years old.

Did Hans Christian Andersen had brothers and sisters?
Yes, an older half sister, Karen Marie Andersen, married Kaufmann (1799-1846).
She was left with Hans Christian Andersen's grandmother and upon the mothers later marriage placed outside the home. She travelled to Copenhagen as a stowaway in November 1822 to visit Andersen. However, he was in school in Slagelse at that time. She visited Hans Christian Andersen in 1842. Karen Marie lived as a washerwoman in Copenhagen.

Was Hans Christian Andersen married and had family?
No. Even though Hans Christian Andersen many times fell in love he never married or had children.

Where is Hans Christian Andersen's grave?
The writer was buried at Assistens Kirkegaard in Copenhagen on 11.8.1875.

What authors did he read?
Hans Christian Andersen read quite a lot Danish as well as other literature. He read Holberg even as a child. As part of his education, he read such classical authors as Horace and Aristophanes.
Among his most important models and sources of inspiration were (from England) Walter Scott and William Shakespeare, (from Germany) E.T.A. Hoffmann, Heinrich Heine, Jean Paul, Ludwig Tieck, Adelbert von Chamisso and Johann Wolfgang Goethe and, among Danish authors, Adam Oehlenschläger and Steen Steensen Blicher.
In addition, a number of very significant authors may be mentioned - for example, (from England) Lord Byron, Charles Dickens and Captain Marryat, (from France) Alfred de Vigny and Alexandre Dumas the Elder, (from Sweden) Fredrika Bremer, Atterbom and Bellman and (from Denmark) Hans Adolph Brorson, Jens Baggesen, Christian Winther, Carsten Hauch, Henrik Hertz, Johan Ludvig Heiberg, Frederik Paludan-Müller, Carl Bagger, Carl Bernhard, B.S. Ingemann, Thomasine Gyllembourg, Søren Kierkegaard, among others.

What kind of music did he like? 
He was particularly fond of opera.

How many fairy tales did Hans Christian Andersen write?
In the poet's lifetime 156 "fairy tales and stories" were published. But if other texts of his in the nature of fairy tales and those which were printed only after his death are included, it makes a total of 212.

What has Hans Christian Andersen meant for the world and especially for Denmark?
That is not easy to answer quickly, but his works have become more widespread than any other author ever (only the Bible has been translated into more languages). He is read by Chinese students in school and, on the whole, is well-known and appreciated in China and Japan.
One might say that, like the philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), he had the special knack of turning ideas into tales - in a particularly Nordic, melancholy and, at the same time, witty way. His fairy tales are philosophical, told with amazing narrative joy and sparkling imagination in beautiful, elegant language.
It is different from, for example, French philosophy, which is not supposed to be funny, or folktales, which relate myths rather than philosophy and have none of Andersen's finesse. His fairy tales also have the special quality of being able to speak to children and adults alike, from two different levels in the text.

 
 

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Odense City Museums
Overgade 48
DK-5000 Odense C
Tel +45 6551 4601
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