From white gloves to common property

Since 1882 Odense Aafart has been sailing on the beautiful river of Odense. Odense Aafart has gone from transporting “the rich and famous” from Munke Mose (Monk’s marsh) to Fruens Bøge (the Beech Wood Forest) to now being common property for all citizens. Today, Odense Aafart has a broad scope. From family trips on Sundays, wine tasting and music events to fairytale-like boat-rides narrated by H.C. Andersen. Jump onboard and sail with us through the history of Odense Aafart.

1882: Odense Aafart is created as a stock company


The purpose was to run a passenger transport from Ny Vestergade to Fruens Bøge, when the more fashionable citizens wanted to go on a picnic or parties at Søpavillonen (the Lake Pavilion)

1895: ”Sejle op ad aaen” (“Sailing up the river”)

The song “Sejle op ad aaen”, is a Danish classic which is now sung by the spectators at big sport’s events as well.
It was originally written in connection with the new summer theater in Ny Vestergade 18. The song was sung for the first time on the 12th of July 1895 and is about the boat-ride from Munke Mose to Fruens Bøge.

1899: 4 steamboats and 8 bigger tug boats

In 1899 it all went very well and 400 people were transported every hour in each direction. 3.000-4.000 people could visit Fruens Bøge on a summer’s Sunday in this era. This meant that in 1899, there were 150.000 sailing guests.

The price for a single ticket was 15 øre (cents) per. adult and 10 øre per. child. The round-ticket cost 25 øre per. adult and 15 øre per. child. Furthermore, two nights a week it was music-night, where the boats were sailing at half price.

1900:  Mail delivery on the river.

Odense Aafart was in charge of the mail delivery for companies and citizens along the river.
In this respect, special post stamps with the text “THE STEAMBOATS ON ODENSE RIVER” were made.
The stamps cost 5 øre (cents) for a package with up to 5 pounds (2,5 kilos) and 10 øre for a package with up to 10 pounds (5 kilos).
For that reason, Odense Aafart can sail with a swallowtail-flag to this day.

The first part of the 1900’s: Odense Aafart as a means of transport.

Odense Aafart had 7-8 boats sailing with around 100.000 passengers a year.

1911:   Trams compete

Trams come to Odense and can now tranpsort people all the way to Hunderup Skov.
Therefore, the steamboats on Odense River must succumb to the competition.

1932: Thorvald Stauning (Prime minister of Denmark) signs the rules for sailing on the river. 

There are new rules for sailing on the river, which means that the maximum speed will be 5 nautical miles an hour (9 km/h). If this was not upheld, it would cost a fine of 5 DKK. (197 DKK today, which was a lot of money in 1932)

1940-1945:  The war affects Odense Aafart as well

Just like the rest of Denmark, Odense Aafart is also affected by the German’s occupation of Denmark. The disorder and lack of fuel challenges optimum sailing for Odense Aafart.

1946:  Optimum sailing resumes 

After the war, Vonsild Sørensen starts sailing on Odense River again.
When Vonsild Sørensen dies, his wife continues by herself for some years.

1971: Sold

The wife of Vonsild Sørensen sells Odense Aafart and Chr. Rasmussen takes over.

1973:  From Aafart to Åfart

After having observed Odense Aafart for years from his hot dog stand, Knud Laursen makes the Municipal of Odense aware, that he is interested in buying and running Odense Aafart. Included in the purchase were the motorboat Benedikt, 12 rowing boats and the ice cream kiosk.
He also changed the name from Aafart to Åfart.

Spring 1974: Sailing under new ownership

Knud Larsen starts sailing for the first time.

1995-1996: A nicer spot by the Åfart in Munke Mose.

The old kiosk is torn down, and the cube-formed kiosk is built and is ready in 1996.

2014: New renovation of Odense Aafart.

The cube-formed kiosk is dismantled and Odense Aafart leases the beautiful premises of the art building.

2017: New owner of the company 

Morten Skytte starts running Odense Aafart

2020: New CEO

Morten Skytte has decided to resign as CEO at Odense Aafart and is appointing Eva Pasgaard as the new CEO of the company. Morten believes that Eva can use her drive and previous experience to implement new ideas at Aafarten.

See also