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By road, Odense is located 45 kilometres (28 mi) north of Svendborg, 144 kilometres (89 mi) to the south of Aarhus and 167 kilometres (104 mi) to the southwest of Copenhagen.

The city is the seat of Odense Municipality and was the seat of Odense County until 1970, and Funen County from 1970 until 1 January 2007, when Funen County became part of the Region of Southern Denmark.

The first recorded bishops of Odense were Odinkar Hvide and Reginbert, who was consecrated by Archbishop Æthelnoth of Canterbury, in 1022.

Canute IV of Denmark, generally considered to be the last Viking king, was murdered by unruly peasants, discontent with the high taxes he imposed on the town, in Odense's St Alban's Priory on 10 July 1086.

Several major industries are located in the city including the Albani Brewery and GASA, Denmark's major dealer in vegetables, fruits and flowers.