Sortehusene (The Black Houses)

Sortehusene (The Black Houses)

5000 Odense C

Photo: Kurt Christensen

The Black Houses

Photo: Steffen Palmø

The Black Houses

Photo: Kurt Christensen

The Black Houses

DKK 2 per year in rent

On the south coast of Stige Ø Nord is Sortehusene (the black houses), a collection of around 30 small, home-built houses made from wood, tar paper and other recycled materials. They have had several names over the years, including Skyttehusene, Skydehusene (both names referring to hunting or hunters) and Sorte Huse - but their most common name today is Sortehusene. The first of these were built in the early 1900s. From 1945 until the area was redeveloped in 1967, the houses were inhabited all year round. The conditions were very primitive and there was no water, toilets or electricity in the houses. Although the construction was not approved by the authorities, Odense Municipality charged a symbolic rent of DKK 2 per house per year. The residents made a living from shipyard work, fishing and digging up mussel shells from the fjord floor until the last mussel factory closed in the 1970s. In 1956, Fyens Stiftstidende (the local newspaper) estimated that 5-6 families lived in Sortehusene in the summer, but that in the winter there were only 3 permanent residents.

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