Hans Christian Andersen letter reveals heartbreak

A letter written to the brother of the poet's first love reveals that not even her marriage to another man could stop him from loving her.

Hans Christian Andersen letter reveals heartbreak
The old romantic. Photo: Thora Hallager/Public Domain
A new emotional letter written by a heartbroken Hans Christian Andersen indicates that the master of fairytales never got over his first love. 
Fyns Stifsidende reported on Tuesday that a letter written by Denmark’s most famous son to the brother of Riborg Voigt revealed that he remained in love with her long after she married another man. 
Ejnar Stig Askgaard from Odense City Museums estimates that the letter was written around Christmas 1832, when Andersen was 27. Askgaard said that the shaky penmanship indicates that Andersen was emotional when he wrote it.  
In the letter, Andersen writes to Christian Voigt, Riborg’s brother and Andersen’s longtime friend, and confirms that several poems that Andersen wrote after Voigt’s marriage to another man were indeed inspired by his undying love for her. 
Askgaard said that the letter was uncharacteristically emotional.
“HC Andersen normally held his feeling very close. He also wrote in the letter that it should be burnt after reading. If only he could have known that he was not alone in his infatuation. When Riborg Voigt died, the poems he had written for her were found along with a bouquet and a photograph of Andersen in a hidden compartment in her drawer,” Askgaard told Fyens Stiftstidende. 
Andersen never seemed to get over his love for Riborg Voigt either. He carried a letter from her in a pouch that he wore around his neck until he died at the age of 70 on August 4th, 1875. 
The new letter was discovered when Riborg Voigt’s great-grandson died without an heir. A friend found that letter when going through his belongings and delivered it to the museum, despite the fact that previously-discovered letters from Andersen have brought in as much as 60,000 kroner on the auction block. 
The Hans Christian Andersen Center already owns six other letters from Andersen to Riborg Voigt, as well as two that she sent to him. 

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Odense: Light rail in Danish city delayed until 2022

The new Light Rail (Letbane) in Denmark’s third-largest city Odense will not open until next year. It was scheduled for completion in 2021.

Odense: Light rail in Danish city delayed until 2022
Construction of the light rail in Odense. Photo: Tim Kildeborg Jensen/Ritzau Scanpix

The delay was confirmed by transport minister Benny Engelbrecht in a written notification to parliament.

 “The beginning of operations at Odense Letbane will be delayed from September 1st 2021 until around New Year 2021-22,” the statement reads.

“This is because the company [Odense Letbane, ed,] can confirm that the [contractor] cannot live up to agreed schedule for handover of the transport system, apparently as a consequence of Covid-19,” Engelbrecht also wrote.

In a statement, Odense Letbane said that the primary contractor, Comsa, had recently given notice that the development would be delayed.

“We have recently been able to see that it would be more difficult for Comsa to finish in time for the planned opening. We have naturally maintained pressure on Comsa for as long as possible,” Odense Letbane CEO Mogens Hagelskær said in the statement, which was reported by TV2 Fyn.

“But the primary contractor has now presented a new schedule… and we must unfortunately concede that the light rail will not be able to open until around New Year,” Hagelskær added.

Spanish firm Comsa has said that the ongoing situation related to the coronavirus across Europe has resulted in difficulties in supplying labour and materials for the project in Denmark. The company has also had to adapt its working methods, which involve housing labourers in small groups, TV2 Fyn reports.

In 2017, a light rail system in Aarhus opened after also experiencing construction delays.