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This article is about the city in Denmark. For the convention on public participation, see Aarhus Convention. For the meteorite, see Aarhus (meteorite).
Aarhus waterfront
Aarhus waterfront
Aerial view of Aarhus City Centre & South Harbour
Aerial view of Aarhus City Centre & South Harbour
Aarhus is located in Denmark
Location in Denmark
Coordinates: 56°09′N 10°13′E / 56.150°N 10.217°E / 56.150; 10.217
Country Denmark
Region Central Denmark (Midtjylland)
Municipality Aarhus
 • Urban 91 km2 (35 sq mi)
 • Metro 9,997 km2 (3,860 sq mi)
 • Municipal 468 km2 (181 sq mi)
Elevation 0 m (0 ft)
Population (2014)[1][3]
 • Urban 259,754
 • Urban density 2,854/km2 (7,390/sq mi)
 • Metro 1,245,046 (17 municipalities in East Jutland metropolitan area)
 • Metro density 124/km2 (320/sq mi)
 • Municipal 323,893[2]
 • Municipal density 681/km2 (1,760/sq mi)
Time zone Central Europe Time (UTC+1)
Postal code 8000, 8200, 8210
Area code(s) (+45) 8
Website Official website

Aarhus or Århus (Danish pronunciation: [ˈɒːhuːˀs] ( )) is the second-largest city in Denmark. The principal port of Denmark, it is located on the east side of the peninsula of Jutland in the geographical centre of Denmark. The city has 323,893[2] inhabitants and 259,754 (1 January 2014)[3] in the inner urban area. Aarhus, the seat of Aarhus Municipality, has a population of 1.2 million people in the greater Aarhus area. The city claims the unofficial title "Capital of Jutland".

Aarhus is the largest city in the East Jutland metropolitan area (Danish: Byregion Østjylland) in eastern Jutland, grouping 17 municipalities. With more than 1.2 million people living in the East Jutland metropolitan area, it represents approximately 23% of the population of Denmark while the urban area is the second largest in Denmark after Copenhagen.


Aarhus Cathedral; rebuilt to its current size in 1500, with the longest nave in Denmark

The city was mentioned for the first time in 948 by Adam of Bremen who reported that Reginbrand, bishop of the church of Aarhus participated in a church meeting in the city of Ingelheim in Germany.[4]

In Valdemar's Census Book (1231) the city was called Arus, and in Icelandic, it was known as Aros and was later written Aars.[5] It is a compound of the two words ār, genitive of ā ("river", Modern Danish å), and ōss ("mouth", in Modern Icelandic this word is still used for "river delta").[6] The name originates from the city's location around the mouth of the stream Aarhus Å (English: Aarhus River.[7][8] The spelling "Aarhus" is first found in 1406 and gradually became the norm in the 17th century.[5]

Aarhus/Århus spelling[edit]

With the Danish spelling reform of 1948 Aa was changed to Å. Some Danish cities resisted the new spelling of their names, notably Aalborg and Aabenraa. Contrarily, Århus city council explicitly embraced the new spelling, thought to enhance an image of progressiveness.[9] In 2010, a majority of the city council voted for a name change from Århus back to Aarhus, and the renaming came into effect on January 1, 2011. Mayor at that time Nicolai Wammen argued that the Aa spelling would strengthen the city's international profile, help private enterprise and make it easier to access Aarhus on the Internet. The Aarhus spelling has, however, always had some use in non-Scandinavian languages. There is considerable opposition to the Aa spelling and according to a May 2011 poll 59.8% of the city's inhabitants preferred the Å spelling.[10]

Although the name on many signs and other physical media still reads Århus, official informational websites have effectively altered occurrences of Århus to Aarhus. Furthermore, certain geographically affiliated names have been updated to reflect the name of the city. An example is the Aarhus River for which the Danish name has been altered from Århus Å to Aarhus Å.[7] However, in Danish it is still correct to write geographical names with the letter Å, while local councils since 1984 have been allowed to use the Aa spelling as an alternative. When a local authority so decides, most newspapers and state institutions will re-adopt the pre-1948 Aa spelling and the Å spelling will in practice become second-place. However, the official authorities are the Danish Placename Commission[11] and the Danish Language Committee, publisher of the Danish Orthographic Dictionary, which keeps Århus as the main name, providing Aarhus as a new, second option, in brackets.[12]


Reconstruction of an early church at Moesgaard Museum

The bishopric of Aarhus dates back to at least 948,[13] but recent archæological finds under the settlement's old defences indicate the site was inhabited as early as the last quarter of the 8th century, considerably earlier than had been generally supposed.[14][15]

The favourable position of Aarhus afforded it early trading links with Germany and Norway. It was probably granted trading privileges in the first half of the 13th century when it had already developed into a sizeable town. By the end of the Middle Ages, it was one of Denmark's largest settlements. Trading and seafaring continued to flourish until the 1570s when growth stagnated. Corn exports initiated a new period of prosperity in the mid-18th century. Factories of various types were established and, from 1810, the harbour was expanded.[16]

Viking Age and before[edit]

fortified Viking Town Aros (Aarhus) 950 AD

The oldest archaeological findings in Aarhus are glass pearls, which date to the end of the 7th century. Half buried longhouses, used both as homes and workshops for the Vikings have also been found. In the houses and the adjoining archaeological layers, combs, jewellery and basic multi-purpose tools have been found that indicate the settlement is from approximately year 900.[15]

The finding of six runestones in and around Aarhus indicates the city had some significance around year 1000 as only wealthy nobles traditionally used them.[17] The centre of Aarhus was once a pagan burial site until Aarhus' first church, Holy Trinity Church, a timber structure, was built upon it during the reign of Frode, King of Jutland, around 900.[18]

Middle Ages[edit]

Pustervig Torv in the old town

From the end of the 12th century, the streets of the old town were developed at the initiative of Peter Vognsen who was bishop of Aarhus from 1192 until his death in 1204. Vognsen also began work on the cathedral which was completed in 1300. As a bishopric, Aarhus became a prosperous religious centre in the Middle Ages. The oldest existing charter granting it market town privileges dates from 1441 although the town no doubt enjoyed similar privileges even before it became a bishopric. Despite the status of Aarhus, farming produce from the surrounding area was exported unlawfully from neighbouring ports. It was only in the 16th century that the city's merchants finally gained control. The town grew steadily, the population rising to about 4,000 by 1620.[19]

17th–18th centuries[edit]

The Aarhus city seal from 1421 and 1608

In the 17th century, although Aarhus was still a large city with many rich merchants, its growth came to a standstill as a result of the Swedish wars and competition from Copenhagen.[19] It was only in the middle of the 18th century that it once again began to prosper with trading conditions improving as a result of agriculture in the surrounding area. Grain in particular proved to be a remunerative export. Factories were established in the town and expansion of the harbour began around 1810.[16]

19th century[edit]

From the 1830s, there was an even stronger upturn, as factories with steam-driven machinery became ever more productive. Regular steamship links with Copenhagen began in 1830 and Jutland's first railway was established in 1862 from Aarhus to Randers. While Aarhus became an important railway hub, the harbour provided a sound basis for seafaring and commerce, initiating significant industrial growth in the city in the second half of the 19th century. It expanded rapidly, soon becoming Denmark's largest provincial city. The population increased drastically from some 15,000 in 1870 to around 52,000 in 1901. The largest enterprises at the time were Frichs Maskinfabrik (engines), Jern- og Metalstøberi (foundry) and Mønsted Margarinefabrik (margarine).[16] The Ceres breweries was established in 1856 and served as Aarhus local beer for more than 150 years, gradually expanding into what became known as Ceresbyen (The CeresCity).[20][21]

Culturally, it marketed itself as the "Capital of Jutland" and expanded many of its cultural institutions like the national library, universities, the Aarhus Theatre and hospitals.

Industrial expansion[edit]

For most of the 20th century, Aarhus became essentially an industrial city and commercial port. The harbour underwent a series of expansions. But it also became an important educational centre with several institutions including Aarhus University established in 1928. The city continued to grow and by the middle of the century it was still the most important business centre in Jutland. For east and central Jutland, it was also the top financial, educational and cultural centre. While industry continued to grow, the service sector started to develop too. Important new factories included the dockyard of Flydedokken and the oil mill of Århus Oliefabrik.[16]

Recent history[edit]

In the mid-1970s, the population began to decrease but by the 1980s, it was once again on the rise. The service sector prospered, overtaking trade, industry and crafts as the leading sector of employment. Aarhus became Denmarks second most important centre of research and education, although the electronics and metallurgy sectors also continued to expand. Workers began commuting to the city from most of east and central Jutland. By 2007, the population had reached almost 230,000, making Aarhus Denmark's second biggest city.[16]


Aathus is located on the Bay of Aarhus in eastern Jutland. Protected by the peninsulas of Mols and Helgenæs to the north and east, the bay has a depth of 10 m (33 ft) quite close to the shore, providing a natural harbour. The early settlement was placed on the northern shores of a fjord, that stretched far inland.[19] The fjord no longer exists, having been replaced by the Aarhus River and Brabrand Lake a few kilometres west of the city. The land around Aarhus was once covered by forests, remains of which persist as Marselisborg Forest to the south[22] and Riis Skov to the north.[23]

Aerial view of Aarhus from the north.

The harbour was initially to the north of the town and until 1800 was located on the north bank of the river. In the 15th century, the town spread to the south side of the river while the north bank was converted into a port area. In the 19th century, the harbour was extended out into the sea with piers stretching out from the coast. Two docks were created in the 19th century at Nordhavnen and in the 20th century Sydhavnen was created to the south.[24]

Aarhus Habour has seen large expansions in recent years and is currently a construction site for a broad array of projects. The harbour was and still is predominantly industrial, although recreational and cultural uses have gradually increased. The new city district of Aarhus Docklands is being constructed next to the old marina (Lystbådehavn) in the north harbour. There are plans for several residential and business buildings on newly constructed wharfs.[25]

The wharf which had once been the shipbuilding yard (nicknamed Dokken) now houses an array of businesses and cultural developments in the vacated buildings.[26] To the south, the large recreational marina of Marselisborg Yacht Harbour complete with restaurants, hotels and cafés, was constructed in the 1990s.[27] Industrial activities are by no means diminishing in Aarhus Harbour which has been expanded with large new wharfs, cranes and a new railway line, primarily serving the shipping company of Maersk.

With some of the highest points in Denmark close to the city of Aarhus (see Søhøjlandet), the general landscape here is typically hilly, interspersed with forests and meadows; the city itself is quite hilly north of the centre.

The city lies at the junction of railway lines from all parts of the country. To the south west (about 21 km (13 mi), by rail) lies a picturesque region that contains the Gudenå. Several larger lakes extend West from the Skanderborg railway junction and rise to heights exceeding 152 metres (499 ft) at Himmelbjerget. The railway traverses this district of moorland and woodland to Silkeborg.


From Egådalen. A broad and flat valley, marking the northern limits of Aarhus.

The hilly area around Aarhus consists of a moranial plateau from the last ice age, broken by a complex system of tunnel valleys. The most prominent valleys of this network, are the Aarhus Valley in the south, stretching inland east-west with the Aarhus River, Brabrand Lake and Tåstrup Sø (Tåstrup Lake) and the Egå Valley to the north, with Geding Sø (Geding Lake) and the stream of Egåen. Much of the two valleys has been drained and subsequently farmed, but recently some of the drainage was removed for environmental reasons and the new lakes of Årslev Engsø and Egå Engsø has now formed in 2003 and 2006 respectively. The valley system also include the Lyngbygård Å (Lynbygård River) in the west and valleys to the south of the city, following erosion channels from the pre-quaternary. By contrast, the Aarhus River Valley and the Giber River Valley are late glacial meltwater valleys. The coastal cliffs along the Bay of Aarhus consist of shallow tertiary clay from the Eocene and Oligocene (57 to 24 million years ago).[28][29][30]

Politics and administration[edit]

Map of Aarhus municipality and the urban area

The city council consists of 31 members elected for 4-year terms. Anybody eligible to vote and residing in Aarhus municipality can run for a seat on the city council. After elections have determined the members of the city council, the council elects a mayor, 2 deputy mayors and 5 councilmen.[31] The current Mayor of Aarhus is Jacob Bundsgaard of the Social Democrats, who took over after Nicolai Wammen in August 2011. Wammen wanted to focus on the upcoming election for Parliament.

The city is divided into 6 minor administrative bodies which together constitute the magistrate led by the mayor and the 5 elected councilmen as political and administrative directors. The 6 magistrate departments of the city are the "Mayor's Magistrate", "Social and Employment Magistrate", "Technology and Environment Magistrate", "Health and Social Magistrate", "Culture and Service Magistrate" and "Children and Youth Magistrate" and handle all the day-to-day operations of the city.

Aarhus is the seat of Aarhus Municipality. Until the 2007 Danish Municipal Reform, which replaced the Danish counties with five regions, it was also the seat of Aarhus County, which has now been disbanded in favour of the new Region Midtjylland, its seat located in Viborg.

Administrative divisions[edit]

Aarhus is divided into several districts and suburbs with its own postal code (Postdistrikter).

Districts (boroughs) inside the second city beltway Ring 2 include Åbyhøj, Aarhus C, Aarhus Docklands (aka Aarhus Ø), Aarhus N, Aarhus V, Højbjerg and Viby.

Neighbourhoods and suburbs include:

Environmental planning[edit]

Main article: Energy in Denmark


"The Old Town" open air museum in Aarhus

More than 300,000 people live within the city limits of Aarhus, while an additional 500,000 live in the surrounding local area of the East Jutland region. Aarhus is also a major part of the larger East Jutland metropolitan area with 1,200,000 inhabitants, which makes East Jutland the second most-populated area in Denmark, after the Copenhagen area.[32]

The population of Aarhus is both younger and better-educated than the national average.[32] This is often attributed to the high concentration of educational institutions and facilities in the area. However, in January 2014 it was reported that those in the 45-65 age group have been moving into the central area, attracted by its cafés and cultural life.[33]

In Aarhus, 14.8% of the population are immigrants (as of 2012), making Aarhus Municipality Denmark's highest region for immigrants outside the Copenhagen area.[34] There was a marked increase in the immigrant community in Aarhus Municipality from 27,783 in 1999 to 40,431 in 2008. Most of the recent immigrants established themselves in Brabant, Hasle and Viby where the percentage of inhabitants with foreign origins rose by 66% since 2000. In Brabrand and Gellerup, two thirds of the population had a non-Danish ethnic background.[35]


Port of Aarhus

Port of Aarhus[edit]

Silos in the harbour known as the "Five Sisters" (1926)

Aarhus Habour has seen large expansions in recent years and is currently a very active construction site for a broad array of projects. The harbour was and still is predominantly industrial, although recreational and cultural uses have gradually increased there recently. The new city district of Aarhus Docklands is being constructed next to the old marina of Aarhus Lystbådehavn in the north harbour, and is planned to comprise several residential and business buildings on newly constructed wharfs. The old wharf holding Aarhus former ship building yard (nicknamed Dokken), now houses an array of businesses and cultural projects and organizations in the vacated buildings. In the south, the large recreational marina of Marselisborg Yacht Harbour complete with restaurants, hotels, cafés, etc. was also constructed some years ago.[36] Industrial activities are by no means diminishing in Aarhus Harbour which has expanded recently with large new wharfs, cranes and a new railway line, primarily serving the shipping company of Maersk.[37]

The harbour is one of the largest industrial harbours in Northern Europe. It has the largest container terminal in Denmark and accommodates the largest container vessels in the world.[37] The facilities handle some 9.5 million tonnes of cargo a year (2012). Grain is the principal export while feedstuffs, stone and cement, and coal are among the chief imports.[38] The harbour itself is maintained by Århus Stevedore Kompagni A/S originally based in Aarhus and currently operating several harbours around the world.[39]

Other industries[edit]

The region is a major producer of agricultural products with many large farms in the outlying districts. Cattle, pork and grain are the main products.[citation needed]

The Ceres breweries was a large employer in Aarhus for more than 150 years, until its recent closure in 2008. Now the old factory grounds in the city centre are being redeveloped with a large educational campus, amongst other minor projects.[40]



Aarhus Cathedral (1300)

Aarhus Cathedral (Århus Domkirke) is the longest cathedral in Denmark with a total length of 93 m (305 ft).[41] It was originally built as a Romanesque basilica in the 13th century but was rebuilt and enlarged as a Gothic cathedral in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. It has a magnificent altarpiece sculpted by Bernt Notke from Lübeck in 1479, one of the finest in the country.[42] The cathedral also has more frescos than any other church in Denmark, all painted between 1470 and 1520.[43]

The Church of our Lady (Vor Frue Kirke) includes a crypt church discovered and restored in the 1950s, which was built in 1060, making it the oldest stone church in Scandinavia.[44] Originally known as St Nicholas' Church (Skt. Nicolai Kirke), it was the first cathedral in Aarhus. The church's stonework was used to build a Dominican priory in 1240.[45] Today's church occupies the south wing of the priory.[46] The building exhibits a combination of Romanesque and Gothic architecture. The tower, with its characteristic onion-shaped top with a lantern and pointed spire was completed in the 17th century.[47]

City hall[edit]

Aarhus City Hall

The City Hall (Aarhus Rådhus), designed by Arne Jacobsen and Erik Møller, was completed in 1941 in a modern Functionalist style. Initially, their plans covered the three main sections but there was no tower. As a result of criticism, the architects added the iconic 60 m (200 ft) tower without a spire.[48] Built of concrete, the building is clad in marble outside and inside with bronze and wood.[49]

Palaces and theatres[edit]

Marselisborg Palace

Marselisborg Palace (Marselisborg Slot) is the summer retreat of the Danish royal family. Located to the south of the city centre close to the bay, the estate was donated by the city of Aarhus to Prince Christian and Princess Alexandrine as a wedding present in 1898. The gift included the palace, completed in 1902, which was designed by the prolific Aarhus architect, Hack Kampmann.[50] With its palacial white facade and external decorations, it combines the Neoclassical and Art Nouveau styles.[51] Although the palace is not open to the public, the extensive park designed in the English style by landscape architect L. Christian Diedrichsen may be visited when the royal couple are not in residence.[50]

Aarhus Teater (1916)

Aarhus Theatre, opposite the cathedral on Bispetorvet, was built by Hack Kampmann in the Art Nouveau style and completed in 1916. It is the largest provincial theatre in Denmark.[52][53] The green and gold decorations in the main auditorium, which include a wreath of swans on the ceiling, are the work of Karl Hansen Reistrup.[54] Over the years additional facilities have been added including the Scala, with seating for 285, and the flexible Studio and Stiklingen rooms which can seat between 80 and 100. The theatre is well known throughout Denmark for its restaurant Café Hack (named after the architect) which has been the venue for a popular Sunday morning radio programme for a number of years.[55]

Musikhuset (The Concert Hall of Aarhus) and Det Jyske Musikkonservatorium (The Jutlandic music conservatory) are also of note.

Historic buildings[edit]

The inner city has the oldest preserved houses of Aarhus, especially the streets of Skolegade and Mejlgade in the the Latin Quarter. Thestrup's House, at No. 19 Mejlgade, is the oldest of all, dating back to 1625. The low, half-timbered buildings at No. 15 to 17 Skolegade, are from 1642. There are also some fine Neoclassical buildings on the street, while Bagge Lihme's House at No. 6 Mejlegade, completed in 1811, is one of the finest examples of the Empire period in the city.[19] Attached to the cathedral, the cathedral school (Aarhus Katedralskole) was erected in 1195.[56] Situated in Skolegade, it ranks as the 44th oldest school in the world but only small parts of the present buildings are from the twelfth century. An ancient crypt church from 1060, beneath (and predating) the Church of Our Lady, was discovered and restored in the 1950s.

Custom House (Toldkammeret, completed 1898)

The Aarhus Custom House (Toldkammeret) on the harbour front, completed in 1898, is said to be Hack Kampmann's finest work. It was used by the tax authorities until the mid-1990s. Tækker Group, who purchased the building in 2004, have fully renovated the building in collaboration with the cultural authorities, taking care to maintain the Kampmann style. After being used in recent years by the architecture school and as a student hostel, the building now houses the Jensen's Bøfhus restaurent.[57][58]

Aarhus University (1932)

The early buildings of Aarhus University, especially the main building completed in 1932, have gained an international reputation for their contribution to functionalist architecture. Now included in the Danish Culture Canon, the yellow-brick buildings were designed by Kay Fisker, Povl Stegmann and, above all, by C.F. Møller, giving Danish architecture a new impetus.[59][60] The architectural style combining international modernism with Danish traditions, provided a basis for Danish architecture until the mid-1950s.[61]


Møntmestergården in Den Gamle By museum

Den Gamle By (The Old Town), officially Danmarks Købstadmuseum (Denmarks Market Town Museum), is the only open-air museum in the country which presents life in market towns from the 17th century to the present. It consists of some 75 houses from various parts of Denmark which have been brought together to provide a picture of a traditional market town. The interiors have also been restored with original furnishings. One of the latest additions is Møntmestergården (the Mintmaster's Mansion) from 1683 which originally stood in Copenhagen.[62] Currently the museum is being extended with an area devoted to town life in the 1920s and 1930s.[63] Aarhus City Museum (Århus By Museum) recently relocated to Den Gamle By operates as an archive for historical information and presents changing exhibits on the history of the city.[64]

ARoS Kunstmuseum

ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, the city's main art museum, has a history going back to 1858. Now housed in a building designed by Schmidt, Hammer & Lassen in 1997, it is one of the largest art museums in Scandinavia with a collection covering Danish art from the 18th century to the present day as well as paintings and sculptures by international artists.[65] The new cube-shaped building with floor space of 17,700 m2 (191,000 sq ft) is centred around a curved museum street and can be accessed via a spiral staircase at its mid-point.[66]

New building for Moesgård Museum

The Moesgård Museum, which has occupied several sites since it was established in 1861, is a local museum and institution specializing in archaeology and ethnography in collaboration with the Culture and Society department of Aarhus University. Permanent exhibits on Denmark's prehistory, include weapon sacrifices from Illerup Ådal and the Grauballe Man, the world's best preserved bog body, about 2,300 years old. There is also an extensive collection of artefacts from digs in the Persian Gulf.[67] The museum is currently closed during relocation from Moesgård Manor to new and larger premises nearby, where it will reopen in October 2014. The new building has been designed by Henning Larsen Architects.[68][69] Moesgård Museum also runs the small underground Viking Museum located in situ at the square of Sankt Clemens Torv, next to the cathedral.[70]

Kvindemuseet (in the old town hall)

Kvindemuseet, the Women's Museum, contains collections presenting the lives and work of women in Danish cultural history. Starting as a grassroots movement in the 1980s, the museum has developed outreach programmes with other museums in Denmark and abroad. Established in 1984, it is located in the former city hall (built in 1857) on Domkirkeplads, now fully renovated.[71]

Kunsthal Aarhus

Other speciality museums in Aarhus include: Besættelsesmuseet (Occupation Museum), located in the same house as The Women's Museum and presenting exhibits illustrating the German occupation of the city during the Second World War;[72] The University Park and campus of Aarhus University, presents three important museums: Naturhistorisk Museum (Natural History Museum), with over 5,000 species of animals, many in their natural surroundings;[73] Steno Museum, a museum of the history of science and medicine together with a planetarium;[74] and the little known Antikmuseet (Museum of Antiquity), with a fine collection of Greek, Etruscan and Roman art.[19]

Kunsthal Aarhus (Aarhus Art Hall) in the city centre is a large exhibition venue, renovated and extended by C.F. Møller Architects from the 1990s. It hosts solo and group exhibitions of contemporary art including special presentations for children. In addition to painting, it covers sculpture, photography, installations, performance art, film and video.[75]


The Botanical Gardens in the spring

There are surprisingly as many as 134 parks in Aarhus, covering a total area of around 550 ha (1,400 acres).[76] The Botanical Gardens (Botanisk Have) are located in the centre of the city just west of Den Gamle By. The largest and oldest of the city's parks, it originated in 1873 when it was used to cultivate fruit trees and other useful plants for the local inhabitants. It still has an impressive collection of trees and bushes as well as a section devoted to Danish plants from different habitats and regions.[77] Its recently renovated tropical and subtropical greenhouses, initially designed by C.F. Møller, exhibit exotic plants from throughout the world.[78]

Cherry trees in Mindeparken

The Memorial Park (Mindeparken) on the coast near Marselisborg Palace, is popular with locals for outings with family and friends, often with a picnic box.[79] The park dates from 1925, when it was opened by King Christian X and now contains a monument designed by Axel Poulsen and Axel Ekberg, commemorating Danes who fell in the First World War.[80] The park offers a panoramic view across the bay of Aarhus, with Skødshoved and Mols beyond.

Friheden, an amusement park

In the same area, Marselisborg Deer Park (Marselisborg Dyrehave), established in 1932, now extends over 22 ha (54 acres) of woodland pastures, after several extensions. It was originally intended to hold sheep to keep the grass short, but in the end sika deer and roe deer were chosen instead.[81]

Friheden is an amusement park, similar to Copenhagen's Tivoli Gardens. Established in 1904, the pleasure park was extended with additional attractions after the Second World War. Located to the south of the city centre on Skovbrynet in the Marselisborg Forests at the far end of Stadion Allé, the park also hosts concerts, and has a revue theatre and several restaurants.[82] It is open to visitors in the summer months.[83]

The major parks in Aarhus also include The University Park and Marienlystparken but there are several small but notable parks in the city, like The City Hall Park for example.

Bispetorv, the central square of Aarhus


The Old Town Open Air Museum; one of two museums in the area, and four in Denmark, with open air displays of period architecture. See The Old Town, Aarhus

Aarhus is a centre for education on the peninsula of Jutland. It draws students from a large area, especially from the western and southern parts of the peninsula. The relatively large influx of young people and students creates a natural base for cultural activities.[why?] There are many cafes, bars and restaurants in Aarhus, as well as several museums. In the inner city, there are night clubs, cinemas and various entertainment venues.

Music plays an important part in Aarhus' contribution to culture, with jazz, rock and classical music strongly represented. Major venues include Musikhuset, Vox Hall and Godsbanen. Each year, the city hosts several music festivals and concerts, including NorthSide Festival, Aarhus International Jazz Festival and Aarhus Festuge, the biggest festival in Scandinavia.

The acting scene in Aarhus is diverse, with many groups and venues like Aarhus Teater, Svalegangen, Katapult, Gruppe 38, Godsbanen, Helsingør Teater, Det Andet Teater[84] or Teater Refleksion and it includes several dance venues like Bora Bora and Granhøj Dans.[85][86] The city hosts a biannual international theatre festival, with the next event taking place in May 2015.[87]

The former goods station of Aarhus Godsbanegård, has recently been thoroughly renovated and expanded with a new building. Now known as Godsbanen, it works as a cultural center with a broad outreach and offers many workshops for the artist community and local citizens.

The city is home to the Tivoli Friheden amusement park and to the deer park situated in large neigbouring public forests of Marselisborg.

The iconic late Viking Age Mask Stone found in Aarhus, housed at the Moesgård Museum.

Being a comparatively large Danish city, Aarhus has received a fair share of immigrants from various other cultures resulting in ghettos such as Gellerup. The international cultures present in the community are an obvious and visible part of the city's daily life and contribute to many cultural flavours uncommon for the North, such as the Arabic themed Bazar Vest, a market with shopkeepers predominantly of foreign descent.[88]

The city actively promotes its visible gay and lesbian community.[89] The Aarhus Festuge festival usually includes several exhibits, concerts or events specifically designed for these communities. There are several clubs, discos and cafes aimed at gays and lesbians, including Danish D-lite (sports), G bar (disco) or Gaia Vandreklub (hiking club).

It is common for tourist brochures and local politicians to refer to the town with the tongue-in-cheek slogan "The world's smallest big city" reflecting the fact that the city has everything a city needs despite not being a metropolis like London. Another popular, and perhaps better known, phrase to describe the city is "City of Smiles" – a slogan first coined by the city council in the 1930s as an advertising slogan, and which subsequently is used widely in popular culture today.


The new headquarters of Institute for Sports, established in 2008 under Aarhus University.[90]
From the stadium at Atletion.

There is an active sports life in Aarhus on all levels, with many easily available facilities for both individual or organized citizens and professionals alike. Aarhus has several major and historic sports clubs like Aarhus 1900, AGF, Aarhus Fremad and Idrætsklubben Skovbakken and a plethora of smaller clubs.[91][92][93][94][95] Many association football fields a strewn across the city and there are four swimming halls and several stadiums.

The largest sports centre in Aarhus (and eastern Jutland) Vejlby Risskov Idrætscenter is located in Vejlby, comprising sports educations and a large stadium with associated facilities for a diverse range of sports, such as tennis, association football, athletics, basket, swimming, handball, gymnastics and badminton.[96] Running second, is the sports centre of Atletion in the south of the city at the outskirts of the Marselisborg Forests. The Atletion centre comprise athletics, the football NRGi Park and the indoor sports NRGi Arena. Several sport clubs have their home ground in Atletion, including AGF Århus, the Danish superliga football team, and Aarhus GF handball team, the 1960 European Cup runner-up. Close to Atletion is also a racecourse for horse racing and an outdoor cycling arena.

Watersports like kayaking and rowing, have been a part of Aarhus sports culture for many years, based both at the Brabrand Lake and in the Marselisborg Forests, at the coastline of Aarhus Bay. Although basketball is a minor sport in Denmark, Aarhus is considered the main Danish hub of the sport[citation needed], with the local team Bakken Bears being the most successful team in Denmark for the past decade. There are also two American football clubs in the city: Aarhus Frogs and Århus Tigers. At Christiansbjerg is an iceskating hall and Aarhus have a Division 1 ranked ice hockey team called IK Århus. Golf can be played at a number of golf courses close to the city in the south, west and north. The martial arts scene is very diverse and offers training in many of the popular sports like karate, taekwondo, kick boxing and wrestling, but also in some of the less well-known like krav maga, capoeira and ninjutsu.[97][98][99][100][101] The Laurentius Guild, established in 2004, is a small historical European martial arts group whose members are all from Aarhus University, mainly those specializing in medieval archaeology.[102][103]

A panna cage for street football in Mølleparken.

Aarhus has served as the host of many sport events including the 2002 European Women's Handball Championship, the 2005 European Table Tennis Championships, the Denmark Open in badminton, the UCI Women's Road Cycling World Cup, the 2006 World Orienteering Championships, the 2006 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships and the GF World Cup (women's handball).

In the recent decades, many smaller sports facilities have sprung up around the cityscape, such as street football, basketball, Climbing walls, skateboarding and beach volley. Several natural sites in and around the city, is also offering green exercise, with exercise equipment installed across the landscape or tracks for mountainbiking. The newly reconstructed area of Skjoldhøjkilen is a prime example.


The town is home to Aarhus University, Aarhus Technical College, The Danish School of Journalism, the Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus, VIA University College, Aarhus School of Architecture, KaosPilots and several other higher education centres. It is possible to receive higher education in many areas, from engineering and dentistry to language and theology.

As of January 1, 2012 Aarhus University was the largest university in Denmark if measured by the amount of students enlisted.[104] The university has approximately 41,500 Bachelor and Master students enlisted and further about 1,500 Ph.D. students.[104] Aarhus University is ranked among the top 100 universities in the world by several of the most influential and respected rankings. Aarhus also contains the Statsbiblioteket (State library).


Aarhus City Bikes.

Aarhus Airport is located 40 km (25 mi) north-east of Aarhus in Tirstrup, the bigger Billund Airport is situated 95 km (59 mi) south-west of Aarhus. There have been plans for constructing a new, bigger airport for a long time, but so far, the plans have not been realised.

Aarhus is served by commuter rail that connects the city itself with neighbouring towns. The main station in Aarhus is Aarhus Central Station, which is located in the city centre. Most city bus lines go through the inner city and pass through either Park Alle or Banegårdspladsen (lit. English: "Central Station Square") or both. County and Inter-city buses terminate at Aarhus Bus Terminal which is located 900 meters north-west of Banegårdspladsen, and in front of the Radisson SAS Scandinavia hotel at Margrethepladsen. The long-distance busses of linie888 connect Aarhus to other cities in Jutland and Zealand.

The Danish ferry company Mols-Linien connects Aarhus with Copenhagen (located on the isle of Zealand). The fastest ferries in the world (100 km/h)[citation needed] operate up to 10 times daily from the port of Aarhus to the port city of Sjællands Odde. The ferries transport both private vehicles and the line888 buses.

Aarhus has a free bike sharing system, Aarhus Bycykler (Aarhus City Bikes). The bicycles are available from 1 April to 30 October at 57 stands throughout the city and can be obtained by placing a DKK 20 coin in the release slot, just like caddies in a supermarket. The coin can be retrieved when the bike is returned. Bicycles can also be hired from many shops.

The Aarhus Letbane is a planned tram-train project which will link two railway lines with a new light rail route through the city.[105]


Skejby Sygehus is the second largest hospital in Denmark


The Aarhus Søsterhøj TV tower, height 261 m (856 ft)

Established in 1871, the daily newspaper Jyllandsposten (today known as Jyllands-Posten) takes a generally right-wing editorial approach. With a reputation as a serious news publication, the paper has always included news from Jutland, somewhat less so since its promotion as a national newspaper (Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten) in the 1960s. Today it is one of the three leading serious newspapers in Denmark, the others being Berlingske and Politiken.[106]

The first daily newspaper in Aarhus was Århus Stiftstidende, established in 1794 as Aarhuus Stifts Adresse-Contoirs Tidender. With a moderately conservative approach, for a time it was a leading provincial newspaper but after the Second World War it increasingly faced competition from Demokraten (1884-1974) and Jyllands-Posten, both published in Aarhus. In 1998, it merged with Randers Amtsavis and is now run by Midtjyske Medier, part of Berlingske Media.[107]

Danmarks Radio has a large department in Aarhus with over 200 employees. It runs the DR Østjylland radio programme, provides local contributions to DR P4, and produces local television programmes.[108] In 1990, TV 2 established its Jutland headquarters in Randers but moved to Skejby in northern Aarhus in 1999. The station broadcasts news and current affairs television and radio programmes. Since 2012, it has run its own TV channel, TV 2 Østjylland.[109]

With over 1,700 students, The Danish School of Media and Journalism (Danmarks Medie- og Journalisthøjskole) is the country's largest and oldest school of journalism. The school works closely with Aarhus University where the first journalism course was established in 1946. In 2004, the two institutions established the Centre for University Studies in Journalism, which offers master's courses.[110]

Twin towns — Sister cities[edit]

Aarhus is twinned with seven cities: Originally the cities had most co-operation within the public school, culture and welfare sectors, but now the co-operation is extended to also cover commercial interests.

The cities are:[111]

Apart from the sister cities Aarhus has a close relation with Novi Sad in Serbia.[citation needed]

Notable people[edit]




Music and culture



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External links[edit]

Coordinates: 56°09′26″N 10°12′39″E / 56.1572°N 10.2107°E / 56.1572; 10.2107