Viby J

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Viby J (or just Viby) is a former town and now a district, in the southwestern part of Aarhus in Denmark. The district has almost 30,000 inhabitants.

The "J" stands for Jutland, as there is another town called Viby on the island of Zealand, officially referred to as Viby Sj.

Etymology and origin[edit]

Viby derives from the Old Norse words vi and by, meaning holy place and town respectively.

Vi is a word represented in many place names in both Denmark and Sweden. Several places are named Viby in both Denmark and Sweden (see the disambiguation page on Viby for example) and vi is also present in names like Viborg or the Swedish towns of Odensvi, Torsvi, Frösvi, Ullavi or Visby.[1] Vi refers to "an enclosed holy place" and it is believed, that Viby was once a holy place where the Norse Gods were worshipped, with one or several cult houses. The shrines were probably located at what was formerly known as Tyrseng - the area around the large association football fields in the southwest of Viby. Tyrseng translates as Tyrs-meadow referring to the Norse God Tyr. These theories are backed up by other more or less sound evidence. In 1915 remains of an old hall dating from the Viking Age, was unearthed at the hill of Kongsbakke (lit.: kings-hill), when the public school of Viby Skole was constructed. Medieval sources explains, that the hill of Kongsbakke was once the site of a royal estate in ancient times. Our general research-based knowledge of the Norse culture in the Iron Age and Viking Age tells us, that kings and magnates settled near vis and hofs, as they also worked as priests of the Norse religion and were needed there to attend the rituals.[2] Archaeological excavations conducted by Moesgårds Museum at a motorway junction in Viby, has also revealed a former holy spring, a chapel and a cemetery used from the 11th century to around 1200.[3]


The landmark high-rise of Grøfthøjhuset in Viby.

Viby J is primarily a working class neighbourhood, including many immigrants,[citation needed] but the area also presents large boroughs of detached family houses for the upper-middle class. There are several educational institutions here, such as Viby Amtsgymnasium[4] and Aarhus Business College, making it a centre of education for its part of the city. Two major public housing projects are located in Viby J. Rosenhøj is made up by low-rise apartment blocks, while Grøfthøjparken comprise row house quarters, low-rise apartment blocks 4–6 stories tall and the landmark high-rise block of Grøfthøjhuset, with 17 floors and 51 meters tall.[5] It is also the 6th tallest building in greater Aarhus.[citation needed]

The urban square of Viby Torv, is one of Aarhus' southernmost traffic nodes, and the motorway E45 ends rather abruptly here.[clarification needed] There is a shopping centre at the square, called Viby Centret,[6] parking lots, a hotel and several office buildings and businesses. Although few renovations have been started in this area, the new municipality house off Skanderborgvej[clarification needed] is quite striking.[clarification needed]

Viby J houses the main editorial office of Jyllands-Posten.


Viby is known for its taekwondo-club, which has fostered several European Champions.[citation needed]

Coordinates: 56°07.350′N 10°09.687′E / 56.122500°N 10.161450°E / 56.122500; 10.161450


The square of Viby Torv, with the central fountain and the shopping centre of Viby Centret.

In the time of the Viking Age and early Middle Ages there was a castle in Viby.

In early July 1961, Århus Stiftstidende could announce that:

  • 100 acres (40 ha) of land were to be designated for industry;
  • 1800 new flats were to be built;
  • The centre would be freshened up to include a 10 storeys tall hotel, and a shopping centre;
  • Two new schools and a church would be constructed;
  • Road expansions would be made.

The expansions were intended to increase the population from the (at that time) current 16,000 to 50,000.

In 1970, the new shopping centre was taken into use. It had ended up costing about £4 million, instead of the originally estimated £1.85 million.


  1. ^ Hellquist, E. (1922). Svensk etymologisk ordbok (in Swedish). C. W. K. Gleerups förlag, Lund. 
  2. ^ Vikingernes Aros Vikingemuseet (Danish)
  3. ^ "Holy Nils chapel, spring and cemetery in Viby". 1001 stories of Denmark (in Danish). The Heritage Agency of Denmark. Retrieved 17 July 2014. 
  4. ^ Viby Sixth-form College Official homepage
  5. ^ Grøfthøjparken Århus Omegn (Danish)
  6. ^ Viby Centret Official homepage (Danish)