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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).
From top and left to right: Aarhus skyline, Aarhus City Hall, Isbjerget, Park Allé.
From top and left to right: Aarhus skyline, Aarhus City Hall, Isbjerget, Park Allé.
Aarhus city seal from 1421
Aarhus Coat of Arms
Coat of arms
Location of Aarhus in the European Union and Denmark
Location of Aarhus in the European Union and Denmark
Coordinates: 56°09′N 10°13′E / 56.150°N 10.217°E / 56.150; 10.217
Country  Denmark
Region Central Jutland (Midtjylland)
Municipality Aarhus
Established 8th century
City Status 15th century
Named for Aarhus River mouth
 • Type Magistrate
 • Mayor Jacob Bundsgaard (S)
 • Urban 91 km2 (35 sq mi)
 • Municipal 468 km2 (181 sq mi)
Highest elevation 105 m (344 ft)
Lowest elevation 0 m (0 ft)
Population (1 January 2016)[2]
 • Urban 264,716
 • Urban density 2,854/km2 (7,390/sq mi)
 • Municipal 330,639
 • Municipal density 702/km2 (1,820/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Aarhusianer
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 8000, 8200, 8210, 8220
Area code(s) (+45) 8
Website Official website

Aarhus (Danish pronunciation: [ˈɒːhuːˀs]; officially spelled Århus from 1948 until 31 December 2010) is the second-largest city in Denmark and the seat of Aarhus municipality. It is located on the east coast of the Jutland peninsula, in the geographical centre of Denmark, 187 kilometres (116 mi) northwest of Copenhagen and 289 kilometres (180 mi) north of Hamburg, Germany. The inner urban area contains 264,716 inhabitants (as of 1 January 2016) and the municipal population is 330,639 (as of 2016).[2] Aarhus is the central city in the East Jutland metropolitan area, which had a total population of 1.378 million in 2016.[3]

The history of Aarhus began as a fortified Viking settlement founded in the 8th century and with the first written records stemming from the bishopric seated here from at least 948. The city was founded on the northern shores of a fjord at a natural harbour and the primary driver of growth was for centuries seaborne trade in agricultural products. Market town privileges were granted in 1441, but growth stagnated in the 17th century as the city suffered blockades and bombardments during the Swedish Wars. In the 19th century it was occupied twice by German troops during the Schleswig Wars but avoided destruction. As the industrial revolution took hold, the city grew to become the second-largest in the country by the 20th century.

Today Aarhus is at the cultural and economic core of the region and the largest centre for trade, services and industry in Jutland. The city ranks as the 92nd largest city in the European Union, and as number 234 among world cities. It is also a top 100 conference city in the world.[4] Aarhus is the principal industrial port of the country in terms of container handling and an important trade hub in Kattegat. Major Danish companies have based their headquarters here and people commute for work and leisure from a wide area in Region Midtjylland. It is a centre for research and education in the Nordic countries and home to Aarhus University, Scandinavia's largest university, including Aarhus University Hospital and INCUBA Science Park. Being the Danish city with the youngest demographics, with 48,482 inhabitants aged under 18,[2] Aarhus is also one of the fastest growing Danish cities, with an average growth of 4,000 people per annum since 2010.

Aarhus is notable for its musical history. In the 1950s many jazz clubs sprang up around the city, fuelled by the young population. By the 1960s, the music scene diversified into rock and other genres. In the 1970s and 1980s, Aarhus became the centre for Denmark's rock music fostering many iconic bands such as TV-2 and Gnags. Aarhus is home to the annual eight-day Aarhus International Jazz Festival, the SPoT Festival and the NorthSide Festival.


In Valdemar's Census Book (1231) the city was called Arus, and in Icelandic it was known as Aros, later written as 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 Aarhus Å (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

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. Århus city council explicitly embraced the new spelling, as it was thought to enhance an image of progressiveness.[9] In 2010, the city council voted to change the name from "Århus" to "Aarhus" in order to strengthen the international profile of the city. The renaming came into effect on 1 January 2011.

Certain geographically affiliated names have been updated to reflect the name of the city, such as the Aarhus River, changed from "Århus Å" to "Aarhus Å".[7] It is still grammatically correct to write geographical names with the letter Å and local councils are allowed to use the Aa spelling as an alternative. Whichever spelling local authorities choose, most newspapers and public institutions will accept it. Some official authorities such as the Danish Language Committee, publisher of the Danish Orthographic Dictionary, still retain "Århus" as the main name, providing "Aarhus" as a new, second option, in brackets.[10]


Early history

Model of the early fortified Viking town of Aros (south is up).

Founded in the early Viking Age, Aarhus is one of the oldest cities in Denmark, along with Ribe and Hedeby.[11]

Achaeological evidence under the Aros settlement's defences indicate the site was a town as early as the last quarter of the 8th century, considerably earlier than had been generally supposed.[12][13] Discoveries after a 2003 archaeological dig unearthed half - buried longhouses, firepits, glass pearls and a road dated to the late 700s.[14] Archaeologists have conducted several excavations in the inner city since the 1960s revealing wells, streets, homes and workshops. In the buildings and adjoining archaeological layers, everyday utensils like combs, jewellery and basic multi-purpose tools from approximately the year 900 have been found.[15]

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.[16] In the 900s an earth rampart for the defence of the early city was constructed, encircling the settlement, much like the defence structures found at Viking ring fortresses elsewhere. The rampart was later reinforced by Harald Bluetooth, and together with the town's geographical placement, this suggests that Aros was an important trade and military centre. There are strong indications of a former royal residence from the Viking Age in Viby, a few kilometres south of the Aarhus city centre.[17]

The bishopric of Aarhus dates back to at least 948 when Adam of Bremen reported the bishop Reginbrand attended the synod of Ingelheim in Germany.[18][19] The bishopric and the town's geographical location propelled prosperous growth and development of the early medieval town.[20] The finding of six runestones in and around Aarhus indicates the city had some significance around the year 1000, as only wealthy nobles traditionally used them.[21] The era was turbulent and violent with several naval attacks on the city, such as Harald Hardrada's assault around 1050, when the Holy Trinity Church was burned to the ground.[12][22]

Middle Ages

Aarhus Cathedral (1300).

The growing influence of the Church during the Middle Ages gradually turned Aarhus, with its bishopric, into a prosperous religious centre. Many public and religious buildings were built in and around the city; notably Aarhus Cathedral was initiated in the late 12th century by the influential bishop Peder Vognsen. In 1441, Christopher III issued the oldest known charter granting market town status although similar privileges may have existed as far back as the 12th century. The charter is the first official recognition of the town as a regional power and is by some considered Aarhus' birth certificate.[23]

The official and religious status spurred growth so in 1477 the defensive earthen ramparts, ringing the town since the Viking age, were abandoned to accommodate expansion. Parts of the ramparts are still in existence today and can be experienced as steep slopes at the riverside and they have also survived in some place names of the inner city, including the streets of Volden (The Rampart) and Graven (The Ditch).[24][25] Aarhus grew to become one of the largest cities in the country by the early 16th century. In 1657, octroi was imposed in larger Danish cities which changed the layout and face of Aarhus over the following decades. Wooden city walls were erected to prevent smuggling, with gates and toll booths on the major thoroughfares, Mejlgade and Studsgade. The city gates funnelled most traffic through a few streets where merchant quarters were built.[26]

In the 17th century, Aarhus entered a period of recession as it suffered blockades and bombardments during the Swedish wars and trade was dampened by the preferential treatment of the capital by the state.[27] It was not until the middle of the 18th century growth returned in large part due to trade with the large agricultural catchment areas around the city; particularly grain proved to be a remunerative export.[20] The first factories were established at this time as the industrial revolution reached the country and in 1810 the harbour was expanded to accommodate growing trade.[28]


View of Aarhus, 1850.

Following the Napoleonic wars, Denmark lost Norway and was excluded from international trade for some years which caused a recession for Aarhus' trade-based economy that lasted until the 1830s. The economy turned around as the industrial revolution reached the city and factories with steam-driven machinery became more productive.

In 1838, the electoral laws were reformed leading to elections for the 15 seats on the city council. The rules were initially very strict allowing only the wealthiest citizens to run. In the 1844 elections only 174 citizens qualified out of a total population of more than 7,000.[29] The first city council, mainly composed of wealthy merchants and industrialists, quickly looked to improve the harbour, situated along the Aarhus River. Larger ships and growing freight volumes made a river harbour increasingly impractical. In 1840, the harbour was moved to the coast, north of the river where it became the largest industrial harbour outside Copenhagen over the following 15 years. From the outset, the new harbour was controlled by the city council, as it is to this day.[30]

Prussian soldiers herding cattle by Aarhus cathedral, 1864.

During the First Schleswig War Aarhus was occupied by German troops from 21 June to 24 July 1849. The city was spared any fighting, but in Vejlby north of the city a cavalry skirmish known as Rytterfægtningen took place which stopped the German advance through Jutland.[31] The war and occupation left a notable impact on the city as many streets, particularly in Frederiksbjerg, are named after Danish officers of the time. Fifteen years later, in 1864, the city was occupied again, this time for seven months, during the Second Schleswig War.[32][33]

In spite of wars and occupation the city continued to develop. In 1851 octroi was abolished and the city walls were removed to provide easier access for trade. Regular steamship links with Copenhagen had begun in 1830 and in 1862 Jutland's first railway was established between Aarhus and Randers.[30]

Toldkammeret (Custom House, 1898).

In the second half of the 19th century industrialisation came into full effect and a number of new industries emerged around production and refinement of agricultural products, especially oil and butter. Many companies from this time would come to leave permanent iconic marks on Aarhus. The Ceres Brewery was established in 1856 and served as Aarhus' local brewery for more than 150 years, gradually expanding into an industrial district known as Ceres-grunden (lit.: the Ceres-grounds).[34][35][36] In 1896 local farmers and businessmen created Korn- og Foderstof Kompagniet (KFK), focused on grain and feedstuffs. KFK established departments all over the country, while its headquarters remained in Aarhus where its large grain silos still stand today.[37][38] Otto Mønsted created the Danish Preserved Butter Company in 1874, focusing on butter export to England, China and Africa and later founded the Aarhus Butterine Company in 1883, the first Danish margarine factory.[39] The industry became an important employer, with factory employees increasing from 100 in 1896 to 1,000 in 1931, effectively transforming the city from a regional trade hub into an industrial centre.[40] Other new factories of note include the dockyard of Flydedokken and the oil mill of Århus Oliefabrik, both located at the harbour, and Frichs, a machine factory initiated in 1854.

Aarhus became the largest provincial city in the country by the turn of the century and the city marketed itself as the "Capital of Jutland". The population increased from 15,000 in 1870 to 52,000 in 1901 and, in response, the city annexed large land areas to develop new residential quarters such as Trøjborg, Frederiksbjerg and Marselisborg.[41] Many of its cultural institutions were also established at this time such as the Aarhus Theatre (1900), the national library (1902), Aarhus University (1928) and several hospitals.[42]

Second World War

Resistance fighters on Bispetorv fighting with German soldiers, 5 May 1945

On 9 April 1940, Germany invaded Denmark, occupying Aarhus the following day and 5 years hence. The occupation was a destructive period with major disasters, loss of life and economic depression. The Port of Aarhus became a hub for supplies to the Baltics and Norway while the surrounding rail network supplied the Atlantic Wall in west Jutland and cargo headed for Germany. Combined, these factors resulted in a strong German presence, especially in 1944–45.[43] The first years were peaceful in conjunction with the policies of the Danish Protectorate Government, but following the enactment of the Communist Law in August 1941, the first armed resistance and sabotage commenced, gradually growing in intensity over the years with repression and terror in response.

Small, independent resistance groups first appeared in 1941–42 but the first to coordinate with the Freedom Council was the Samsing Group, responsible for most operations from early 1943.[44][45] The Samsing group, along with others in and around Aarhus, was dismantled in June 1944 when Grethe "Thora" Bartram turned her family and acquaintances over to German authorities.[46] In response, requests for assistance was sent to contacts in England and in October 1944 the Royal Air Force bombed the Gestapo headquarters successfully destroying archives and obstructing the ongoing investigation.[47][48] The 5 Kolonne group was established with assistance from Holger Danske to restore a resistance movement in Aarhus along with the L-groups, tasked with assassinating collaborators.[49] Resistance operations escalated from mid-1944 with most major sabotage operations and assassinations occurring in the period 1944–45.[50][51] The growing resistance was countered with 19 Schalburgtage terror operations by the Peter Group from August 1944, including large-scale fire bombings and murders. The increasingly destructive occupation was compounded when an ammunition barge exploded in 1944, destroying much of the harbor and damaging the inner city.[52] On 5 May 1945 German forces in Denmark surrendered but during the transitional period fighting broke out in Aarhus between the resistance and German soldiers resulting in 22 dead.[53] Order was restored by the end of the day and on 8 May the British Royal Dragoons entered the city.[54]

Post-World War II years

Urban development in Aarhus city centre, 2013

In the 1980s the city entered a period of rapid growth and the service sector overtook trade, industry and crafts as the leading sector of employment for the first time. Workers gradually began commuting to the city from most of east and central Jutland as the region became more interconnected. The student population tripled between 1965 and 1977 turning the city into a Danish centre of research and education.[55] The growing and comparably young population initiated a period of creativity and optimism; Gaffa and the KaosPilot school were founded in 1983 and 1991 respectively, and Aarhus was at the centre of a renaissance in Danish rock and pop music launching bands and musicians such as TV2, Gnags, Thomas Helmig, Bamses Venner, Anne Dorte Michelsen, Mek Pek and Shit & Chanel.[56][57][58]

Since the turn of the millennium both skyline and land use has changed as former industrial sites are being redeveloped into new city districts. Starting in 2007, the former docklands are being converted to a new mixed use district dubbed "Aarhus Ø" (Aarhus Docklands).[59] The site of the former Royal Unibrew Ceres breweries began redevelopment in 2012 into "CeresByen", a residential district with educational institutions.[60] The former DSB repair facilities at Frederiks Plads have been demolished and are being developed into a new business district with high-rise buildings scheduled for completion in 2017.[61][62] The main bus terminal is planned to be moved to the central railway station by 2018 and the current site will be made into a new residential district.[63][64] Construction of the first light rail system in the city commenced in 2013, with the first increment to be finished in 2017.[65] The light rail system is planned to eventually tie many of the suburbs closer to central Aarhus. The next phase will connect a large planned suburb west of Lisbjerg.[66][67]

Accelerating growth since the early 2000s brought the inner urban area to roughly 260,000 inhabitants by 2014. The rapid growth is expected to continue until at least 2030 when Aarhus municipality has set an ambitious target for 375,000 inhabitants.[68]


Aerial view of the bay and city

Aarhus is located at the Bay of Aarhus facing the Kattegat sea in the east with the peninsulas of Mols and Helgenæs across the bay to the northeast. Mols and Helgenæs are both part of the larger regional peninsula of Djursland. A number of larger cities and towns is within easy reach from Aarhus by road and rail, including Randers (38.5 kilometres (23.9 mi) by road north), Grenå (northeast), Horsens (50 kilometres (31 mi) south) and Silkeborg (44 kilometres (27 mi) east).[69]


At Aarhus' location, the Bay of Aarhus provides a natural harbour with a depth of 10 m (33 ft) quite close to the shore.[27] Aarhus was founded at the mouth of a brackish water fjord, but the original fjord no longer exists, as it has gradually narrowed into what is now the Aarhus River and the Brabrand Lake, due to natural sedimentation. The land around Aarhus was once covered by forests, remains of which exist in parts of Marselisborg Forest to the south and Riis Skov to the north.[70][71] Several larger lakes extend west from the Skanderborg railway junction and the landscape rises to heights exceeding 152 metres (499 ft) at Himmelbjerget, forming part of the larger region called Søhøjlandet.[72]

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 the stream of Egåen, Kasted Mose (Kasted Bog) and Geding Sø (Geding Lake). Most parts of the two valleys have been drained and subsequently farmed, but recently some of the drainage was removed for environmental reasons. The valley system also includes the Lyngbygård Å (Lyngbygård 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).[73][74][75][76]


East Jutland
Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: Dansk Meterologisk Institut [77]

Aarhus is in the humid continental climate zone (Köppen: Dfb)[78][citation needed] and the weather is influenced by low-pressure systems from the Atlantic which result in unstable conditions throughout the year. Temperature varies a great deal across the seasons with a mild spring in April and May, warmer summer months from June to August, frequently rainy and windy autumn months in October and September and cooler winter months, often with snow and frost, from December to March. The city centre experiences the same climatic effects as other larger cities with higher wind speeds, more fog, less precipitation and higher temperatures than the surrounding, open land.

Western winds from the Atlantic and North Sea are dominant resulting in more precipitation in western Denmark. In addition, Jutland rises sufficiently in the centre to lift air to higher, colder altitudes contributing to increased precipitation in eastern Jutland. Combined these factors make east and south Jutland comparatively wetter than other parts of the country.[79] Average temperature over the year is 8.43 °C (47 °F) with February being the coldest month (0.1 °C) and August the warmest (15.9 °C). Temperatures in the sea can reach 17 to 22 degrees Celsius in June to August, but it is not uncommon for beaches to register 25 degrees Celsius locally.[78][80]

The geography in the area affects the local climate of the city with the Aarhus Bay imposing a temperate effect on the low-lying valley floor where central Aarhus is located. Brabrand Lake to the west further contributes to this effect and as a result the valley has a very mild, temperate climate. The sandy ground on the valley floor dries up quickly after winter and warms faster in the summer than the surrounding hills of moist-retaining boulder clay. These conditions affect crops and plants that often bloom 1–2 weeks earlier in the valley than on the northern and southern hillsides.[81]

Because of the northern latitude, the number of daylight hours varies considerably between summer and winter. On the summer solstice, the sun rises at 04:26 and sets at 21:58, providing 17 hours 32 minutes of daylight. On the winter solstice, it rises at 08:37 and sets at 15:39 with 7 hours and 2 minutes of daylight. The difference in the length of days and nights between the summer and winter solstices is 10 hours and 30 minutes.[82]

Politics and administration

The City Hall from 1942, designed by Arne Jacobsen and Erik Møller
For further information about politics, see Aarhus Municipality and List of mayors of Aarhus.

Aarhus is the seat of Aarhus Municipality and Aarhus City Council (Aarhus Byråd) is also the municipal government. The Mayor of Aarhus until 2017 is Jacob Bundsgaard of the Social Democrats.[83] Municipal elections are held every fourth year on the third Tuesday of November. The city council consists of 31 members elected for four-year terms. When an election has determined the composition of the council, it elects a mayor, two deputy mayors and five aldermen from their ranks.[84] Anyone who is eligible to vote and who resides within the municipality can run for a seat on the city council provided they can secure endorsements and signatures from 50 inhabitants of the municipality.[85]

The first publicly elected mayor of Aarhus was appointed in 1919. In the 1970 Danish Municipal Reform the current Aarhus municipality was created by merging 20 municipalities.[86] Aarhus was the seat of Aarhus County until the 2007 Danish municipal reform, which substituted the Danish counties with five regions and replaced Aarhus County with Central Denmark Region (Region Midtjylland), seated in Viborg.[87]


Aarhus Municipality has 45 electoral wards and polling stations in four electoral districts for the Folketing (national Parliament).[88] The diocese of Aarhus has four deaneries composed of 60 parishes within Aarhus municipality.[89] Aarhus municipality contains 21 postal districts and some parts of another 9.[90] The urban area of Aarhus and the immediate suburbs are divided into the districts Aarhus C, Aarhus N, Aarhus V, Viby J, Højbjerg and Brabrand.

Environmental planning

Main article: Energy in Denmark
The lake Årslev Engsø was re-established in the 2000s to help manage the water cycle

Aarhus has increasingly been investing in environmental planning and in accordance with national policy, Aarhus aims to be CO2 neutral and independent of fossil fuels for heating by 2030.[91] These goals have materialised in a plan to increase multiple-source heat production and the waste and district heating service AffaldVarme Aarhus is building a combined heat and power plant running on biofuels.[92] Aarhus has been heavily involved with several large-scale water treatment projects on many levels since the 1990s and more will follow in the future.[93][94][95] The initiatives are part of a larger and broader action plan for Aarhus municipality, that aims for a coherent and holistic administration of the water cycle. This should protect against or clean up previous pollution and encourage green growth and self-sufficiency. One of the main tasks is to deal with the large quantities of excessive nutrients in and around Aarhus, primarily nitrogen and phosphorus. A second task is to tackle the increasing levels of precipitation brought about by current and future climate change, and a third important task is to secure fresh, clean and safe drinking water for the future.[96]

Aarhus Municipality and the city council have attacked the challenges from different angles in a constructive collaboration with private partners. Many new underground rainwater basins have been built across the city in recent years. The two lakes of Årslev Engsø and Egå Engsø were created in 2003 and 2006 respectively. Large expanses of forest have been planted in vulnerable land areas in order to secure drinking water and avoid groundwater pollution from pesticides and other sources.[97] Since 1988, the New Forests of Aarhus have been developed to assist in binding CO2, securing drinking water, protecting groundwater from pollution, dealing with excessive nutrients, increasing biodiversity, creating an attractive countryside, providing easy access to nature and offering outdoor activities to the public. The afforestation plans were realised as a local project in collaboration with private landowners, under a larger national agenda, and there are new afforestation objectives to double the forest cover in Aarhus municipality, before the year 2030.[98]


Main immigrant groups, 2014[99]
Nationality Population
 Lebanon 4,845
 Somalia 4,307
 Turkey 4,341
 Iraq 3,584
 Vietnam 2,551
 Iran 2,403
 Poland 2,183
 Germany 2,105
 Afghanistan 1,832
 Romania 1,661

Aarhus has a population of 261,570 on 91 square kilometres (35 sq mi) for a density of 2,874/km2 (7,444/sq mi).[2] Aarhus municipality has a population of 330,639 on 468 km2 with a density of 706/km2 (1,829/sq mi). Less than a fifth of the municipal population resides beyond city limits and almost all live in an urban area.[100] The population of Aarhus is both younger and better-educated than the national average which can be attributed to the high concentration of educational institutions.[101] More than 40% of the population have an academic degree while only some 14% have no secondary education or trade.[102] The largest age group is 20- to 29-year-olds and the average age is 37.5, making it the youngest city in the country and one of its youngest municipalities.[99][103] Women have slightly outnumbered men for many years.[99]

Population 1672–2014[104]

The city is home to 75 different religious groups and denominations most of which are Christian or Muslim with a smaller number of Buddhist and Hindu communities. Since the 1990s there has been a marked growth in diverse new spiritual groups although the total number of followers remains small.[105] The majority of the population are members of the Protestant state church, Church of Denmark, which is by far the largest religious institution both in the city and the country as a whole. Some 20% of the population are not officially affiliated with any religion, a percentage that has been slowly rising for many years.[106]

Aarhus has the highest ratio of immigrants in Denmark, 14.8% of the population, outside the Copenhagen area.[107] During the 1990s there was significant immigration from Turkey and in recent years, there has been high growth in the overall immigrant community, from 27,783 people in 1999 to 40,431 in 2008.[108] The majority of immigrants have roots outside Europe and the developed world, comprising some 25,000 people from 130 different nationalities, with the largest groups coming from the Middle East and north Africa. Some 15,000 have come from within Europe, with Poland, Germany, Romania and Norway being the largest contributors.[99]

Many immigrants have established themselves in Brabrand, Hasle and Viby, where the percentage of inhabitants with foreign origins has risen by 66% since the year 2000. This has resulted in several 'especially vulnerable residential areas' (a.k.a. ghettos), with Gellerup as the most notable neighbourhood. In Brabrand and Gellerup, two thirds of the population now have a non-Danish ethnic background.[109] The international cultures present in the community are an obvious and visible part of the city's daily life and contribute many cultural flavours hitherto uncommon for the Nordic countries, including Bazar Vest, a market with shopkeepers predominantly of foreign descent.[110]


Silos from 1927 known as the "Five Sisters"

The economy of Aarhus is predominantly knowledge and service based, strongly influenced by the University of Aarhus and the large healthcare industry. The service sector dominates the economy and is growing as the city is transitioning away from manufacturing. Trade and transportation remain important sectors benefiting from the large port and central position on the rail network. Manufacturing has been in slow but steady decline since the 1960s while agriculture long has been a marginal employer within the municipality.[111] The municipality is home to 175,000 jobs with some 100,000 in the private sector and the rest split between state, region and municipality.[112] The region is a major agricultural producer, with many large farms in the outlying districts.[113]

Composition of the labour market – 2002

The job market is knowledge and service based and the largest employment sectors are healthcare and social services, trade, education, consulting, research, industry and telecommunications.[112] The municipality has more high and middle income jobs, and fewer low income jobs, than the national average.[112]

Today the majority of the largest companies in the municipality are in the sectors of trade, transport and media.[114] The wind power industry has strong roots in Aarhus, and the larger region of Midtjylland, and nationally most of the revenue in the industry is generated by companies in the greater Aarhus area. The wind industry employs about a thousand people within the municipality making it a central component in the local economy.[115] The biotech industry is well established in the city with many small and medium-sized companies mainly focused on research and development.[116]

The city has become a leading centre for retail in the Nordic and Baltic countries with expansive shopping centres, the busiest commercial street in the country and a dense urban core with many specialty shops.[117][118] People commute to Aarhus from as far away as Randers, Silkeborg and Skanderborg and almost a third of those employed within Aarhus municipality commute from neighbouring communities.[119][120][121]

Several major companies have their headquarters in Aarhus such as Arla Foods, one of the largest dairy groups in Europe, Dansk Supermarked, Denmark's largest retailer, Jysk, a worldwide retailer specializing in household goods, bedding, furniture and interior design, Vestas, one of the major wind turbine producers worldwide, and several leading retail companies.[6][122] In total four of the 10 largest companies in the country are based in the municipality. Since the early 2000s the city has experienced an influx of larger companies moving from other parts of the Jutland peninsula.[123][124] Other large employers of note include Krifa (a trades union organisation) and 5R, a telemarketing company, while metallurgy and electronics remain important sectors.[6][125]

Port of Aarhus

Aarhus Container port
Main article: Port of Aarhus

The Port of Aarhus is one of the largest industrial ports in northern Europe with the largest container terminal in Denmark, processing more than 50% of Denmark's container traffic and accommodating the largest container vessels in the world.[126][127] It is a municipal self-governing port with independent finances. The facilities handle some 9.5 million tonnes of cargo a year (2012). Grain is the principal export, while feedstuffs, stone, cement and coal are among the chief imports.[128] Since 2012 the port has faced increasing competition from the Port of Hamburg and freight volumes have decreased somewhat from the peak in 2008.[127]

The ferry terminal presents the only alternative to the Great Belt Link for passenger transport between Jutland and Zealand. It has served different ferry companies since the first steamship route to Copenhagen opened in 1830. Currently Mols-Linien operates the route and annually transports some 2 million passengers and a million vehicles. Additional roll-on/roll-off cargo ferries serve Finland and Kalundborg on a weekly basis and smaller outlying Danish ports at irregular intervals. Since the early 2000s the port has increasingly become a destination for cruise lines operating in the Baltic Sea.[129]


Cruise liner in the harbor

The ARoS Art Museum, the Old Town Museum and Tivoli Friheden are among Denmark's top tourist attractions.[130] With a combined total of almost 1.4 million visitors they represent the driving force behind tourism but other venues such as Moesgård Museum and Kvindemuseet are also popular. The city's extensive shopping facilities are also said to be a major attraction for tourists, as are festivals, especially NorthSide and SPOT.[131][132] Many visitors arrive on cruise ships: in 2012, 18 vessels visited the port with over 38,000 passengers.[133]

In the 2010s there has been a significant expansion of tourist facilities, culminating in the opening of the 240-room Comwell Hotel in July 2014, which increased the number of hotel rooms in the city by 25%. Some estimates put the number of visitors spending at least one night as high as 750,000 a year, most of them Danes from other regions, the remainder coming mainly from Norway, Sweden, northern Germany and the United Kingdom. Overall, they spend about DKK 3 billion ($540 million) in the city each year.[134] The primary motivation for tourists choosing Aarhus as a destination is experiencing the city and culture, family and couples vacation or as a part of a round trip in Denmark. The average stay is little more than three days on average.[134]

There are more than 30 tourist information spots across the city, some of them staffed, while others are on-line, publicly accessible touch screens. The official tourist information service in Aarhus is organised under VisitAaarhus, a corporate foundation initiated in 1994 by Aarhus Municipality and local commercial interest organisations.[135][136][137]

Research parks

Navitas Park, a department of INCUBA Science Park.

The largest research park in Aarhus is INCUBA Science Park, focused on IT and biomedical research, It is based on Denmark's first research park, Forskerpark Aarhus (Research Park Aarhus), founded in 1986, which in 2007 merged with another research park to form INCUBA Science Park. The organization is owned partly by Aarhus University and private investors and aims to foster close relationships between public institutions and startup companies.[138] It is physically divided across 4 locations after a new department was inaugurated in Navitas Park in 2015, which it will share with the Aarhus School of Marine and Technical Engineering and AU Engineering. Another major center for knowledge is Agro Food Park in Skejby, established to facilitate cooperation between companies and public institutions working within food science and agriculture. In January 2017 Arla Foods will open the global innovation center Arla Nativa in Agro Food Park and in 2018 Aarhus University is moving the Danish Centre for Food and Agriculture there as well.[139][140] In 2016 some 1000 people worked at Agro Food Park, spread across 50 companies and institutions and in August 2016 Agro Food Park management published plans to expand facilities from 92.000 m2 to 325,000 square metres (3,500,000 sq ft).[140]

In addition, Aarhus is home to the Aarhus School of Architecture, one of two Danish Ministry of Education institutions that provides degree programs in architecture, and some of the largest architecture firms in the Nordic Countries such as schmidt hammer lassen architects, Arkitema Architects and C. F. Møller Architects.[141] Taken together these organizations form a unique concentration of expertise and knowledge in architecture outside Copenhagen which the Danish Ministry of Business and Growth refer to as arkitekturklyngen (the architecture cluster). To promote the "cluster" the School of Architecture will be given new school buildings centrally in the new Freight Station Neighborhood, planned for development in the 2020s. In the interim the city council supports a culture, business and education center in the area which may continue in the future neighborhood in some form. The future occupants of the neighborhood will be businesses and organizations selected for their ability to be involved in the local community and it is hoped the area will evolve into a hotspot for creativity and design.[142][143][144]


Panoramic view of the Aarhus skyline seen from the top of ARoS.
Åboulevarden, 1945 and 2016, opening of the river

Aarhus has developed in stages, from the Viking age to modern times, all visible in the city today. Many architectural styles are represented in different parts of the city such as Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, National Romantic, Nordic classicism, Neoclassical, Empire and Functionalism.[145] The city has grown up around the main transport hubs, the harbour and later the railway station and as a result, the oldest parts of the city are also the most central and busiest today.

The streets Volden (lit Rampart) and Graven (lit. Moat) testify to the defences of the initial Viking settlement and Allégaderingen in Midtbyen roughly follows the boundaries of that settlement. The street network in the inner city formed during the Middle Ages with narrow, curved streets and low, dense housing by the river and coast. Vesterport (lit. Western Gate) still bears the name of a medieval city gate and the narrow alleyways Posthussmøgen and Telefonsmøgen are remnants of toll stations from that time.[146] The inner city has the oldest preserved houses, especially the Latin Quarter, with buildings dating back to the early 17th century in Mejlgade and Skolegade.[27] Medieval merchants' mansions with courtyards can be seen in Klostergade, Studsgade and Skolegade.


Bispetorv in the historic centre, November 2008

Aarhus Cathedral (Århus Domkirke) in the centre of Aarhus, is the longest and tallest church in Denmark at 93 m (305 ft) and 96 m (315 ft) in length and height respectively. Originally built as a Romanesque basilica in the 13th century, it was rebuilt and enlarged as a Gothic cathedral in the late 15th and early 16th centuries.[147] Even though the cathedral stood finished around 1300, it took more than a century to build; the associated cathedral school of Aarhus Katedralskole was already founded in 1195 and ranks as the 44th oldest school in the world.[148] Another important and historic church in the inner city, is the Church of our Lady (Vor Frue Kirke) also from the 13th century in Romanesque and Gothic style. It is smaller and less impressive, but it was the first cathedral of Aarhus and founded on an even older church constructed in 1060; the oldest stone church in Scandinavia. Parts of this former church were excavated in the 1950s and can now be experienced as a crypt beneath the nave of Vor Frue Kirke.[149][150][151][152] Langelandsgade Kaserne in National Romantic style from 1889 is the oldest former military barracks left in the country; home to the university Department of Aesthetics and Communication since 1989. [153][154][155] Marselisborg Palace (Marselisborg Slot), designed by Hack Kampmann in Neoclassical and Art Nouveau styles, was donated by the city to Prince Christian and Princess Alexandrine as a wedding present in 1898.[156][157] The Aarhus Custom House (Toldkammeret) from 1898, is said to be Hack Kampmann's finest work.[158]

Tivoli Friheden (lit. Tivoli Freedom) opened in 1903 and has since been the largest amusement park in the city and a tourist attraction. Aarhus Theatre from 1916 in the Art Nouveau style is the largest provincial theatre in Denmark.[159][160] The early buildings of Aarhus University, especially the main building completed in 1932, designed by Kay Fisker, Povl Stegmann and by C.F. Møller have gained an international reputation for their contribution to functionalist architecture.[161] The City Hall (Aarhus Rådhus) from 1941 with an iconic 60 m (200 ft) tower clad in marble, was designed by Arne Jacobsen and Erik Møller in a modern Functionalist style.


Aarhus is home to many annual cultural events and festivals, museums, theatres and sports event and presents some of the largest cultural attractions in Denmark. There is a long tradition here in music of all genres and many Danish bands have emerged from Aarhus. Libraries, cultural centres and educational institutions present free or easy opportunities for the citizens to participate in, engage in or be creative with cultural events and productions of all kinds.

Selected as European Capital of Culture in 2017, Aarhus prides itself on offering a combination of innovation, media and communication together with architecture and design, and has a wide variety of cultural institutions.[162] The city is a member of the ICORN organisation (International Cities of Refuge Network) in an effort to provide a safe haven to authors and writers persecuted in their countries of origin.[163] The State Library (Statsbiblioteket) at the university campus has status of a national library.[164]


Aarhus has many museums and two of the largest in the country measured by the number of visitors, Den Gamle By and ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum. Den Gamle By (The Old Town), officially Danmarks Købstadmuseum (Denmark's Market Town Museum), presents Danish townscapes from the 16th century to the 1970s with individual areas focused on different time periods. 75 historic buildings collected from different parts of the country have been brought here to create a small town in its own right.[165][166]

ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, the city's main art museum 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, installations and sculptures representing international art movements and artists from all over the world. The iconic glass structure on the roof, Your Rainbow Panorama, was designed by Olafur Eliasson and features a promenade offering a colourful panorama of the city.[167][168]

The Moesgård Museum specialises in archaeology and ethnography in collaboration with Aarhus University with exhibits on Denmark's prehistory, including weapon sacrifices from Illerup Ådal and the Grauballe Man.[169] Kvindemuseet, the Women's Museum, from 1984 contains collections of the lives and works of women in Danish cultural history.[170] The Occupation Museum (Besættelsesmuseum) presents exhibits illustrating the German occupation of the city during the Second World War;[171] the University Park on the campus of Aarhus University includes the Natural History Museum with 5,000 species of animals, many in their natural surroundings;[172] and the Steno Museum is a museum of the history of science and medicine with a planetarium.[173] Kunsthal Aarhus (Aarhus Art Hall) hosts exhibitions of contemporary art including painting, sculpture, photography, performance art, film and video.[174] Strictly speaking it is not a museum but an arts centre and one of the oldest in Europe, built and founded in 1917.

Libraries and community centres

Dokk1 at the harbour front

Libraries in Denmark are also cultural and community centres. They play an active role in the cultural life and host many events, exhibitions, discussion groups, workshops, educational courses and facilitate everyday cultural activities for and by the citizens. In June 2015, the large central library and cultural centre of Dokk1 opened at the harbour front. Dokk1 also includes civil administrations and services, commercial office rentals and a large underground robotic car park and aims to be a landmark for the city and a public meeting place. The building of Dokk1 and the associated squares and streetscape is also collectively known as Urban Mediaspace Aarhus and it is the largest construction project Aarhus municipality has ever undertaken.[175] Apart from this large main library, some neighbourhoods in Aarhus have a local library engaged in similar cultural and educational activities, but on a more local scale.[176]

There are also several cultural and community centres scattered throughout the city. This includes Folkestedet in the central Åparken, facilitating events for and by non-commercial associations, organisations and clubs, and activities for the elderly, the nearby Godsbanen at the railway yard, with workshops, events and exhibitions, and Globus1 in Brabrand facilitating sports and various cultural activities.[177]

Performing arts

The city enjoys strong musical traditions, both classical and alternative, underground and popular, with educational and performance institutions such as the concert halls of Musikhuset, the opera of Den Jyske Opera, Aarhus Symfoniorkester (Aarhus Symphony Orchestra) and Det Jyske Musikkonservatorium (Royal Academy of Music, Aarhus/Aalborg). Musikhuset is the largest concert hall in Scandinavia, with seating for more than 3,600 people. Other major music venues include VoxHall, rebuilt in 1999, the recently opened Atlas, Train nightclub at the harbourfront, and Godsbanen, a former rail freight station.[178][179][180]

Since the 1970s, the city has seen major developments on the pop and rock scene, with the arrival of many acclaimed bands such as Kliché, Under Byen, Gnags, TV-2, Michael Learns to Rock, Nephew, Carpark North, Spleen United, VETO, Hatesphere and Illdisposed in addition to popular individual performers like Thomas Helmig, Anne Linnet and Medina. Since 2010 the music production centre of PROMUS (Produktionscentret for Rytmisk Musik) has supported the rock scene in the city along with the publicly funded ROSA (Dansk Rock Samråd), which promotes Danish rock music in general.[181]

The acting scene in Aarhus is diverse, with many groups and venues including Aarhus Teater, Svalegangen, EntréScenen, Katapult, Gruppe 38, Godsbanen, Helsingør Teater, Det Andet Teater[182] and Teater Refleksion as well as several dance venues like Bora Bora and Granhøj Dans.[183][184] The city hosts a biannual international theatre festival, International Living Theatre (ILT), the next event being scheduled for 2017.[185] The former goods station of Aarhus Godsbanegård has recently been thoroughly renovated, redeveloped and expanded with a new building. Now known as Godsbanen, it functions as a cultural centre, and offers numerous workshops for the artist community and local citizens.[178]

Events and festivals

Aarhus Pride march

Aarhus hosts many annual or recurring festivals, concerts and events, with the festival of Aarhus Festuge as the most popular and wide-ranging, along with large sports events.[186][187] It is the largest multicultural festival in Scandinavia, always based on a special theme and takes place every year for ten days between late August and early September, transforming the inner city with festive activities and decorations of all kinds.[188][189]

The annual boatrace at University campus

Regarding music, the eight-day Aarhus International Jazz Festival features jazz in many venues across the city. It was founded in 1988 and takes place in either July, August or September every year.[190] There are several annually recurring music festivals for contemporary popular music in Aarhus. NorthSide Festival presents well known bands every year in mid June on large outdoor scenes. It is a new event, founded in 2010, but grew from a one-day event to a three-day festival in its first three years, now with 35,000 paying guests in 2015.[191][192] Spot festival is aiming to showcase up-and-coming Danish and Scandinavian talents at selected venues of the inner city. The outdoor Grøn Koncert music festival takes place every year in many cities across Denmark, including Aarhus. Danmarks grimmeste festival (lit. Denmark's ugliest Festival) is a small summer music festival held in Skjoldhøjkilen, Brabrand.

Apart from the Aarhus Festuge, Aarhus also hosts specific recurring events, dedicated to various art genres. Initiated in 2009, Sculpture by the Sea, Aarhus is a very popular bi-annual month-long outdoor sculpture exhibition on the beaches south of Aarhus. The 2015 event included sculptures from 24 countries and attracted an estimated half a million visitors.[193] International Living theatre (ILT) is another bi-annual festival established in 2009, but with performing arts and stage art on a broad scale. The festival has a vision of showing the best plays and stage art experiences of the world, by presenting the best stage art companies of the world, while at the same time attracting stage art interested people from both Aarhus and Europe at large.[194] The city actively promotes its gay and lesbian community and celebrates the annual Aarhus Pride gay pride festival.[195] Aarhus Festuge usually includes exhibits, concerts and events designed for the LGBT communities. There are several clubs, discos and cafés aimed at gays and lesbians, including Danish D-lite (sports), Gbar (nightclub) and Gaia Vandreklub (hiking club).

Parks, nature and recreation

Beaches such as Risskov Beach forms the entire coastline

The beech forests of Riis Skov and Marselisborg occupy the hills to the north and south, and apart from the city centre of Midtbyen, sandy beaches forms the coastline of the entire municipality. The public seabath of Den Permanente below Riis Skov and close to the harbour area, offers the only sand beach in the city centre. As in most of Denmark, there are no private beaches in the municipality, but access to the seabath requires a membership, except in the summer.[196]

The University Park; rolling lawns, ponds and large oak trees.
Blooming cherry trees and Marselisborg Palace in Mindeparken

The relatively mild, temperate marine climate, allows for outdoor recreation year round, including walking, hiking, cycling and outdoor team sports. Mountain biking is usually restricted to marked routes.[197] Watersports like sailing, kayaking, motor boating, etc. are also popular, and since the bay rarely freezes up in winter, they can also be practised most of the year. Recreational and transportational pathways for pedestrians and cyclists, radiate from the city centre to the countryside, providing safety from motorised vehicles and a more tranquil experience.[198][199] This includes the 30 kilometre long pathway of Brabrandstien, encircling the Brabrand Lake. The long-range hiking route Aarhus-Silkeborg, starts off from Brabrandstien.[200]

Aarhus has an unusually high number of parks, 134 of them, covering a total area of around 550 ha (1,400 acres).[201] The central Botanical Gardens (Botanisk Have) from 1875 are a popular destination, as they include The Old Town open-air museum and host a number of events throughout the year. Originally used to cultivate fruit trees and other useful plants for the local citizens, they are now a significant collection of trees and bushes from different habitats and regions of the world, including a section devoted to native Danish plants.[202] Recently renovated tropical and subtropical greenhouses, exhibit exotic plants from throughout the world.[203] Also in the city centre is the undulating University Park, recognised for its unique landscaped design with large old oak trees.[204] The Memorial Park (Mindeparken) at the coast below Marselisborg Palace, offers a panoramic view across the Bay of Aarhus and is popular with locals for outings, picnics or events.[205][206] Other notable parks include the small central City Hall Park (Rådhusparken) and Marienlyst Park (Marienlystparken).[207] Marienlyst Park is a relatively new park from 1988, situated in Hasle out of the inner city and is less crowded, but it is the largest park in Aarhus, including woodlands, large open grasslands and soccer fields.[208][209]

Marselisborg Forests and Riis Skov, has a long history for recreational activities of all kinds, including several restaurants, hotels and opportunities for green exercise. There are marked routes here for jogging, running and mountain biking and large events are hosted regularly. This includes running events, cycle racing and orienteering, the annual Classic Race Aarhus with historic racing cars[210] and the biennial event Sculpture by the Sea, Aarhus, all attracting thousands of people. A new event will replace Sculpture by the Sea in 2017. Marselisborg Deer Park (Marselisborg Dyrehave) in Marselisborg Forests, comprises 22 ha (54 acres) of fenced woodland pastures with free-roaming sika and roe deer.[211] Below the Moesgård Museum in the southern parts of the Marselisborg Forests, is a large historical landscape of pastures and woodlands, presenting different eras of Denmark's prehistory. Sections of the forest comprise trees and vegetation representing specific climatic epochs from the last Ice Age to the present. Dotted across the landscape are reconstructed Stone Age and Bronze Age graves, buildings from the Iron Age, Viking Age and medieval times, with grazing goats, sheep and horses in between.

Food, drink and nightlife

Aarhus presents a large variety of restaurants.

Aarhus has a large variety of restaurants and eateries offering food from cultures all over the world, especially Mediterranean and Asian, but also international gourmet cuisine, traditional Danish food and New Nordic Cuisine.[212] Among the oldest restaurants are Rådhuscafeen (lit. The City Hall Café), opened in 1924, serving a menu of traditional Danish meals and Peter Gift from 1906, a tavern with a broad beer selection and a menu of smørrebrød and other Danish dishes.[213][214] Former restaurant Malling & Schmidt was at the forefront of developing the New Nordic Cuisine for several years, but closed in 2012 when the couple relocated their restaurant to Skagen and later became involved with other projects, including cooking for the International Space Station.[215] In Aarhus, New Nordic can currently be experienced at Kähler Villa Dining, Hærværk and Domestic, but local produce can be had at many places, especially at the twice weekly food markets on Frederiksbjerg.[216]

Appraised high-end gourmet restaurants serving an international gourmet cuisine include Frederikshøj, Restaurant Varna, Miró, Nordisk Spisehus, Det Glade Vanvid, La Pyramide, Restaurant ET and Dauphine, all considered among the best places to eat in Denmark.[217][218] In Denmark, restaurants in Aarhus was the first outside Copenhagen to receive Michelin-stars since 2015.[219]

Cheese stand at the local food markets on Frederiksbjerg.

Vendors of street food are numerous throughout the centre, often selling from small trailers on permanent locations formally known as Pølsevogne (lit. sausage wagons), traditionally serving a Danish variety of hot dogs, sausages and other fast food. There are increasingly more outlets inspired by other cultural flavours such as sushi, kebab and currywurst.[220][221] The city centre is packed with cafés, especially along the river and the Latin quarter. Some of them also includes an evening restaurant such as Café Casablanca, Café Carlton, Café Cross and Gyngen.[222]

Aarhus has a robust and diverse nightlife. The action tends to concentrate in the inner city with the pedestrianized riverside of the inner city, Frederiksgade, the Latin Quarter and Jægergårdsgade on Frederiksbjerg as the most active centres at night, but things are stirring elsewhere around the city too. The nightlife scene offers everything from small joints with cheap alcohol and a homely atmosphere to fashionable night clubs serving champagne and cocktails or small and large music venues with bars, dance floors and lounges. A short selection of well-established places where you can have a drink and socialise, include the fashionable lounge and night club of Kupé at the harbour front, the relaxed Ris Ras Filliongongong offering waterpipes and an award winning beer selection, Fatter Eskild with a broad selection of Danish bands playing mostly blues and rock, the wine and book café of Løve's in Nørregade, Sherlock Holmes, a British-style pub with live music and the brew pub of Sct. Clemens with A Hereford Beefstouw restaurant across the cathedral.[223][224][225]

The Århus Set (Danish: Århus Sæt) is a set of drinks often ordered together, named for the city and consisting of two beverages, one Ceres Top beer and one shot Arnbitter, both originally from Aarhus. Ordering "a set" suffices in most bars and pubs.[226][227] Aarhus Bryghus is a local microbrewery with a sizeable production. The brewery is located in the southern district of Viby and a large variety of their craft brews are available there, in most larger well-assorted stores in the city and in some bars and restaurants as well. They also export.[228]

Local dialect

See also: Danish dialects

The Aarhus Danish dialect, commonly called Aarhusiansk (Lit.: Aarhusian), is a Jutlandic dialect (Danish: Jysk) in the Mid-Eastern Jutland dialect area, traditionally spoken in and around Aarhus.[229] Aarhusian, as most local dialects in Denmark, has diminished in use through the 20th century and most people today speak some version of Standard Danish with regional features although it still has a strong presence in older segments of the population and in areas with high numbers of immigrants.[230][231][232] ommon or traditional Aarhusian words are: træls (tiresome), noller (silly or dumb) and dælme (Excl. damn me).[233][234] The dialect is notable for single syllable words ending in "d" being pronounced with stød while the same letter in multiple syllable words is pronounced as "j", i.e.. Odder is pronounced "Ojjer". Like other dialects in East Jutland it has two grammatical genders, similar to Standard Danish, but different from West Jutlandic dialects which have only one.[235] In 2009 the University of Aarhus compiled a list of contemporary public figures, who best exemplify the dialect, including Jacob Haugaard, Thomas Helmig, Steffen Brandt, Stig Tøfting, Flemming Jørgensen, Tina Dickow and Camilla Martin. In popular culture the dialect features prominently in Niels Malmros' movie Aarhus By Night and 90s comedy sketches by Jacob Haugaard and Finn Nørbygaard.[236]


Sailsports in the Aarhus Bay, 2014
Club Sport League Venue (capacity) Founded Titles Attendance
Aarhus Gymnastik Forening Soccer Superliga Ceres Park (20,032) 1880 5 23,990[237]
Aarhus GF Håndbold Handball Danish Handball League NRGi Arena (4,700) 2001 9[238] 4,700[239]
Bakken Bears Basketball Danish Basketball League Vejlby-Risskov Hallen (1,800) 1962 14 2,500[240]
Ceres Park in Atletion

Aarhus has three major men's professional sports teams: the Superliga team Aarhus Gymnastik Forening (AGF), Danish Handball League's Aarhus GF Håndbold, and Danish Basketball League's Bakken Bears. Notable or historic clubs include Aarhus 1900, Idrætsklubben Skovbakken and Aarhus Sejlklub. NRGi Park has hosted matches in the premiere Danish soccer league since it was formed in 1920 and matches for the national men's soccer team in 2006 and 2007.[241] The five sailing clubs routinely win national and international titles in a range of disciplines and the future national watersports stadium will be located on the Aarhus Docklands in the city centre.[242][243] The Bakken Bears have most recently won the Danish basketball championships in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.

The municipality actively supports sports organisations in and around the city, providing public organisations that aim to attract major sporting events and strengthen professional sports.[244] The National Olympic Committee and Sports Confederation of Denmark counts some 380 sports organisations within the municipality and about one third of the population are members of one.[245] Soccer is by far the most popular sport followed by Gymnastics, Handball and Badminton.[245]

In recent decades, many free and public sports facilities have sprung up across the city, such as street football, basketball, climbing walls, skateboarding and beach volley. Several natural sites also offer green exercise, with exercise equipment installed along the paths and tracks reserved for mountain biking. The newly reconstructed area of Skjoldhøjkilen is a prime example.[246]

Aarhus has hosted many sporting events including the 2010 European Women's Handball Championship, the 2014 European Men's Handball Championship, the 2013 Men's European Volleyball Championships, 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).[247] Aarhus is on average host to one or two international sailing competitions every year and hosted the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships in 2008[248][249] and will in 2018 host the ISAF Sailing World Championships, the world championship for the 12 Olympic sailing disciplines and an important qualifier for the 2020 Olympics.[250]


Aarhus is the principal centre for education in the Jutland region. 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.[251] Aarhus has the greatest concentration of students in Denmark, fully 12% of those living there attending short, medium or long courses of study. In addition to around 25 institutions of higher education, several research forums have evolved to assist in the transfer of expertise from education to business.[252] The city is home to more than 55,000 students.[253]

On 1 January 2012 Aarhus University (AU) was the largest university in Denmark by number of students enrolled.[254] It is ranked among the top 100 universities in the world by several of the most influential and respected rankings. The university has approximately 41,500 Bachelor and Master students enrolled as well as about 1,500 Ph.D. students.[254] It is possible to engage in higher academic studies in many areas, from the traditional spheres of natural science, humanities and theology to more vocational academic areas like engineering and dentistry.[255] Aarhus Tech is one of the largest business academies in Denmark, teaching undergraduate study programmes in English, including vocational education and training (VET), continuing vocational training (CVT), and human resource development.[256] The Danish School of Media and Journalism (DMJX) is the oldest and largest of the colleges, offering journalism courses since 1946. In 2014 it had approximately 1,700 students. In 1974 it became an independent institution conducting research and teaching at undergraduate level. In 2004, the school collaborated with Aarhus University to establish the Centre for University studies in Journalism, offering master's courses in journalism, and granting degrees through the university.[257]

The Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus (Det Jyske Musikkonservatorium) is a conservatoire, established under the auspices of the Danish Ministry of Culture in 1927. In 2010, it merged with the Royal Academy of Music in Aalborg, which was founded in 1930.[258] Under the patronage of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Frederik, it offers graduate level studies in areas such as music teaching, and solo and professional musicianship. VIA University College was established in January 2008 and is one of eight new regional organisations offering bachelor courses of all kinds, throughout the Central Denmark Region. It offers over 50 higher educations, taught in Danish or sometimes in English, with vocational education and it participates in various research and development projects.[259] Aarhus School of Architecture (Arkitektskolen Aarhus) was founded in 1965. Along with the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts of Copenhagen, it is responsible for the education of architects in Denmark. With an enrolment of approximately 900 students, it teaches in five main departments: architecture and aesthetics, urban and landscape, architectonic heritage, design and architectural design.[260] Also of note is KaosPilots and several other higher education centres.



HSC KatExpress 2 in Aarhus harbor

The main railway station in Aarhus is Aarhus Central Station located in the city centre. DSB has connections to destinations throughout Denmark and beyond. Two local railways provide commuter services to Grenaa and Odder.[261] The Aarhus Letbane is a planned tram-train project that will link two railway lines with a new light rail route through the city.[262] Most city bus lines go through the inner city and pass through either Park Allé or Banegårdspladsen (lit.: The Central Station Square) or both.[263] Regional and Inter-city buses terminate at Aarhus Bus Terminal, located 900 metres north-west of Banegårdspladsen, in front of the Radisson SAS Scandinavia hotel at Margrethepladsen.[264] The long-distance buses of linie888 connect Aarhus to other cities in Jutland and Zealand.[265]

Bike parking at the central station.

Ferries administered by Danish ferry company Mols-Linien transports passengers and motorvehicles between Aarhus and Sjællands Odde on Zealand.[266] The ferries comprises HSC KatExpress 1 and HSC KatExpress 2, the world's largest diesel-powered catamarans,[267] and HSC Max Mols. Aarhus Airport, is located on Djursland, 40 km (25 mi) north-east of Aarhus near Tirstrup and provides transport to both Copenhagen and international destinations.[268] The larger Billund Airport is situated 95 km (59 mi) south-west of Aarhus.[269]

There has been much discussion about constructing a new airport closer to Aarhus for many years, but so far, no plans have been realised.[270] In August 2014, the city council officially initiated a process to assert the viability of a new international airport.[271][272] A small seaplane now operates four flights daily between Aarhus harbour and Copenhagen harbour.[273]

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, like caddies in a supermarket. The coin can be retrieved when the bike is returned. Bicycles can also be hired from many shops.[274]


Aarhus is home to Aarhus University Hospital, one of six Danish "Super Hospitals" officially established in 2007 when the regions reformed the Danish healthcare sector.[275] The university hospital is the result of a series of mergers in the 2000s between the former hospitals Skejby Sygehus, the Municipal Hospital, the County Hospital, Marselisborg Hospital and Risskov Psychiatric Hospital. It is today the largest hospital in Denmark with a combined staff of some 10,000 and 1,150 patient beds, across five locations.[276][277] In 2012 construction of Det Nye Universitetshospital (The New University Hospital) began which ending in 2019 will centralize all departments by expanding the former Skejby Sygehus to 410,000 square metres (4,400,000 sq ft) with an additional 50,000 square metres (540,000 sq ft) for a new psychiatric center. The hospital is divided in four clinical centers, a service center and one administrative unit along with twelve research centers.[278][279] It was ranked the best hospital in Denmark in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.[280]

Private hospitals specialized in different areas from plastic surgery to fertility treatments operate in Aarhus as well. Ciconia Aarhus Private Hospital founded in 1984 is a leading Danish fertility clinic and the first of its kind in Denmark. Ciconia has provided for the birth of 6,000 children by artificial insemination and continually conducts research into the field of fertility.[281] Aagaard Clinic, established in 2004, is another private fertility and gynecology clinic which since 2004 has undertaken fertility treatments that has resulted in 1550 births.[282] Aarhus Municipality also offers a number of specialized services in the areas of nutrition, exercise, sex, smoking and drinking, activities for the elderly, health courses and lifestyle.[283]


The headquarters of local newspaper Århus Stiftstidende at the central station.
The Aarhus Søsterhøj TV tower, height 261 m (856 ft)

The first daily newspaper to appear in Aarhus was Århus Stiftstidende, established in 1794 as Aarhuus Stifts Adresse-Contoirs Tidender, with a moderately conservative approach. Once one of Denmark's largest,[284] it was a leading provincial newspaper for a time, 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.[285] The daily newspaper of Jyllandsposten (today known as Jyllands-Posten) was established in 1871 in Aarhus, and takes a generally right-wing editorial approach. With a reputation as a serious news publication, the paper has always included news from Jutland in particular, but 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.[286] Jyllands-Posten publishes JP Aarhus, a section dedicated to news in and around Aarhus, and the free cityguide website of Aarhusportalen (The Aarhus Portal).[287][288] The Copenhagen-based media company of Politiken, also publishes several free local papers once a week in parts of Denmark and Sweden. In Aarhus, they publish a total of five local newspapers; Aarhus Midt, Aarhus Nord, Aarhus Vest, Aarhus Syd and Aarhus Weekend.[289][290]

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 regional television programmes.[291] In 1990, TV 2 established its Jutland headquarters in Randers but moved to Skejby in northern Aarhus in 1999. The station broadcasts regional news and current affairs television and radio programmes. Since 2012, it has run its own TV channel, TV 2 Østjylland.[292] Aarhus has its own local TV channel TVAarhus, transmitting since 1984.[293][294] After an agreement on 1 July 2014, TVAarhus can be watched by 130,000 households in Aarhus, making it the largest cable-transmitted local TV channel in Denmark.[295]

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.[296]

Twin towns and consulates

Aarhus is home to 32 consulates and the city is twinned with seven cities, all co-operating in the spheres of public schools, culture, welfare and commercial interests.[297][298]

Twin towns / sister cities

Notable people

Notes and references

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Further reading

External links

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