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The old Town Hall on the square in Randers with a statue of Niels Ebbesen in front.
The old Town Hall on the square in Randers with a statue of Niels Ebbesen in front.
Official seal of Randers
Randers is located in Denmark
Randers Denmark
Coordinates: 56°27′25″N 10°02′20″E / 56.457°N 10.039°E / 56.457; 10.039Coordinates: 56°27′25″N 10°02′20″E / 56.457°N 10.039°E / 56.457; 10.039
Country Denmark
Region Central Denmark (Østjylland)
Municipality Randers
 • Mayor Claus Omann Jensen
 • Total 800.14 km2 (308.94 sq mi)
Elevation 56 m (184 ft)
Population (2014)
 • Total 61,163
 • Density 76/km2 (200/sq mi)
Time zone Central Europe Time (UTC+1)
Postal code 8900, 8920, 8930, 8940, 8960
Area code(s) (+45) 8
Website www.randers.dk

Randers (Danish pronunciation: [ˈʁɑnɐs]) is a city in Randers Municipality, Central Denmark Region) on the Jutland peninsula. It is Denmark's sixth-largest city, with a population of 61,163 (1 January 2014).[1] Randers is the municipality's main town and the site of its municipal council. The municipality is also a part of the East Jutland metropolitan area, which has 1.2 million inhabitants.[2] By road it is 38.5 kilometres (23.9 mi) north of Aarhus, 43.8 kilometres (27.2 mi) east of Viborg, and 224 kilometres (139 mi) northwest of Copenhagen.

Randers became a thriving market town in medieval times, and many of its 15th-century half-timbered houses remain today, as does St Martin's Church, also from that period. Trade by sea was facilitated through the Gudenå River, entering Randers Fjord. The main tourist attraction is Randers Tropical Zoo thanks to its artificial rainforest, the largest in Northern Europe, its 350 varieties of plant and over 175 species of animals. The city's football team, Randers FC, play their homes games at the AutoC Park Randers, and are in Denmark's first league, the Superligaen. The town is also home to Randers rugby union club and Jutland RLFC, a rugby league team.



The oldest forms of the town's name appear on coins minted from the times of King Canute (1080–86) until those of Svend Grathe (1146–57). The coins bear the names Ranrosia, Ransias, Radrusia, Rand and Randrusia.[3] Ancient written records include the Latin Randrusium (Saxo Grammaticus, c. 1200),[4] Icelandic Randrosi (Snorri Sturluson's Heimskringla, 1230), and Rondrus, Randrøs (Valdemar's Census Book, 1231). Other early forms provide Randersborg and Randershusen. The name appears to stem from Rand (hillside) and Aros (river mouth) and probably means "town on the hillside by the river mouth". The modern form Randers was first came into use at the end of the 17th century.[5]

Early history[edit]

Randers was formally established around the 12th century, but traces of activity date back to Viking times. Canute IV of Denmark (ca. 1043–1086), also known as Canute the Saint and Canute the Holy, and as patron saint of Denmark, minted coins in the town.[6] The peasants of Randers who rose up against him and his plans to attack England and its ruler, William the Conqueror, assembled in this town. Their uprising led to the death of Canute.[7]

Niels Ebbesen statue in front of the old Town Hall in Randers

A chronicle written at Essenbæk Abbey tells of a fire that ravaged the city. The city was destroyed and rebuilt three times in the 13th century. In 1246, it was burned down by Abel of Denmark's troops during the civil uprising against Eric IV of Denmark. On a street in the town center is the house where, according to legend, Danish nobleman and national hero Niels Ebbesen killed Count Richard (Gerhard) III of Holstein on 1 April 1340, during the Kingless Times, when the entire country was pledged to German counts. This action led to further insurrection against the Germans. Ebbesen died in a large battle at Skanderborg Castle in December 1340.[8] A statue to Ebbesen stands in front of Randers' Town Hall today.

When King Valdemar IV of Denmark (Valdemar Atterdag) tried to assemble a government in 1350 after the mortgaging to the Holsteiners, the town was further reinforced with protection, and was often named as Randershus ("Randers Fortress"). This fortification was captured by dissatisfied nobility in 1357. In 1359 Valdemar attacked the captured city with the strength of all of his forces.[9] During medieval times the city prospered as a market town.[10]

Middle Ages to present[edit]

A typical half-timbered house in Randers

Randers was granted privileges as a market town in 1302, creating a significant amount of trade. It prospered in the 15th and 16th centuries trading both nationally and overseas thanks to its harbour and cargo shipping maintained by competent craftsmen. Salmon fishing also contributed to the local economy.[11]

The town was fortified through much of the Middle Ages. Today, however, the only sign of defensive walls is their existence in street names. These streets follow a circular path, presumably following the location of the historic walls. Street names include Østervold ("Eastern Defense Wall"), Nørreport ("Northern Gate"), Vestervold ("Western Defense Wall"), and Lille Voldgade ("Little Defense Wall Street").

In 1534 a farmers' uprising tried to storm the town unsuccessfully; it was part of wider regional peasant unrest affecting the Jutland region the same year, leading to the death of some 2000 by the sword in Aalborg alone.[12] Massive moats were set up around the town under the rule of King Christian III (1536–1559). The town was already known for its glove-making in the Middle Ages but at the beginning of the 18th century the industry really prospered. During the second half of the 17th century, the town suffered not only from the Swedish wars but experienced the plague and extensive fires. From the mid-17th century, the economy began to thrive once more, the harbour was extended bringing an increase in shipping. By the end of the 18th century, it had become Jutland's largest town with 4,500 inhabitants.[11]

During its peak there were almost 170 merchants' estates in the area, and a sizeable navy that sailed around the world. Some of these old half-timbered estates and manor homes can still be seen in the town. Randers is known as Crown Jutland (Kronjylland) and its inhabitants as Crown Jutlanders (Kronjyde), probably due to its large estates owned by the monarchy. It was Denmark's poets who first started to use the term Kronjyde in the mid-18th century.[13] N. F. S. Grundtvig (1783–1872) and Hans Christian Andersen (1805–1875), and especially Nobel Prize laureate Henrik Pontoppidan (1857–1943), used the term. The population in 1880 was 13,457.

Geography and climate[edit]

Map of Randers (1900)
The Guden River at Randers

Randers, Denmark's only natural river harbour, is on the banks of the Guden River (Gudenå), about 6 miles (10 km) above its mouth in Randers Fjord.[13] By road it is 38.5 kilometres (23.9 mi) north of Aarhus, 43.8 kilometres (27.2 mi) east of Viborg, 80.2 kilometres (49.8 mi) south of Aalborg and 224 kilometres (139 mi) northwest of Copenhagen.[14] There are several wooded areas in Randers, including Skovbakken, to the northeast of the centre, the smaller Tøjhushaven to the immediate southeast of this, to the north of the harbour area, and Ladegårdsbækken, a narrow stretch of woodland to the east of the hospital. Dronningborg Skov, in the hamlet of Dronningborg, is located in the northeastern suburbs of the city, and Henriettelund lies in the southwestern suburb of Vorup.[14]

Suburbs of Randers include Dronningborg, Helsted, Kristrup, Neder Hornbæk, Over Hornbæk, Paderup, Romalt, and Vorup. The wider municipality covers an area of 748.21 square kilometres (288.89 sq mi). Settlements include Albæk, Asferg, Assentoft, Dalbyover, Fårup, Gassum, Gimming, Gjerlev, Hald, Harridslev, Haslund, Havndal, Helstrup, Hørning, Langå, Lem, Linde, Mejlby, Mellerup, Råsted, Spentrup, Stevnstrup, Sønderbæk, Tvede, Tånum, Udbyhøj Vasehuse, Uggelhuse, Værum, Ålum, Øster Bjerregrav, and Øster Tørslev.[14]

Climate in this area has mild differences between highs and lows, and there is adequate rainfall year round. The Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is "Cfb" (Marine West Coast Climate/Oceanic climate).[15]


A vast agricultural area, and good transportation by land and by water, helped make Randers a dynamic center for trade and commerce. This location has had great significance for trade by sea. Barges on the Guden River and the Northern River (Nørreå) transported goods into Randers from Silkeborg and Viborg for export. In return, items were imported.

Randers harbour

According to "The Popular Encyclopedia; or, Conversations Lexicon", Blackie & Son c 1890, it contained at that time an arsenal, a classical school with six professors, and had several industrial establishments, including manufacturers of gloves, for which it had long been famous. The town was also known for salmon, rope, and pretty women. The harbour near the town had only 7 12 feet (2.3 m) of water, but there was a good shipyard; and at some distance below, at the mouth of the fjord, there was another harbour with 9 to 10 feet (3.0 m) water, and roads with good anchorage in 4 to 5 fathoms (24 to 30 ft; 7 to 9 m). Randers was important militarily, and could encamp from 10,000 to 15,000 men in the town and its neighbourhood, in a position which could not easily be overrun.

Hotel Randers contains the Cafe Mathiesen, with black and white decor which evokes the art deco era. [16] The Niels Ebbesens Spisehus restaurant serves Danish cuisine such as herring or pepper steak (peberbøf) is situated in a red three-storey, half-timbered building dated to 1643. The Tante Olga club on Storegade contains a bar and hosts live music, often jazz. [16]

Notable landmarks[edit]

Randers Tropical Zoo, Randers's top tourist attraction,[17] is Northern Europe's largest artificial rainforest, featuring about 350 different kinds of plants and more than 175 species of animals, many of which roam free under its three geodesic domes: the South America Dome, the Africa Dome, and the Asia Dome. The zoo is Randers's top tourist attraction. Additionally there are areas called "The Snake Garden" and the Aquarium. The organisation has been involved in the restoration of local wetlands in Vorup Meadow (Vorup Enge), a large nearby area on the southwestern side of the Guden River. Also of note is Kejsergården and Underværket, an innovative multi-ethnic business and cultural centre.

Churches and houses[edit]

St Martin's Church dates to the 15th Century.[10] Helligåndshuset ("House of the Holy Spirit") once part of a monastery also dates to the 15th century as does Paaskesønnernes, a three-storey red brick house.[10] Clausholm Castle, located some 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) southeast of Randers is one of Denmark's finest Baroque buildings.


Randers holds the Randers Art Museum, Museum of Cultural History, Danish Design Museum and Graceland Randers. The Randers Art Museum is also home to Randers Library, which consists of a main library in this location, 2 local libraries in the municipality of Randers, 1 mobile library and a local library in Langå.


The city's major football team, Randers FC ("Randers Football Club (RFC)"), plays in Denmark's top division, Superligaen. Its home ground is the AutoC Park Randers.

The town is also home to Randers rugby union club and Jutland RLFC, a rugby league team.


The city is served by Regionshospitalet Randers.

External images
Google Street View of Regionshospitalet Randers



Main article: Randers station
Front facade of Randers station.

Randers is served by Randers railway station. It is located on the Aarhus-Aalborg railway line and offers direct InterCity services to Copenhagen and Frederikshavn and regional train services to Aarhus and Aalborg.

Notable people[edit]

Twin towns[edit]

See also[edit]



This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Some information extracted from "The Popular Encyclopedia; or, Conversations Lexicon", Blackie & Son c. 1890.

  1. ^ BEF44: Population 1st January, by urban areas database from Statistics Denmark
  2. ^ "Vision Østjylland: Styregruppen for Projekt Byudvikling i Østjylland" (PDF) (in Danish). 20 Aug 2008. 
  3. ^ "Byens Navn" (in Danish). Randrusium. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  4. ^ "Saxo Grammaticus: Gesta Danorum: Dan 14.19.5 (p. 408,10 )" (in Latin). Det Kongelige Bibliotek. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  5. ^ Flemming Elimar Jensen. "Bynavne, områdenavne og deres oprindelse Samt om familienavne & fornavne" (in Danish). MiddelalderInfo. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  6. ^ Fodor 1964, p. 163.
  7. ^ Christiansen 1980, p. 254.
  8. ^ "Niels Ebbesen" (in Danish). Danmarkshistorien.dk. Retrieved 6 August 2014. 
  9. ^ Pierer 1858, p. 705.
  10. ^ a b c Sale 2007, p. 68.
  11. ^ a b "Randers: Byhistorie" (in Danish). Dansk Center for Byhistorie. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  12. ^ Murray 1858, p. 87.
  13. ^ a b "Randers, Denmark". Danishnet.com. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  14. ^ a b c Google (6 August 2014). "Randers" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 6 August 2014. 
  15. ^ "Randers". Weatherbase.com. Retrieved 6 August 2014. 
  16. ^ a b Bain & Bonetto 2012, p. 450.
  17. ^ Bain, Booth & Parnell 2008, p. 284.

External links[edit]