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This article is about the city in Denmark. For the convention on public participation, see Silkeborg Convention. For the meteorite, see Aarhus (meteorite).
Skyline of Silkeborg
Skyline of Silkeborg
Silkeborg is located in Denmark
Location in Denmark
Coordinates: 56°11′00″N 9°33′06″E / 56.18333°N 9.55167°E / 56.18333; 9.55167Coordinates: 56°11′00″N 9°33′06″E / 56.18333°N 9.55167°E / 56.18333; 9.55167
Country Denmark
Region Central Denmark (Midtjylland)
Municipality Silkeborg
 • City 864.89 km2 (333.94 sq mi)
Elevation 31 m (102 ft)
Population (2014)
 • City 43,158
 • Density 50/km2 (130/sq mi)
 • Urban 90,016
Time zone Central Europe Time (UTC+1)
Postal code 8600
Area code(s) (+45) 89
Website Silkeborg Kommune

Silkeborg (Danish pronunciation: [ˈselɡ̊əˌb̥ɒːˀ]) is a Danish city with a population of 43,158 (1 January 2014).[1] Silkeborg is the seat of the council of Silkeborg municipality with 90,016 inhabitants (2015) and is also part of the East Jutland metropolitan area, with 1.2 million inhabitants.[2]

Silkeborg is located in the middle of the Jutlandic peninsula, slightly west of the geographical centre of Denmark. The city is situated at the Gudenå River in the hilly and lush landscape of Søhøjlandet, surrounded by Denmark’s largest forest district and a great number of lakes. The lakes between Silkeborg and Ry that are linked by the Gudenå, are known collectively as Silkeborgsøerne (the Silkeborg lakes).[3]

Silkeborg was founded in 1844, when Michael Drewsen started a paper mill at the spot next to the river. The city is divided north and south by the lake of Silkeborg Langsø, which at the eastern side of the city, resolves into the Gudenå River.


Although Silkeborg was not formally founded until 1844, the history of the city can be traced back to the 15th century.[4] At this time a castle was located at an islet in the lake of Silkeborg, and it was probably due to this castle that the city name originated, as Silkeborg in English can be translated into ‘silk castle’. The castle does not exist today but excavations can be seen on the castle islet about 1 km from the town square.

In 1844 the two paper manufacturing brothers Christian and Michael Drewsen of the corporation Drewsen og Sønner moved from Copenhagen to Jutland to start a paper mill. Next to the Gudenå River, close to the spot of the former Silkeborg castle, the brothers opened Silkeborg Papirfabrik (Silkeborg Paper mill), as the idea was to use the water power as energy source, as a resource for paper production, and the river as a transport route. The youngest brother, Michael Drewsen, was responsible for the daily management of the mill, and he was later to be acknowledged as the founder of the city. Today a statue of Michael Drewsen can be seen in front of the old city hall at the town square of Silkeborg.

During the German occupation of Denmark the former sanatorium Silkeborg Bad (Silkeborg Baths) was turned into Danish headquarters for the Gestapo.[5] Today a lot of bunkers can be seen in this area of the city and in the nearby forest. One of them is now a museum and is open for visitors. In 1944, the priest and playwright Kaj Munk was shot by the Gestapo near Silkeborg.


Silkeborg is located in region known as Søhøjlandet (lit.: the lake-highland) in mid-eastern Jutland. The surroundings of Silkeborg, are regarded among the most beautiful places in Denmark. The landscape is dominated by lakes, extensive woodlands (like the Silkeborg Forests) and some of the highest points in Denmark, including Himmelbjerget. It is also one of the most expensive areas to live in, and the neighbouring village of Sejs is known for its large mansions and villas at the lakeside of Brassø.


For many years the paper mill (Silkeborg Paprfabrik) was the most prominent business in the city, but in the 1990s the paper mill was experiencing financial difficulties.[6] In 1993 it was bought by the German corporation Drewsen Spezialpapiere but in 2000 it was decided to close the mill, and instead the major industrial area close to the city center was turned into a new district. A renovation and reconstruction of the buildings made room for a hotel, a cinema, a concert hall, restaurants and cafés. The complex is also the city’s largest commercial lease and a great number of new apartment buildings have also been constructed at the site.

The city is notable for the large number of car dealerships, and the economically significant presence of the headquarters of Jyske Bank, Denmark's third largest bank.[7]

Main sights[edit]

  • Silkeborg Museum: The oldest preserved building in the city is Silkeborg Manor from 1767. This building is today Silkeborg Museum where you can see the naturally mummified corpse of the Tollund man, who lived during the 4th century BC.[8]
  • City square: The old city square (Torvet) is the centre of Silkeborg and is together with the surrounding streets a pedestrian area. The city square is surrounded by the Hotel Dania (Silkeborgs oldest hotel, founded in 1848).[9] the Old Town Hall and the city church (Silkeborg Kirke). On the city square there are two fountains and the bronze statue of Michael Drewsen, the founder of Silkeborg. On Saturdays the weekly market is located here.
  • Hjejlen: The world’s oldest steamboat[10] Hjejlen is one of the tour boats that take off from the Silkeborg harbor.
  • Aqua: The freshwater aquarium Aqua (distinct from the Danish pop group) is one of the region’s best visited sights. In the indoor aquarium and outdoor animal park, fish and animals of the Danish nature can be examined.[11] The exhibited animals are fish, birds, otters, beavers and raccoons.
  • Museum Jorn: Silkeborg was the home city of COBRA painter Asger Jorn, and many of his most famous paintings can be seen the Museum Jorn, Silkeborg.[12]
  • Silkeborg Bad: The former sanatorium, Silkeborg Bad served as headquarters for the Nazi German Gestapo during WWII. Today a Bunker Museum is located in the beautiful park and in the old sanatorium buildings houses today an art museum. Many of the museums sculptures can also be seen in the park for free. The natural spring, Arnakkekilden, is located in the park next to the lake Ørnsø. Danish brewery Carlsberg has used the water for bottled spring water for many years.[13]
Lake Ørnsø
  • Himmelbjerget: The third highest point in Denmark is called Himmelbjerget and is not exactly located in the city, in fact not even in Silkeborg County. However, it remains a sight closely linked to the city as tour boats all summer goes from the harbor of Silkeborg to the hills of Himmelbjerget.
  • The lake fountains: The fountains in Silkeborg Langsø are among the largest in northern Europe[14] and are a landmark of the city and the lakes. The fountains are located in the lake just outside the city hall and were constructed in 1970. The fountains have a magnificent light show and after dark the water cascades changes color. The change in color has a program of 30–40 minutes.
  • Indelukket: The marina and recreation area Indelukket is located close to Museum Jorn, and is a well attended area during the summer. There is a park, a restaurant and Denmark’s oldest miniature golf course.[15]

Yearly events[edit]

  • The SCC country music festival has been an annual event since 1986. The festival takes place in Indelukket the second weekend of August.[16]
  • Riverboat Jazz Festival takes place every year in the last weekend of June. The festival is not connected to a single location in Silkeborg but instead various stages can be found around the city most prominently at the harbor and the city square.[17]
  • Hede Rytmer (English: Hot rhythms) is an annual rock and pop festival held in Indelukket in the beginning of the summer. The playing acts are often famous Danish bands, but occasionally also international names. In 2011 Boney M., 10CC and The Orchestra, the former Electric Light Orchestra played at the 3-day festival.[18]
  • Silkeborg Reggae Festival, also known as Raggapak, was a reggae festival.[19]


Since 1899 Silkeborg has been hosting an event called "Ildfestregatta", which means "fire party regatta".[20] Currently this event is held every third year, and the last event was held on 13–16 August 2014. During the regatta the city streets are closed at night and you can experience live music all over town as well as different booths and an amusement park. The houses next to the Gudenå River are decorated with colored lamps and so are the many boats that entering the small port of Silkeborg.

Hjejlen ("The Golden Plover") is a historic steamboat that sails from Silkeborg to Himmelbjerget. In the background can be seen the city's former paper mills, now home to the Radisson-SAS hotel and shops.

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 0:00 p.m. there is an unofficial Danish championship in fireworks, a competition on having the prettiest show. Each of the days a different company does a firework show and the winner is announced Saturday. Saturday evening the previous winner from three years before is doing a major firework show sponsored by Silkeborg Municipality. Today the fireworks are fired from a huge raft on the lake of Silkeborg just next to the town hall, but earlier the show was done from the roof of the old paper mill.


The two most popular sports in Silkeborg are football and handball:

  • The city’s professional football team, Silkeborg IF, plays in the second highest Danish league. The team has won the league trophy once in 1994, the Danish cup in 2001 and the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 1997. Silkeborg IF plays its home matches at Silkeborg Stadion, now known as Mascot Park, as the company Mascot, who produces working clothes, has bought the rights for the stadium name. The stadium is located close to the city center and has a capacity of 10.000 people.
  • Silkeborg’s professional handball team is BSV, which is a connection of the towns Bjerringbro, Silkeborg and the small town Voel. The team is a part of the Danish Handball League, and plays its home matches at Jysk Arena, previously known Silkeborg Hallerne, a sports centre northeast of the city centre. The ladies handball team Silkeborg-Voel usually plays its home matches in Voel Hallerne about 10 km from Silkeborg.
  • The motor racing circuit Jyllands-Ringen is located about 5 km from the city centre in the town area Resenbro. The circuit is 2.3 km long and is a part of the DTC, (Danish Touringcar Championship) and the Scandinavian Touring Cap Championship.
  • Silkeborg IF Cykling is a cycling club based in Silkeborg. In 2004 the club created an élite amateur team Team Designa Køkken. Its biggest accomplishment came in 2008 when rider Jakob Fuglsang won Danmark Rundt aka the Tour of Denmark.
  • Silkeborg has a ski resort, with a track of nylon so that anyone can enjoy going down the slopes all year round, and there is natural snow in winter. The ski resort is located in Gjern about 15 km from downtown Silkeborg.[21]


Silkeborg is served by two conspicuous media; a newspaper and a radio station. The oldest of them is the daily newspaper Midtjyllands Avis founded in 1857[22] as Silkeborg Avis. It is the sixth oldest newspaper in Denmark and was founded when the town of Silkeborg had only existed for 11 years. In many years the paper had its own paper press, but today it is printing at Jyllands-Postens facilities.

Today Midtjyllands Avis is owned by the concern Silkeborg Avis A/S. This concern is also the joint owner of the radio station Radio 1 (formerly known as Radio Silkeborg), a commercial radio station broadcasting online and on airwaves in the middle of Jutland. The radio station has focus on popular music and local news. The sister station Silkeborg Guld focuses on older Danish and English music only interrupted by commercials. The newspaper and the radio station are located at Papirfabrikken.

On 16 August 2013 it was announced that Radio Silkeborg was handed over to the Radio ABC Group. As a consequence five employees were let off but the transmission would continue on the same frequency.[23]


  • Road Silkeborg is connected by highways to Aarhus, Herning, Horsens, Randers and Viborg, and currently a new motorway is under construction that will connect Silkeborg to Aarhus and Herning. Regional busses to the surrounding cities are located at the train station. The local transport consists of 12 local bus routes serving the downtown area and suburbs.
  • Rail The main station, Silkeborg Station, is served by the railway line between Aarhus and Herning, which is currently operated by Arriva Danmark, The former railway links to Horsens and Langå were closed in the 1960s, leaving the city connected to only east- and westbound rail traffic.
  • Water The Gudenå River was for many years an important transport link for passengers and cargo, but today passenger transport along the river is only available for tourists during the summer.
  • Airport Karup Airport is the closest airport, located 40 km North West of Silkeborg. The airport offers several daily flights to the Danish capital Copenhagen.

Notable people[edit]

Notable mentions in popular culture[edit]

  • In the 1973 film The Day of the Jackal, the main character dons a number of aliases throughout the story. One of them is a Danish schoolteacher named Per Lundqvist, who claims to hail from the town of Silkeborg.
  • In the opening episode of season six of Parks and Recreation Heidi Klum's character receives an award for women in government, representing Silkeborg.
  • Inspired by an Asger Jorn print in a band member's home in Dublin, Ireland, Silkeborg is now also the name of an Irish band[24]

Friendship cities[edit]


  1. ^ BEF44: Population 1.January by urban areas database from Statistics Denmark
  2. ^ BLST Archived 25 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ "Silkeborgsøerne". WikiSilkeborg (in Danish). Silkeborg Arkiv. Retrieved 26 July 2015. 
  4. ^ The history of Silkeborg,, Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  5. ^ [1], Hverdagen under besættelsen, Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  6. ^ [2], Silkeborg Papirfabrik, Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  7. ^ [3], About Jyske Bank, Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  8. ^ [4], Silkeborg Museum, Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  9. ^ [5], Hotel Dania, Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  10. ^ [6], Hjejlen - Oldest steam boat in the world, Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  11. ^ [7], Aqua - main page, Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  12. ^ [8], Museum Jorn - main page, Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  13. ^ [9], About Arnakkekilden at silkeborg bad, Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  14. ^ [10], Silkeborg Langsø fountains, Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  15. ^ [11], Story of Indelukkets minigolf, Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  16. ^ SCC official site, Silkeborg country music festival, Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  17. ^ Riverboat Jazz Festival official site, Riverboat in Silkeborg, Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  18. ^ Hede Rytmer 2011, Midtjyllands Avis, Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  19. ^ Official website
  20. ^ [12], Gegatta, Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  21. ^ Skiing in Denmark, Skiurlaub-Infos, Retrieved 11 October 2008.
  22. ^ "Other Activities". JP/Politikens Hus. Retrieved 15 February 2015. 
  23. ^ Radio Silkeborg closes, Retrieved 17 November 2013.
  24. ^ Silkeborg

External links[edit]