Aarhus

Aarhus 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.

Aarhus is at the cultural and economic core of the region and the largest centre for trade, services, industry, and tourism 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.

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 there 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.

Aarhus is known 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.

CountryDenmark
RegionCentral Denmark Region (Midtjylland)
MunicipalityAarhus
Established8th century
City Status15th century
Named forAarhus River mouth
Government
 • TypeMagistrate
 • MayorJacob Bundsgaard (S)
Area
 • Urban91 km  (35 sq mi)
 • Municipal468 km (181 sq mi)
Highest elevation105 m (344 ft)
Lowest elevation0 m (0 ft)
Population (1 January 2020)
 • RankDenmark: 2nd
 • Urban280,534
 • Urban density2,854/km (7,390/sq mi)
 • Municipal349,983
 • Municipal density745/km (1,930/sq mi)
Demonym(s)Aarhusianer
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code8000, 8200, 8210, 8220, 8230
Area code(s)(+45) 8

Geography

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.

Climate

Aarhus has a temperate oceanic climate and the weather is constantly influenced by major weather systems from all four ordinal directions, resulting 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 frost and occasional snow, 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.

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

Politics and administration

Aarhus is the seat of Aarhus Municipality, and Aarhus City Council (Aarhus Byråd) is also the municipal government with headquarters in Aarhus City Hall. The Mayor of Aarhus since 2010 is Jacob Bundsgaard of the Social Democrats.

Municipal elections are held every fourth year on the third Tuesday of November with the next election in 2021. 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.

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. It is a municipal self-governing port with independent finances. Grain is the principal export, while feedstuffs, stone, cement and coal are among the chief imports.

Tourism

The ARoS Art Museum, the Old Town Museum and Tivoli Friheden are among Denmark’s top tourist attractions. 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. Many visitors arrive on cruise ships: in 2012, 18 vessels visited the port with over 38,000 passengers.

There are more than 30 tourist information spots across the city. Some of them are staffed, while others are online, publicly accessible touchscreens. The official tourist information service in Aarhus is organised under VisitAarhus, a corporate foundation initiated in 1994 by Aarhus Municipality and local commercial interest organisations.

Research parks

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 organisation is owned partly by Aarhus University and private investors and aims to foster close relationships between public institutions and startup companies. 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 centre for knowledge is Agro Food Park in Skejby, established to facilitate co-operation between companies and public institutions working within food science and agriculture. In January 2017 Arla Foods will open the global innovation centre Arla Nativa in Agro Food Park and in 2018 Aarhus University is moving the Danish Centre for Food and Agriculture there as well.

Landmarks

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.

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.

Tivoli Friheden (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. The City Hall was designed by Arne Jacobsen and Erik Møller in a modern Functionalist style.

Culture

Aarhus is home to many annual cultural events and festivals, museums, theatres, and sport events of both national and international importance, 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.

Since 1938, Aarhus has marketed itself as Smilets by (City of smiles) which has become both an informal moniker and official slogan.

Museums

Aarhus has a range of museums, including two of the largest in the country, measured by the number of paying guests, 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.

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 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.

Kvindemuseet, the Women’s Museum, from 1984 contains collections of the lives and works of women in Danish cultural history.

The Occupation Museum presents exhibits illustrating the German occupation of the city during the Second World War; 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; and the Steno Museum is a museum of the history of science and medicine with a planetarium.

Kunsthal Aarhus hosts exhibitions of contemporary art including painting, sculpture, photography, performance art, film and video. Strictly speaking it is not a museum but an arts centre, and one of the oldest in Europe, built and founded in 1917.

Events and festivals

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.

Aarhus Festuge 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.

There are numerous music festivals; the eight-day Aarhus Jazz Festival features jazz in many venues across the city. It was founded in 1988 and usually takes place in July every year, occasionally August or September. 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 relatively 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. 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.

International Living Theatre (ILT) is a bi-annual festival, established in 2009, 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, while at the same time attracting thespians and stage art interested people from both Aarhus and Europe at large. LiteratureXchange is a new annual festival from 2018, focused on literature from around the world as well as regional talents. The city actively promotes its gay and lesbian community and celebrates the annual Aarhus Pride gay pride festival while Aarhus Festuge usually includes exhibits, concerts and events designed for the LGBT communities.

The annual lighting of the Christmas lights on the Salling department store in Søndergade has also become an attraction in recent times, packing the pedestrianised city centre with thousands of revellers. Significant dates such as Saint Lucy’s Day, Sankt Hans (Saint John’s Eve) and Fastelavn are traditionally celebrated with numerous events across the city.

Food, drink and nightlife

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.

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. In Aarhus, New Nordic can 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 in Frederiksbjerg. Aarhus and Central Denmark Region was selected as European Region of Gastronomy in 2017.

Appraised high-end restaurants serving international gourmet cuisine include Frederikshøj, Substans, Gastromé, Det Glade Vanvid, Nordisk Spisehus, Restaurant Varna, Restaurant ET, Gäst, Brasserie Belli, Møf and Pondus, all considered among the best places to eat in Denmark.

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.

The city centre is packed with cafés, especially along the river and the Latin quarter. Some of them also include an evening restaurant, such as Café Casablanca, Café Carlton, Café Cross and Gyngen.

Aarhus has a robust and diverse nightlife. The action tends to concentrate in the inner city, with the pedestrianised riverside, 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.

A few nightlife spots are aimed at gays and lesbians specifically, including Gbar (nightclub) and Café Sappho.

Contact

Aarhus Kommune Aarhus Kommune Rådhuset
email
address
Rådhuspladsen 2 8000 Aarhus C
phone
89 40 20 00