Esbjerg is a seaport town and seat of Esbjerg Municipality on the west coast of the Jutland peninsula in southwest Denmark. It is the fifth-largest city in Denmark, and the largest in West Jutland.

RegionSouthern Denmark (Syddanmark)
City charter1899
Current municipality1 January 2007
 • MayorJesper Frost Rasmussen
 • Urban43.4 km  (16.8 sq mi)
Elevation11 m (36 ft)
Population (1 January 2020)
 • Urban72,037
 • Urban density1,700/km  (4,300/sq mi)
 • Municipal115,748
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code6700-6715
Area code(s)(+45) 7

Before a decision was made to establish a harbour (now the second largest in Denmark) at Esbjerg in 1868, the area consisted of only a few farms. Esbjerg developed quickly with the population rising to 13,000 by 1901 and 70,000 by 1970. In addition to its fishing and shipping activities, it also became an important centre for agricultural exports. Over the years, many of the city’s visitors have arrived by ferry from Harwich, Essex, England, but this service closed in September 2014 having run since 1875. The harbour facilities are being expanded to answer the needs of the wind-turbine industry and container shipping traffic. Esbjerg is served by Esbjerg Airport with flights to Aberdeen, Scotland and Stavanger, Norway.

The town has several notable museums and entertainment venues, including Esbjerg Art Museum, Esbjerg Museum and the privately owned Fisheries and Maritime Museum. The Esbjerg Performing Arts Centre was completed in 1997 to designs by Jan and Jørn Utzon. When approached by sea, the Man Meets the Sea is one of the prominent monuments, consisting of four 9-metre-tall (27 feet) white-coloured men, overlooking Sædding Beach. The sculpture was designed by Svend Wiig Hansen and installed in 1995. It hosts branches of the University of Southern Denmark and Aalborg University, Esbjerg is increasingly recognized for its university facilities and sporting activities. It is home to the Danish football club Esbjerg fB, who play their home matches at Blue Water Arena, and also has an ice hockey division called Esbjerg Elite Ishockey, which plays at the Granly Hockey Arena.


The Courthouse on the main square was designed by Hans Christian Amberg and completed in 1892 when the town had only 4,000 inhabitants. The red-brick building with stepped gables, round-arched windows and a tower reaching 30 m (98 ft) in height resembles a medieval castle. After comprehensive renovation work in 2010, it is now used as a venue for weddings and houses the tourist office.

Man Meets the Sea (Mennesket ved Havet) is a monument of four 9-metre-tall (27 feet) white-coloured men located to the west of Esbjerg, overlooking Sædding Beach. One of the area’s major tourist attractions, the sculpture was designed by Svend Wiig Hansen and installed on 28 October 1995. It was funded by the Esbjerg Municipality authorities, the Kunstfond arts foundation and private sponsors to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the municipality in 1994. The monument can be seen by ferry leaving or entering Esbjerg.

The water tower from 1895 was designed by Christian Hjerrild Clausen who had been inspired by Nuremberg’s medieval Nassauer Haus. Standing at the top of a cliff, it commands excellent views of the city and the harbour from its platform which is open to the public. The imposing old Courthouse Building on the central square with its tall tower and stepped gables has recently been fully renovated.[36] A bronze equestrian statue of Christian IX, the founder of Esbjerg, stands at the centre of the square.

The largest hotel in Esbjerg is Hotel Britannia. Other hotels in the city center includes Cabinn and Hotel Ansgar in Skolegade. Danhostel Esbjerg in a former high school is located about 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) to the northwest of the city along Gammel Vardevej near sports facilities. An equivalent distance North are hotel and conference facilities at ECH Park. Most of the restaurants in Esbjerg are to the east of Torvet. Of particular note are Sand’s Restaurant which serves Danish cuisine such as smørrebrød, meatballs, smoked eels and the fried beef patty pariserbof, and the Paddy Go Easy Irish pub near the main square.[38] Housed in a listed building on the main square, Dronning Louise serves everything from full meals to sandwiches and occasionally offers live music.

Museums and theatres

The municipality has a number of museums, libraries and music and drama venues. The Esbjerg Performing Arts Centre (Musikhuset Esbjerg) is a complex with two auditoriums. Its concert hall, with seating for over 1,100, can also be adapted for theatrical productions. Completed in 1997 to designs by Jan Utzon and his father, it hosts classical concerts, opera, family shows and drama productions. Located in the City Park close to the harbour, it forms part of a complex which includes the Esbjerg Art Museum (Esbjerg Kunstmuseum) displaying works from artists including Asger Jorn. The museum also regularly hosts temporary international exhibitions.

The privately owned Fisheries and Maritime Museum, which opened in 1968, consists of a saltwater aquarium and a seal tank as well as indoor and outdoor exhibitions on Danish fisheries and shipping.

Esbjerg Museum in the city centre has permanent collections covering the history of the city and the surrounding region. It includes displays from the Iron Age and the Viking Period as well as a large exhibition of amber.

The Printing Museum traces the history of the art of printing from the beginning of the 20th century until it was replaced by modern technology. The collection includes a variety of machines and equipment used to print books and newspapers, mainly from Germany and Denmark.

The Lightship Museum (Museumsfyrskib) in the harbour is open to the public on board the Horns Rev lightship. Dating from 1912, the Horns Rev, also known as Motorfyrskibet Nr. I, is the world’s oldest and best preserved motor lightship. It houses an impressive exhibition of life and work on board


Torvegade 74 6700 Esbjerg