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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
Location of Aarhus in the European Union and Denmark
Location of Aarhus in the European Union and Denmark
Country  Kingdom of Denmark
Region Central Jutland (Midtjylland)
Municipality Aarhus
First mention 8th century
City Status 15th century
Named for Aarhus River delta
 • 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 (2014)[2]
 • Urban 261,570
 • Urban density 2,854/km2 (7,390/sq mi)
 • Municipal 326,676
 • Municipal density 698/km2 (1,810/sq mi)
 • LUZ 845,971
Demonym(s) Aarhusianer
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 8000, 8200, 8210
Area code(s) (+45) 8
Website Official website

Aarhus or Århus (Danish pronunciation: ) 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' inner urban area has 261,570 inhabitants (1 January 2015), the municipal population is 326,676 and Eurostat calculates 845,971 inhabitants for the larger urban zone.

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 there from at least 948. The city was founded on the northern shores of a fjord at a natural coastal 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 is the 92nd largest in the European Union,[3] It is also a top 100 conference city in the World.[4] It 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 youngest city in the country, with students (55.000) making up 13% of the population, Aarhus is also one of the fastest growing with an average growth of 4,000 people per annum since 2010. The city is a central part of the East Jutland metropolitan area, the second largest area of population (1.26 million people) and economic growth in Denmark.

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.


  • Etymology 1
  • History 2
    • Early history 2.1
    • Middle Ages 2.2
    • Industrialization 2.3
    • Second World War 2.4
    • Post-war years 2.5
  • Geography 3
    • Topography 3.1
    • Climate 3.2
  • Politics and administration 4
    • Districts and subdivisions 4.1
    • Environmental planning 4.2
  • Demographics 5
  • Economy 6
    • Port of Aarhus 6.1
    • Tourism 6.2
    • Research parks 6.3
  • Cityscape 7
    • Landmarks 7.1
  • Culture 8
    • Museums 8.1
    • Libraries and community centers 8.2
    • Performing arts 8.3
    • Events and festivals 8.4
    • Recreation and parks 8.5
    • Cuisine 8.6
  • Sports 9
  • Education 10
  • Infrastructure 11
    • Transport 11.1
    • Healthcare 11.2
  • Media 12
  • Twin towns and consulates 13
  • Notable people 14
  • Notes and references 15
  • Further reading 16
  • External links 17


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 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]


Reconstruction of an early church at Moesgaard Museum.

Early history

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 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 center. 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 Hardradas 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]

Aarhus seen from north, 1768, by Erik Pontoppidan

The official and religious status spurred growth so in 1477 the defensive earthern ramparts, ringing the town since the Viking age, were removed to accommodate expansion.[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 industrialization 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 KFK (Korn- og Foderstof Kompagniet), 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][39] Otto Mønsted created the Danish Preserved Butter Company in 1874, focussing on butter export to England, China and Africa and later founded the Aarhus Butterine Company in 1883, the first Danish margarine factory.[40] 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.[41] Other new factories of note include the dockyard of Flydedokken and the oil mill of Århus Oliefabrik.

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

  • Aarhus Kommune official city portal (Danish)
  • Visit Aarhus
  • Aarhus City Info
  • Texts on Wikisource:

External links

Further reading

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  3. ^ List of largest cities of the European Union by population within city limits
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  11. ^ . On the history and foundation of the city. Kommuneatlas is a public on-line source on the municipality of Aarhus.
  12. ^ a b
  13. ^ The earliest Århus The Viking Museum (Danish)
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  17. ^ Vikingernes Aros Vikingemuseet (Danish)
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  37. ^ Ib Gejl, Flemming Just, Carsten Porskrog Rasmussen (1996): Fra købmandsgård til koncern. Korn- og Foderstof Kompagniet 1896-1996 Esbjerg og Århus. (Danish)
  38. ^ A. Axelsen Drejer: Jydsk Andels-Foderstofforretning 1898-1948, København 1948. (Danish)
  39. ^ Ib Gejl og Christian R. Jansen: Korn, købmænd & kornkompagni. Korn- og foderstofhandelen 1880’erne – 1960’erne, Århus 1971. (Danish)
  40. ^
  41. ^ Travis 1998, p. 336.
  42. ^
  43. ^ Aarhus Amtssygehus was established in 1882 (moved and expanded in 1935), Århus Kommunehospital was established in 1893 and Marselisborg Hospital was built in 1913. See sourced articles on AarhusWiki.
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  46. ^ Zabecki 1999, pp. 1350-1.
  47. ^ Trenear-Harvey 2009, p. 2.
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  68. ^ Brabranddalen Århus Amt. See also Jeksendalen and Pilbrodalen. (Danish)
  69. ^ Aarhus Ådal NTSnet. Educational material with relevant links. (Danish)
  70. ^ Bygninger og miljøer i Århus Kommune: Kommuneatlas - Landskab og bebyggelse, GISPortalen (Danish)
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  94. ^ Targets Aarhus Municipality
  95. ^ Profile: City of Aarhus State of Green
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  115. ^ Eade & Mele 2011, p. 67.
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  149. ^ IT-byen Katrinebjerg Official homepage (Danish)
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  162. ^ . Architectural and historical information with images.
  163. ^
  164. ^ P. E. Niemann (1981): Feltartilleriet i Aarhus 1881-1969 Zac, ISBN 87-7348-047-9 (Danish)
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  192. ^ Theatres in Aarhus VisitAarhus (Danish)
  193. ^ Granhøj Dans (Danish) and (English)
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  198. ^ NorthSide 2014 Official homepage
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  207. ^ Pamphlet of seven routes ("sunbeams").
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  218. ^ Marienlyst Park is between 48 and 83 hectares, depending on how much of the woodlands are included. The woodlands are known as Brendstrup Skov.
  219. ^
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  221. ^ Reviews and data on 453 restaurants in Aarhus.
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  224. ^ 22 restaurants in Aarhus were among the best in Denmark, according to White Guide.
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  228. ^ Porter & Prince 2007, p. 372.
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  234. ^ In 2001 A.G.F., Aarhus KFUM, VRI and Brabrand IF merged to form Aarhus GF Håndbold. Collectively these clubs have 9 titles.
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  279. ^ Cremo 2010, p. 230.
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  296. ^ Duffin, Moody & Gardner-Thorpe 2013, p. 312.
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Notes and references





Music and culture


Notable people

Twin towns / sister cities

Aarhus is twinned with seven cities which co-operates in the spheres of public schools, culture, welfare and commercial interests and is host to 7 consulates.[288]

Twin towns and consulates

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.[287]

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.[282] In 1990, TV 2 established its Jutlandic 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.[283] Aarhus has its own local TV channel TVAarhus, transmitting since 1984.[284][285] 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.[286]

The first daily newspaper to appear in Aarhus was Berlingske and Politiken.[281]

The Aarhus Søsterhøj TV tower, height 261 m (856 ft)


Ciconia Aarhus Private Hospital is a leading Danish fertility clinic with a significant sperm bank. Originally founded in 1984, it opened as the first clinic 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.[276] Aagaard Klinik, established in April 2004, is another private clinic in the city which specializes in fertility and gynaecology. In 2013 it treated 2,920 patients and by 2013 was responsible for the birth of 1,900 children through fertility treatment.[277] 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 life style.[278]

Aarhus University Hospital is one of the country's most specialized hospitals with sophisticated equipment and highly qualified staff. For each of the past three years, it has been ranked as Denmark's best hospital.[270] The new hospital founded in 2011 has some 1,150 beds and a staff of about 10,000. It is the result of a merger between the former Århus Universitetshospital, Århus Sygehus and Skejby Sygehus. In the spring of 1999 the university hospital in conjunction with the Aarhus county authorities founded the Research Clinic for Functional Disorders and Psychosomatics.[271] The hospital collaborates with the Psychiatric Hospital in Risskov, which also conducts psychiatric research.[272] In October 2009, work started on the construction of a large new hospital and headquarters in Skejby, on what has become the largest construction site in Denmark.[273][274] Scheduled to be completed in 2019, the New University Hospital (DNU) will be the largest hospital in the country and will serve patients from all over Central Denmark Region.[275]

Risskov Psychiatric Hospital


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.[269]

The Danish ferry company Mols-Linien connects Aarhus with Copenhagen, on the island of Zealand, with rapid ferry connections to Sjællands Odde.[267] Ferries operating between Aarhus and Sjællands Odden include HSC KatExpress 1 and HSC KatExpress 2, the world's largest diesel powered catamarans,[268] and HSC Max Mols all of which cater to foot passengers, private vehicles and trucks.

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.[262] The Aarhus Letbane is a planned tram-train project which will link two railway lines with a new light rail route through the city.[263] Most city bus lines go through the inner city and pass through either Park Alle or Banegårdspladsen (lit. English: "Central Station Square") or both.[264] County and Inter-city buses terminate at Aarhus Bus Terminal which is located 900 meters north-west of Banegårdspladsen, and in front of the Radisson SAS Scandinavia hotel at Margrethepladsen.[265] The long-distance busses of linie888 connect Aarhus to other cities in Jutland and Zealand.[266]

Aarhus Airport, with only a few scheduled flights each day, is located 40 km (25 mi) north-east of Aarhus in Tirstrup.[258] The much larger Billund Airport is situated 95 km (59 mi) south-west of Aarhus.[259] There has been much discussion about constructing a better airport for Aarhus, but so far, the plans have not been realized.[260] In August 2014, the city council officially initiated a process to assert the viability of a new international airport.[261]



The 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.[256] 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.[257] Also of note is KaosPilots and several other higher education centres.

On 1 January 2012 Aarhus University (AU) was the largest university in Denmark by number of students enrolled.[251] 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.[251] 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.[252] 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.[253] 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.[254]

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.[248] 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.[249] The city is home to more than 55.000 students.[250]


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).[244] Aarhus is on average host to one or two international sailing competitions every year and hosted the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships in 2008[245][246] 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.[247]

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 mountainbiking. The newly reconstructed area of Skjoldhøjkilen is a prime example.[243]

Section for Sports, a department of Aarhus University, opened in 2008.[242]

[241].Badminton and Handball, Gymnastics Soccer is by far the most popular sport followed by [241] The [240] The municipality actively supports sports organizations in and around the city, providing public organizations that aim to attract major sporting events and strengthen professional sports.

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.[237] 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.[238][239] The Bakken Bears have most recently won the Danish basketball championships in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Club Sport League Venue (capacity) Founded Titles Attendance
Aarhus Gymnastik Forening Soccer Superliga Ceres Park (20,032) 1880 5 23,990[233]
Aarhus GF Håndbold Handball Danish Handball League NRGi Arena (4,700) 2001 9[234] 4,700[235]
Bakken Bears Basketball Danish Basketball League Vejlby-Risskov Hallen (1,800) 1962 14 2,500[236]
Sailsports in the Aarhus Bay, 2014


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.[230][231] The city centre is packed with cafés, especially along the river and the Latin quarter. A few of them also includes an evening restaurant such as Café Casablanca, Café Carlton, Café Cross and Gyngen.[232]

Appraised high-end gourmet restaurants serving international cuisine include Fredrikshøj, Restaurant Varna, Miró, Nordisk Spisehus, Det Glade Vanvid, La Pyramide, Restaurant ET or Dauphine, all considered among the best in Denmark.[224][225] Well established speciality places include the relaxed Ris Ras Filliongongong offering waterpipes and an award winning beer selection, the wine and book café of Løve's in Nørregade, Sherlock Holmes, a British-style pub with live music, the brew pub of Sct. Clemens with A Hereford Beefstouw restaurant and Thorups Kælder, a tavern located in rooms built by Cistercian monks in the 1300s.[226][227][228][229]

Aarhus has a large variety of restaurants and eateries offering food from traditional Danish to international foods, especially Middle Eastern and Asian.[221] Among the oldest are Rådhuscafeen (lit. City Hall Café), opened in 1924, serving a menu of traditional Danish courses and Peter Gift from 1906, a tavern with an international beer selection and a menu of smørrebrød and other Danish dishes.[222][223]


Marselisborg Forests and Riis Skov, has a long history for recreational activities of all kinds, including several restaurants, hotels and opportunities for 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.

Aarhus has an unusually high number of parks, 134 of them, covering a total area of around 550 ha (1,400 acres).[210] The central Bay of Aarhus and is popular with locals for outings, picnics or events.[214][215] Other notable parks include the small central City Hall Park (Rådhusparken) and Marienlyst Park (Marienlystparken).[216] 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.[217][218]

[209], encircling the Brabrandstien This includes the 30 kilometre long pathway of [208][207] Watersports like sailing, kayaking, motor boating, etc. are also popular, and since the bay rarely freeze up in winter, they can also be practised most of the year. Recreational and transportational pathways for pedestrians and cyclists, radiates from the city center to the countryside, providing safety from motorized vehicles and a more tranquil experience.[206]The relatively mild, temperate marine climate, allows for outdoor recreation year round, including walking, hiking, cycling and outdoor team sports. Mountainbiking is usually restricted to marked routes.
Mindeparken with blooming Japanese cherry trees and Marselisborg Palace.
Aarhus University Park with its rolling lawns, ponds and large oak trees.
Autumn in the urban forest of Riis Skov. The forests in and around Aarhus are used extensively by the citizens year round.
[205] below Riis Skov and close to the harbour area, offers the only sand beach in the city center. 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.Den PermanenteThe beech forests of
Sandy beaches forms the coastline of the entire municipality. Risskov Beach.

Recreation and parks

The city of Aarhus actively promotes its gay and lesbian community and celebrates the annual Aarhus Pride gay pride festival.[204] 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).

Aarhus hosts many large sports events, some of national and international scope.[202][203]

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.[200] ILT (International Living theatre) 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.[201]

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.[197] 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.[198][199] 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.

Aarhus hosts many annual or recurring festivals, concerts and events, with the festival of Aarhus Festuge as the most popular and wide-ranging. 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 to early September, transforming the inner city with festive activities and decorations of all kinds.[195][196]

Events and festivals

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[191] and Teater Refleksion as well as several dance venues like Bora Bora and Granhøj Dans.[192][193] The city hosts a biannual international theatre festival, International Living Theatre, the next event being scheduled for May 2015.[194] The former goods station of Aarhus Godsbanegård has recently been thoroughly renovated 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.[187]

Since the 1970s, the city has seen major developments on the 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.[190]

The city enjoys strong musical traditions, both classical and modern, with educational and performance institutions such as the concert halls of Godsbanen, a former railway station.[187][188][189]

The concert halls of Musikhuset

Performing arts

There are also several cultural and community centers scattered throughout the city. This includes Folkestedet in the central Godsbanen at the railway yard, with workshops, events and exhibitions, and Globus1 in Brabrand facilitating sports and various cultural activities.[186]

Libraries in Denmark are also cultural and community centers. They play an active role in the cultural life and hosts many events, exhibitions, discussion groups, workshops, educational courses and facilitates everyday cultural activities for and by the citizens. In June 2015, the large central library and cultural center of Dokk1 opened at the harbour front. Dokk1 also includes civil administrations and services, commercial office rentals and a large underground robotic parking lot and aims to be a landmark for the city and a public meeting place. The building of Dokk1 and the associated squares and street scape is also collectively known as Urban Mediaspace Aarhus and it is the largest construction project Aarhus Municipality has ever undertaken.[184] Apart from this large main library, some neighborhoods in Aarhus has a local library engaged in similar cultural and educational activities, but on a more local scale.[185]

Dokk1 at the harbour front

Libraries and community centers

The Moesgård Museum specializes 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.[178] Kvindemuseet, the Women's Museum, from 1984 contains collections of the lives and works of women in Danish cultural history.[179] the Occupation Museum (Besættelsesmuseum) presents exhibits illustrating the German occupation of the city during the Second World War;[180] 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;[181] and the Steno Museum is a museum of the history of science and medicine with a planetarium.[182] Kunsthal Aarhus (Aarhus Art Hall) hosts exhibitions of contemporary art including painting, sculpture, photography, performance art, film and video.[183] Strictly speaking it is not a museum but an arts center and one of the oldest in Europe, built and founded in 1917.

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 and sculptures by international artists. 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.[176][177]

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 life from the 16th century to the 70s with individual areas focused on different time periods. 75 historic buildings collected from differen of parts of Denmark have been brought here to create a small town in its own right.[174][175]


Selected as International Cities of Refuge Network) in an effort to provide a safe haven to authors and writers persecuted in their countries of origin.[172] The State and University Library (Statsbiblioteket) has the status of a national library.[173]


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.[168][169] 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.[170] 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.

Bispetorv in the historic centre

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.[165][166] The Aarhus Custom House (Toldkammeret) from 1898, is said to be Hack Kampmann's finest work.[167]


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.[155] 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.

Marselisborg Palace

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.[154] 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.

Panoramic view of the Aarhus skyline seen from the top of ARoS.


One of the major research companies is Systematic A/S, working in the public sector, healthcare and defence.[148] The IT City Katrinebjerg, fosters collaboration between research, education and industry through the university branches of Department of Computer Science, Department of Aesthetics and Communication and Alexandra Institutet.[149] In the clean energy sector, Aarhus is home to leading participants including Vestas, AVK, Amplex and Kamstrup.[150] The new Navitas Park at the docklands, is a new information and innovation park bringing together players in the energy, environment and building sectors.[145][151] The centre is sponsored by Aarhus University School of Engineering, Aarhus School of Marine and Technical Engineering (AAMS) and INCUBA.[152][153]

Over the past ten years, Aarhus has been one of Denmark's most rapidly developing centres of research in information technology, energy, media, life sciences, food, architecture and design.[145][146] Enterprises in the Information and communications technology (ICT) sphere work in collaboration with the city's research institutes. In 2007 the three largest research parks of Forskerpark Aarhus (Science Park Aarhus), Forskerpark Skejby (Science Park - Skejby) and IT-Huset Katrinebjerg, merged to form INCUBA Science Park. Forskerpark Skejby, which works in the field of biomedical research, and the Katrinebjerg department - focussing on ICT - has since been expanded and in 2014 the new department of INCUBA Navitas opened on the Aarhus Docklands.[147]

IT City Katrinebjerg.

Research parks

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 organized under VisitAaarhus, a corporate foundation initiated in 1994 by Aarhus Municipality and local commercial interest organizations.[142][143][144]

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.[141] 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 roundtrip in Denmark. The average stay is little more than three days on average.[141]

Costa Pacifica in the harbor

The ARoS Art Museum, the Old Town Museum and Tivoli Friheden are among Denmark's top tourist attractions.[137] 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.[138][139] Many visitors arrive on cruise ships: in 2012, 18 vessels visited the port with over 38,000 passengers.[140]


The ferry terminal presents the only alternative to the Baltic Sea.[136]

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.[133][134] 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.[135] Since 2012 the port has faced increasing competition from Port of Hamburg and freight volumes has decreased some from the peak in 2008.[134]

Eleonora Maersk in the Port of Aarhus

Port of Aarhus

Several major companies have their headquarters in Aarhus such as telemarketing company, while metallurgy and electronics remain important sectors.[6][132]

[128][127][126] People commute to Aarhus from as far away as [125][124] 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.

Today the majority of the largest companies in the municipality are in the sectors of trade, transport and media.[121] 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 1,000 people within the municipality making it a central component in the local economy.[122] The biotech industry is well established in the city with many small and medium-sized companies mainly focused on research and development.[123]

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.[119] The municipality has more high and middle income jobs, and fewer low income jobs, than the national average.[119]

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 benefitting 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.[118] 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.[119] The region is a major agricultural producer, with many large farms in the outlying districts.[120]

Composition of the labor market - 2002


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.[116] 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.[117]

Aarhus has the highest ratio of immigrants in Denmark, 14.8% of the population, outside the Copenhagen area.[114] 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.[115] 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.[105]

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.[112] 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.[113]

Religious affiliation[112]
Affiliation Members %
Church of Denmark 233,603 72.12%
No affiliation 74,190 22.91%
Other Christian 7,400 2.28%
Islamic denominations 6,000 1.85%
Hinduism 1,400 0.43%
Other religion 700 0.22%
Buddhism 600 0.19%

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.[109] More than 40% of the population have an academic degree while only some 14% have no secondary education or trade.[110] The largest age group is 20-29 year-olds and the average age is 37.5, making it the youngest city in the country and one of its youngest municipalities.[105][111] Women have slightly outnumbered men for many years.[105]

Aarhus has a population of 259.754 on 91 km2 (35 sq mi) with a density of 2,854/km2 (7,390/sq mi).[106] Aarhus municipality has a population of 323,893 om 468 km2 with a density of 681/km2 (1,760/sq mi). With some 500,000 people in the neighbouring municipalities comprising the region of East Jutland, the larger urban zone of Aarhus has 845,971 inhabitants.[107] Less than a fifth of the municipal population resides beyond city limits and almost all live in an urban area.[108]

Main immigrant groups, 2014[105]
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
Population 1672–2014[104]


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.[102] 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 realized as a local project in collaboration with private land owners, under a larger national agenda, and there are new afforestation objectives to double the forest cover in Aarhus Municipality, before the year 2030.[103]

Recent afforestation in True Skov

Aarhus has been heavily involved with several large-scale water treatment projects on many levels in the last two decades and more will follow in the future.[98][99][100] 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.[101]

Aarhus has increasingly been investing in environmental planning. The city council has identified a number of environmental targets for the coming years within energy efficiency and aquatic environment. The targets are designed to provide the guidelines for green growth in the city.[94][95] In accordance with national policy, Aarhus aims to be CO2 neutral and independent of fossil fuels for heating by 2030.[96] These goals have materialized 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.[97]

Environmental planning

North of the inner beltway lies the district Aarhus N, containing the neighborhoods Risskov, Vejlby, Skejby, Christiansbjerg and Vorrevangen and to the West lies Langenæs, Åbyhøj and Aarhus V, which comprises the neighborhoods Hasle, Frydenlund, Herredsvang and Møllevangen, while the district of Højbjerg lies to the south. Districts and suburbs further out are Brabrand, Egå, Gellerup, Hasselager, Holme, Kolt, Rosenhøj, Skæring, Skåde, Slet, Stavtrup, Tilst and Tranbjerg.

[93] (lit. Indre By Aarhus is segmented into districts on different levels often containing several distinct neighbourhoods within. The historical centre, known as

Aarhus municipality has 45 electoral wards and polling stations in four electoral districts for the folketing.[89] The diocese of Aarhus has four deaneries composed of 60 parishes within Aarhus municipality.[90] Aarhus municipality contains 21 postal districts and some parts of another 9.[91] The urban area of Aarhus and the immediate suburbs are divided in the districts Aarhus C, Aarhus N, Aarhus V, Viby J, Højbjerg and Brabrand.

Locator map of districts in Aarhus municipality and neighborhoods in Midtbyen

Districts and subdivisions

Political party composition of Aarhus Municipal Council
Year A B C F I O V Y Z Ø Other % Mandate distribution
1970 17 2 8 1     3         70.3 4 27
1974 13 2 4 2     4 1 2   3 58.1 6 25
1978 13 2 5 3     3 1 2   2 68.7 8 23
1981 11 1 6 5     3 2 1   2 68.6 11 20
1985 12 1 7 7     2 1     1 65.6 12 19
1989 12 1 5 6     3   1 2 1 63.1 11 20
1993 15 1 3 4     6   1 1   68.4 12 19
1997 13 1 3 4   2 7     1   70.5 13 18
2001 11 2 2 3   1 11     1   85.13 6 25
2005 13 2 1 2   1 11     1   71.80 8 23
2009 14 1 3 5   2 5     1   63.70 13 18
2013 13 2 2 2 1 2 6     3   70.49 9 22
Data from Statistics Denmark,[85] KMD,[86],[87] Aarhus Municipality[88]

[84] The first publicly elected mayor of Aarhus was appointed in 1919. In the

Politically Aarhus leans left and the largest political party has historically been the Social Democratic Party which has also held the mayors office for all terms with the notable exception of the 2001-2005 term when Louise Gade of Venstre became both the first female and non-Social Democratic mayor. The gender composition of the city council has risen steadily in favour of women through the 20th century and currently 9 of 31 members are women.[82]

Administratively the city is divided in six minor agencies which together constitute the magistrate led by the mayor and five aldermen as administrative directors. It is the only Danish city with a magistrate structure.[80] The six departments of the city are the Mayor's Department, Social Affairs and Employment, Technical Services and Environment, Health and Care, Culture and Citizens Services and Children and Young People which handle all the day-to-day operations of the city.[81]

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.[77] 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.[78] Anyone who is eligible to vote and who resides within Aarhus municipality can run for a seat on the city council provided they can secure endorcements and signatures from 50 inhabitants of the municipality.[79]

Aarhus City Hall tower from 1942, designed by Arne Jacobsen and Erik Møller

Politics and administration

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.[76]

The geography in the area affects the local climate of the city with the Aarhus Bay imposing a temperate effect on the low-laying 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 effect crops and plants that often bloom 1–2 weeks earlier in the valley than on the northern and southern hillsides.[75]

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.[73] 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.[72][74]

Aarhus is in the humid continental climate zone (Köppen: Dfb) [72] 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 climactic effects as other larger cities with higher wind speeds, more fog, less precipitation and higher temperatures than the surrounding, open land.

East Jutland
Climate chart ()
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: Dansk Meterologisk Institut [71]


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). Much of the two valleys has 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).[67][68][69][70]

Aarhus was founded on the northern shores of a Himmelbjerget, forming part of the larger region called Søhøjlandet.[66]

Egådalen. A broad and flat valley, marking the northern limits of Aarhus


across the bay to the north and east. Helgenæs and Mols to the east with the peninsulas of Kattegat and faces the Djursland Aarhus lies south of the peninsula of [63] Aarhus is located on the Bay of Aarhus on the eastern shore of the Jutland peninsula, by road 38.5 kilometres (23.9 mi) south of


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.[62]

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).[53] The site of the former Royal Unibrew Ceres breweries began redevelopment in 2012 into "CeresByen", a residential district with educational institutions.[54] The former DSB repair facilities at Frederiks Plads have been demolished and is being developed into a new business district with high-rise buildings scheduled for completion in 2017.[55][56] The main bus terminal is planned to be moved to the central train station by 2018 and the current site will be made into a new residential district.[57][58] Construction of the first light rail system in the city commenced in 2013, with the first increment to be finished in 2017.[59] 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.[60][61]

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.[49] 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 center 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.[50][51][52]

Urban development in Aarhus city centre, 2013

Post-war years

The surrender of German forces officially came into effect on 5 May 1945 but in Aarhus fighting broke out shortly before midday between resistance fighters and a small German force that refused surrender. The fighting claimed the lives of both resistance fighters and civilians but by the end of the day order was restored and on 8 May British forces entered the city, officially liberating it.[48]

Several Schalburgtage operations took place between August 1944 and May 1945, when the occupation ended. The largest occurred on the night of 22 February 1945 when a series of explosions in central Aarhus destroyed or damaged a number of buildings, including Aarhus Teater. Other such operations included two attempts at destroying Aarhus City Hall, recently completed in 1941.

In 1944 the resistance movement in Jutland encouraged the Allies to conduct an air raid against the German headquarters in Aarhus to destroy files and obstruct operations.[45] On 31 October the Aarhus Air Raid saw a "daring, low-level precision bombing attack" on the Gestapo headquarters in Aarhus by 25 Mosquitoes from the Number 140 Wing of the RAF Second Tactical Air Force. Resistance leader Pastor Harald Sandbaek was being held captive there at the time. The bombs dropped in the centre of the former University of Aarhus building, killing an estimated 150–200 Gestapo members and some 30 Danes while destroying German files on the Danish resistance.[46][47]

Resistance fighters under fire, Bispetorv, 1945

On 9 April 1940, German troops invaded Denmark and occupied the city, establishing their headquarters in the university and from 1943 the Gestapo based their headquarters for Jutland there as well. In the later years of the war Aarhus became an important transport hub for seaborne supplies to Norway. On 4 July 1944, a freight barge loaded with ammunition exploded in the harbour, killing 33 people and causing significant destruction to the harbour area.[44]

Liberation celebrations, 1945

Second World War

[43] (1928) and several hospitals.Aarhus University (1900), the national library (1902), Aarhus Theatre Many of its cultural institutions were also established at this time such as the [42]

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