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The second biggest city after Copenhagen is Aarhus. The city has the population of 300,000 people in the city and another 1.200.000 residents around the city, in East Jutland.

Aarhus is located in county Aarhus. Aarhus was founded more than 1000 years ago as a settlement of Vikings. But the development of the city has begun approximately in 1900 when industrial growth started to involve countrymen as well.

The population of Aarhus has almost doubled since 1935 and it still grows bigger, though more slowly than last decades. Aarhus is a “young” city mainly due to its youthful population.

This seaport lies on the east coast of Jutland; sometimes it’s ironically named “smallest of world big cities.”

The beautiful surrounding nature has attracted the Queen herself. Margrethe II spends some of her summer months in Aarhus.

Aarhus, Denmark
Photo by NCC_AB

The originators of this city were, of course, Vikings, who called the city Aros, meaning “river mouth”. Despite the offer of a number of modern activities, Aarhus is a singular bouquet of history.

It has an attraction for almost any stage of Danish history. Some stages are sometimes incorporated into each other, like in Den Gamle By.

Due to a number of students enrolled in the Aarhus University, the city has gained an active youthful touch. Perhaps this is the reason why Aarhus stays in the style of dynamic European cities.

The key attractions for visiting tourists are ARoS, Aarhus Museum of Art, the Old Town, and Moesgard Museum.

View also: Airport | University | Hotels


ARoS – Aarhus Art Museum

188/365: The rainbow at the roof of Aros.
Photo by naxoc

ARoS or Aarhus Art Museum is one of the biggest and most unique museums in Denmark and Northern Europe.

The time span of the museum collection ranges from 1900 to 1960. The exhibits usually belong to the modernist style, with lots and lots of experiments. As one of the main events in the beginning of the 20th century, industrialization played a key role in the creation of works displayed in the museum.

Other influences like the World War I and World War II couldn’t walk by art as well. Just like any other war, artists pictured the dark and horrible atmosphere of the times, this is why dark colors dominate in the color palette.

The inspiration behind the artists naturally include such art giants as Picasso and Matisse. However, the Scandinavian taste is preserved throughout the collection.

There are 6 exhibitions in the museum. The first one, the Old collection, covers the Danish art before the 20th century. The second exhibition is the Modern collection, which is responsible for the modernist age. Another exhibition called Newer collection, which lasts from the second half of the 20th century till today.

The Boy
Photo by Mark B. Schlemmer

This collection is particularly interesting, as it has a strong expression of creativity and innovation.

Sculptures, paintings, photographs, all of these reflect the day we live in, the ideas we keep in our minds, the affections we have. In a word, this collection describes us and plays a tricky contrast with the modernist collection.

The 9 rooms is the mystical exhibition, named after the 9 circles of hell from Dante’s Divine Comedy. It is all about audio and visual effects that will certainly leave your senses astonished.

Although the “Boy” is not a collection but a mere sculpture, it is worth discussing for pages and even more.

The clay structure has come just too close in seeming human. Unbelievable details in skin and hair make the Boy exceptional. The fierce expression on the face and alive-looking position makes you think he’ll move any second now.

Aros Roof
Photo by FestiveSearch

Finally, Dante’s heaven is located right on the top of the building. It’s called Your Rainbow Panorama. A circle hallway with colorful walls allow you to think beyond the standards.

Feel yourself inside a rainbow and experience the city view through different glasses.

The roof can be seen from many parts of Aarhus. It gives the city a warm and positive touch, especially in winters.

The museum is closed on Mondays, but open the rest of the week from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm (it stays open longer on Wednesdays and Thursdays – 10:00 pm).

Moesgard Museum

Moesgaard Museum
Photo by Theis.L

Moesgard Museum includes 3 different museums, namely the Moesgard Museum, Odder Museum and Viking Museum.

The final unification stage took place in 2011. Despite this, each of these three museums has its own style, specialization and location.

The main exhibitions are Denmark’s Stone Age, the Grauballe man, Illerup Valley, the Laguthewas raid, and the Rune Hall. It’s already obvious that the collections cover the Danish history, from Stone Age hunters to Vikings and even beyond.

The most remarkable piece of the collection is the Grauballe man, a bog body. Such bodies, naturally preserved so well you could see their face expression at the time they died, are very common in Northern Europe, especially in Scandinavia.

Besides archeological and historical artifacts, the museum also has an entire exhibition devoted to the nature and humans.

Moesgard Museum specializes in archeology and ethnography. It is located in a splendid manor right in the middle of a forest.

Steno Museum

Steno Museum
Photo by lalo_pangue

Contrasted with the Viking historical heritage of Denmark, the Steno Museum presents the History of Science and Medicine.

Visitors can become a scientist and participate in scientific experiments, test Galileo’s theory of gravity, and so on. The museum is not limited to the earthy collections.

The galaxies and planets beyond the skies are also presented for exploration. If you have a powerful imagination, you can dive deep into the space, travel thousands of miles away from the Earth.

The Old Town – Den Gamle By

Den Gamle By
Photo by roger4336

The Old Town is one of the key attractions in Denmark. It is a must-see collection of historical buildings gathered from all over Denmark.

The houses, museums, and shops date back to three main time periods: 1700-1864, 1927, and 1974. Each of these periods includes not only houses corresponding to that specific time trends but also museums and shops.

The most interesting museums are the toy and poster museums. The former illustrates the development of kid toys throughout the Danish history.

Den Gamble By is a great treat for children, both for boys and girls. This is also a good collection for parents to know about the toy trends, say, 2 centuries ago.

Den Gamle By, Aarhus
Photo by opacity

Surely, due to technological advances childhood has changed in recent years. Now children can see, hear and feel things children in the 17th century wouldn’t even dare to dream.

The walls in poster museum are all covered with posters from different years and events. You can learn about the ancient and modern techniques of state PR.

There are educational, commercial, and other works. The collection is so big it takes turns to display every single poster. So if you have visited this museum before, don’t hesitate to pay another visit, you will definitely see some new exhibits.

Once you enter this mini-town, you can truly feel yourself a time traveler. The locals are dressed accordingly, the shops sell traditional Danish recipes, and the houses have preserved their original architecture.

Apart from other talents, Denmark is very good at turning the history over and making an exotic cocktail out of it.


Aarhus Festuge

Aarhus Festuge
Photo by espresso marco

The biggest cultural event taking place in this city is the Aarhus Festuge (Aarhus Festival). It takes place later in summer, and every year it is colored with a different theme.

In accordance with the theme, cultural events like open-air theaters and concerts take place in the streets.

These make the city a big cultural stage. You can just stroll around and be an audience for different concerts.

The event is a much-expected party not only for the population of Aarhus, but for Danes in general.

Other Activities

Aarhus activities
Photo by espresso marco

Unlike other Danish cities, Aarhus is not limited to historical  or Viking-style atmosphere. Of course, the Danish heritage can be seen around the town, but the city also provides a variety of activities for tourists with different tastes.

Culture, including theaters, museums and music, is under stress. You can find all types of music here. There are a few venues, which constantly hold concerts. Some of those venues are Train and Voxhall. You can get tickets to youthful techno and hip hop concerts, as well as those featuring folklore.

It is a native home of the Symphonic Orchestra of Aarhus and Opera Theater of Jutland. In a concert hall three scenes, and the biggest hall are contained by 1,500 persons. Theater of Aarhus with several scenes and constant troupe of actors – the biggest theater in a city. The set of theatrical groups is given regularly by representations at smaller theaters of a city. Music-lovers are particularly active during the Aarhus Jazz Festival.

The Jazz Festival annually unites more than 180 musicians and organizes around 250 concerts. This will definitely be a dream-come-true for fans of jazz. Wherever you go, the city is filled with jazz. Every bar, corner, house and shop is taking part in the festival.

Cathedral in Aarhus
Photo by mekiaries

If you are not a fan of big venues and audiences, you can always have a drink at one of the Danish musical bars and cafes. Fatter Eskil, Musik Caféen and Gyngen are only few of the places with small music concerts.

Kirke Aarhus – the greatest church in Denmark, one of its parts – a chapel in the Romance style, dating to the 12 century. The most part of a church building concerns 15 century and is constructed in Gothic style.

Aarhus is located near the beach, which makes a short ship trip a perfect idea. Rent a yacht and enjoy the surface of water, explore the city and its coastline.

Feel yourself a Viking for the day, as there is no Denmark wherever there is no sea. Be careful not to be carried away too much and don’t forget to take a bottle of wine and or champagne. The sunset promises to be the best decoration in the sky.

Quick Facts

  • Status – the second biggest city in Denmark
  • Population – 300,000 in the city and 1.200.000 around it
  • Attractions – ARoS, the Old Town (Den Gamle By), Steno Museum, Moesgard Museum
  • Events – Aarhus Festuge, Aarhus Jazz Festival
  • Music Venues – Train, Voxhall , Fatter Eskil, Musik Caféen, Gyngen, etc.

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