>>>Aarhus, for those who think twice
Photo: ARoS, Aarhus Kunstmuseum

Aarhus, for those who think twice

It's set to be the European Capital of Culture for 2017. But in Aarhus, a love of culture is not simply a one-year affair; in this Danish city art is a way of life.
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t is known as “the city of smiles” on account of the friendliness of its 300,000 inhabitants. And this in a country regarded as the happiest in the world, topping the rankings of the United Nations World Report on Happiness in both 2012 and 2013. Happiness aside, there are other reasons to visit Aarhus. Above all, in 2017 it will be both European Region of Gastronomy and European Capital of Culture, challenging Copenhagen as “star city of Denmark”.
The Moesgaard Museum takes the visitor on a physical and metaphorical stairway that represents evolution; it presents the past as a way of understanding the present.
Photo: Moesgaard Museum/ VisitAarhus

Summer theatre

Until 1 July, as part of the programme of activities prior to becoming European Culture Capital, Aarhus 2017, in collaboration with the Royal Danish Theatre and Moesgaard Museum, will present Red Serpent, an open air theatre event that recreates life in Viking times.

The theme of Aarhus 2017 European Capital of Culture is “Rethink”, and the aim is that becomes a long-term project, “to transform Central Denmark Region into a cultural laboratory”. “It will serve as a lighthouse for development and not only in cultural areas for which Aarhus has designed a full programme of music, shows, and museums”, the promoters explain. “It will also include reflections on where we live, what type of education we choose, how we travel and how we use the natural world around us”.
To achieve these goals, Aarhus is already brimming over with art, both in its permanent centres as well as in the special venues to be created for 2017. Among the permanent artistic features of the city are two flagship museums, of which the ARoS Art Museum is the most important, and one of largest in northern Europe. Its most admired feature is a circular roof skywalk – or the “Your Rainbow Panorama” as it is known – designed by Olafur Eliasson, who used the spectrum of rainbow colours as his inspiration. With a diameter of 52 metres and 150 metres in length, this gives 360-degree panoramic views over the city. In the basement of the museum, meanwhile, the 9 Spaces Gallery provides another dreamlike space, with the journey between the two like Dante’s depiction of the journey from heaven to hell.
The NorthSide festival is one of the top music events in Aarhus.
Photo: Bea Brix / VisitAarhus
The other flagship museum in Aarhus is Den Gamle By, located in the old town. An interactive open-air museum that recreates Danish life and culture from the 15th to the 19th centuries, here visitors can play games from centuries past or meet personalities of the time. Food is available along the route, with the option of coffee and cake in the garden, or a beer in the basement.
Getting up close to animals, time travelling to other centuries, an exciting city to enjoy – so much for the children to do. Aarhus is perfect for the whole family.
Photo: Photopop/ VisitAarhus
For music, the Musikhuseta Arhuss, a concert hall that hosts 1.200 musical events a year, is well worth a visit. It is home to the Royal Academy of Music and the National Opera, and over the years Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Liza Minnelli and Ray Charles have all performed here. It is both beautiful and functional, with a spacious 2,000 square metre glass foyer bathed in sunlight. Its 35,000 square metres make it the largest concert hall in Scandinavia.
The Tivoli Friheden amusement park in Marselishorg forest is a fun outing and especially suitable for families. Here you can find over 40 attractions including four rollercoasters, as well as places to picnic. The icing on the cake is a 5D fun haunted house, full of zombies.
So, those who always think twice before deciding on a holiday destination shouldn’t give it too much thought. Through art and culture, Aarhus is celebrating the past while building for a common future, reason enough to sidestep Copenhagen and head to the City of Smiles.

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