Aalborg or Ålborg is a city in the North Jutland Region with 117,351 inhabitants (2020) (140,897 inhabitants (2020) including Nørresundby), which is therefore Denmark's fourth largest city. Aalborg is the Capital Region of Aalborg's Capital Region and is described as being the capital of North Jutland. Aalborg Municipality is Denmark's third largest in terms of population, and arose in its current form on 1 January 2007 through a merger of Aalborg Municipality (1970-2006) and the neighboring municipalities of Hals, Nibe and Sejlflod.
The city of Aalborg's history stretches back over
1,000 years. Alabu is the first known name for Aalborg, it is
written on coins from the 1040s. The town was granted township
rights in 1342.
The city itself is believed to have been founded in Viking times, but the area has been inhabited by humans for much longer. The town's location is due to the fact that there was a good crossing point over the Limfjord, which narrowed in here, combined with the good harbor opportunities where Østerå emptied into the fjord. In the Iron Age, there were villages on several of the chalk mounds on which modern Aalborg was built. The most significant of them were Tranders and Hasseris.
The first actual urban settlement probably arose at the Østerås outlet in the Limfjord in the area where the modern streets Algade and Boulevarden cross today. The river functioned as a port similar to many other similar trading places in Viking-era Denmark. Among the oldest townhouses, traces of agriculture were found, including plow tracks. Apparently, from approx. 800 lay a village on the site.
In 1994 to 1995, a major archaeological study of the oldest layers in the city of Aalborg was carried out. These studies provided a better knowledge of the early history of the city. Among other things, it was found that in the 10th century there had been changes in the area around the estuary. Traces of crafts and workshops are beginning to appear, as well as pit houses and a trading post. The structure of the square is reminiscent of the one that i.a. known from Ribe in the 700s, ie. it is not an actual permanent city, but rather a marketplace where there has been activity from time to time. The trading and workshop space has probably been in operation until the middle of the 1000s. It was probably replaced by the first real city with year-round buildings. The oldest street is Algade, and the houses were built with the gable facing the main street. Traces of houses from around the same time on the other side of the river have also been found. There have probably been royal interests instead from the beginning, but the connection of the royal power becomes clear in 1035-1042, when Hardeknud struck coins in the city, the same thing happened in Aarhus.
From these coins also derives the oldest name of the city: Alabu. The kings Knud the Holy and Erik Ejegod also minted coins in the city. Scattered traces of handicrafts have been found near the river from the entire period from 700 to 1000, but the soil layers show that arable land replaced buildings. On each side of the creek a church was erected where tombs dating to 995-1025 have been found.
Middle Ages and more recent times
In the Middle Ages, Aalborg flourished, it was granted market town rights in 1342, and became one of Denmark's largest cities. A development that was further strengthened when in 1516 the town was granted a monopoly on the trade in salted herring.
The Port of Aalborg was granted royal privilege as a port in the period 1462-1490.
Købmandslavet Guds Legems Laug (today Erhverv Norddanmark) was established in 1431, after a long period of trade with the Hanseatic League. The herring fishery created connections across the North Sea to England, but trade with Norway and western Sweden was also important. During the Count's feud, however, the town was hard hit.
Skipper Clement used the town as his main base, but in December 1534 the town was stormed by Johan Rantzau's troops who plundered and looted it. It has been estimated that about 2,000 people lost their lives in that regard. This may have been a revenge for the battle of Svenstrup a few months before, when the rebel army had defeated Christian the 3rd's noble army. In 1554, Aalborg became a bishop's city. In the centuries that followed, Aalborg grew again, mainly on the basis of the rich herring fishery around Jutland, which had a particularly strong upswing in the 1680s.
A number of medieval buildings still have traces of them. The Gray Brothers Monastery, which was located on the east side of Østerå, is mentioned in 1268 and was a Franciscan monastery. It was probably built around 1240, while the Franciscan monastery in Ribe from 1232 is Denmark's oldest. The monastery was closed in 1530, ie even before the Reformation. Remains from the now demolished buildings can today be seen in an underground exhibition under Algade. The city's third monastery, the shared monastery and nunnery of the Holy Spirit Monastery, was founded in 1451 to help the sick, orphans and the poor. It was converted into a hospital by the Reformation. Today, the buildings function as nursing homes. The Cathedral of St. Budolfi is built in Gothic style and dates from the end of the 14th century. Gammeltorv with houses from approx. 1300 witnesses to the wealth of trade in the Middle Ages.
In 1767, four priests in Aalborg began printing a magazine with news. It was later named Aalborg Stiftstidende and after merging in 1999 with three other significant newspapers in North Jutland, the newspaper is now called Nordjyske Stiftstidende. Aalborg Amtstidende published a newspaper in Aalborg in 1889-1971.
Around 1800, there was a decline in herring fishing, which had a negative impact on the city's economy. It was further aggravated in connection with the Loss of Norway, where the city lost its important role as a hub for Norwegian trade and the establishment of the Limfjord's Western 'exit', which meant that the city lost control of the Limfjord region's trade.
Aalborg Business School was founded in 1875.
Aalborg continued to be Jutland's largest city until the 1850s, when this status was taken over by Aarhus. After a violent industrialization in the 1890s, Aalborg was in the 20th century a distinct industrial city, known as the city with the smoking chimneys and home to several large companies within especially cement (Aalborg Portland and Dansk Andels Cement, DAC), tobacco (CW Obel) , shipbuilding (Aalborg Shipyard) and spirits (De Danske Spritfabrikker). The city's heyday as an industrial city in growth in the years around World War I is the background for Jacob Paludan's book "Jørgen Stein". The author himself lived in the city. The great riches that were accumulated in the city are reflected in the residential area Hasseris and especially Hasserisvej, which probably has the country's largest concentration of mansions and patrician villas from around 1900.
In connection with the German invasion of Denmark, the airfield was captured very early by German paratroopers. This event is considered the first in which paratroopers were used in war. Throughout the war, the airfield was of great importance to the Luftwaffe.
In 1969, Aalborg Privatbaner closed, and it became the end of Aalborg as a hub for a number of railways to the west and east.
As a result of the city not having a university, Aalborg became a distinctly working - class city. The Social Democrats have had a majority for many years. In 1960, Aalborg Seminarium was founded and it was not until the 1970s that Aalborg University came into being.
Transition from industrial city to knowledge and education city and the future
Today, Aalborg is undergoing a transformation from being an industrial city to being a city of knowledge and education, and we have come a long way in this development. In the late 1990s, construction of offices and homes began in the old industrial areas west of the Limfjord Bridge, but it was not until the late 00s that development gained momentum. The old port areas in front of the medieval town east of the Limfjord Bridge were transformed into a recreational area with cafés, restaurants and cultural and sports life. In 2008, the Utzon Center was opened, which was a milestone in development. The center's first architecture programs moved into the center. Aalborg University today has Denmark's largest admission of students and has approx. 20,000 students affiliated.
The old Nordkraft power plant has transformed the old industrial building into one of Europe's largest cultural centers, and opposite Nordkraft, 251 of the 5,000 youth housing units that will be built in Aalborg in the coming years are being built. Tourism has also become an important area for Aalborg, as many tourists from all over the world visit Aalborg to experience the city. Norwegians and Swedes in particular use Aalborg for weekend trips.
Old industrial areas such as Godsbanen, Eternitten and Østre Havn are areas that are now being converted into neighborhoods with educational functions, offices and housing for both young and old. According to the physical vision for Aalborg for 2025, it is expected that there will be 225,000 people living in the urban region, that they will have a + bus line in the city, and that the New Aalborg University Hospital will be completed.
In 2013, the European Commission concluded that Aalborg is the city in Europe where the majority of residents are satisfied with their city compared to other major European cities such as Copenhagen and Hamburg.
In March 2014, it emerged that De Danske Spritfabrikker will close production in Aalborg, which will then be moved to Norway. The buildings and the surrounding area have been bought by A. Enggaard, who together with Martin Nielsen Holding ApS who wants to develop the area into an international destination with culture, apartments and businesses.