Aarhus is Denmark's second largest and Jutland's largest urban area with 280,534 inhabitants (2020). Aarhus Municipality has a population of 349,983 (2020). In the larger urban zone, Eurostat has a population of 845,971. Aarhus is part of the East Jutland City Region, which with a population estimated at between 1.0 - 1.4 million. is Denmark's largest growth center outside the Copenhagen area.

The town is located in East Jutland by Aarhus Bay with a view to the peninsula Mols in an easterly direction and to the Kattegat islands Samsø and Tunø further east to the southeast.

Aarhus was granted market town rights on 2 July 1441, but the city can probably be traced back to the middle of the 700s. Its name comes from the Old Danish Ārōs "Åens Munding". The center of Aarhus is located in a river valley by Aarhus Å, with districts located on hills along the river valley. The city's suburbs are located in both high and low terrain. Near the city center, Riis Skov and Marselisborg Skov are located in a hilly terrain, and they are traditionally used for recreational purposes. To the west of the river valley are Brabrand Lake and Årslev Engsø. To the north, Aarhus is bounded by Egådalen, which is adjacent to Egåen near Mollerup Skov and Egå Engsø.

The inhabitants of the city are called Aarhusians. Aarhusian is the adjective for "Aarhus" and at the same time the name of the local dialect (mainly Danish with a more or less pronounced East Jutlandic tone). On 1 January 2011, the city officially changed its name back to Aarhus, which was also the city's name before the introduction of Bolle-å with the spelling reform in 1948.

On 24 August 2012, Aarhus, together with the rest of the Central Jutland Region, was selected as the European Capital of Culture in 2017.



The Viking town
The oldest archaeological finds in Aarhus are glass beads from the end of the 700s, while the oldest finds of houses are half-buried pit houses. They were used as both a residence and a workshop. In the houses and the associated layers, combs, jewelery and the like have been found, which indicate that the settlement dates from around the year 900. Excavations in the spring of 2005 revealed a so-called city ditch from around 850, which has marked the trading post from which the city originated. Apparently the ditch has already been filled up around 870 and the area has been built on.

Smaller urban communities such as Holmstrup near Aarhus are dated approximately to the year 800 through sources from 1294.

Thorough studies in i.a. the spread of place names with snails and studies of the Kanhavekanalen on the island of Samsø and Draget on Helgenæs seem to show that Aarhus was a flourishing city already in the 700s. The town's harbor was protected up by the river, namely by Åby and with a shipyard at Snekkeeng (now Eskelund) southeast of this, below Kongsvang.

It is assumed that early on there was a small wooden church a little outside the buildings, approximately where Klosterkirken is today.

Finds of six rune stones in and around Aarhus indicate that it was of great importance around the year 1000, since only great men erected rune stones.

Around 1040, coins were struck in Aarhus, first by Hardeknud - who had been crowned king in Viborg in 1027 - and later by Magnus the Good.

Finds of i.a. combs and wood carvings suggest a number of crafts, but foreign goods also tell of trade: weights and millstones from the Rhine area, soapstone goods from northern Scandinavia and ceramics from the Baltic Sea area.

In Viking times, Aarhus was surrounded by a semicircular defensive rampart, which essentially followed the streets whose names originate from there (Graven, Volden, Borgporten), and then went back towards the sea along the river. It is fitting that the city has been located between the estuary and the ford across the river. There have been depressions in the terrain along the outside of the rampart, so it has been surrounded by wet moats.

It is not known exactly when the violence took place, but some years have probably passed since the first settlements, corresponding to the early years of the 10th century. Excavations in the spring of 2005 indicate that the violence was erected relatively quickly around 934, possibly in connection with Henrik Fuglefänger's attack on Jutland. In the second half of the 10th century, violence intensified and in the 13th century, it expanded greatly. After the last expansion, the ramparts were 20 meters wide and six to eight meters high.

Prompted by Bishop Peder Vognsen started in approx. 1200 the construction of Skt. Clemens Church in Romanesque style, which was completed in approx. 1300 and replaced Our Lady's Church as a cathedral. The cathedral school was probably built before the cathedral, since Peder Vognsen already in 1195 handed over books for the education of future church functionaries.

Around the same time, there was a major expansion of the city: the oldest town hall in front of the cathedral, a large bishop's manor at Rosengade north of the church and a chapter house for the church's administration on Bispetorv and several canonical houses were built.

Furthermore, a bridge was built over the river at Immervad and a Holy Spirit Hospital at Lille Torv. The river harbor also became more important in the 14th century, and the oldest remains of bulwarks on the south side of the river are dated to the end of the 13th century.

Aarhus received its market town privilege on 2 July 1441 from Christoffer of Bavaria. It increased the city's growth and in 1477 King Christian I allowed the ramparts, which had lost their military significance, to be built on, and new streets, the Violence and the Tomb, arose. At Brobjerg a Carmelite monastery with a church was built, and on the corner of Vestergade and Grønnegade a Skt. Karensgård to house plague-stricken residents from the city. The cathedral was also modernized in Gothic style and the tall tower was added, whose spire, however, had a different design than today.

17th and 18th centuries
During the 17th century wars, the city probably suffered a lot. The incursion of the imperial troops 1627-1629 still reminded Wallenstein's fortification south of the city, roughly where the Fortress Palace is today. In 1644 the city was taxed by the Swedes, who in 1657-59 repeatedly occupied it. However, despite these and other accidents such as plague and large fires, Aarhus was in the 17th and 18th centuries a fairly significant city in its trade, about which, incidentally, little is known. In addition to the interior and especially with Norway, it traded extensively in Lübeck, Amsterdam, England, France and Spain, and in the middle of the 17th century the merchant navy was approx. 100 ships, and grain exports to Norway and abroad annually approx. 20,000 tdr., By the beginning of the 18th century it had risen to approx. 36,000.


But then the decline began here as in the other cities of the country; in 1735 only a little trade was now conducted with Lübeck and Norway; the merchant fleet was only half as large, and the port began to sink, and in 1768 there were only 31 ships.

In 1769, Aarhus had approx. 3,500 inhabitants.

19th century
In the 19th century, progress came after the city had liberated itself from the dominance of the capital, and after the Schleswig wars for Hamburg. While in 1800 it was Jutland's third largest city, in 1840 it had overtaken Randers and in 1850 also Aalborg, but not until the 1870s Odense, partly due to the railway.

Among other things, the Port of Aarhus had the advantage during harsh winters that it was not located by a fjord that quickly froze to ice. As a result, it could still function, even though nearby ports on Jutland's east coast were inaccessible, which promoted its further expansion. The city's material progress was also growing through the growing railway network. A railway connection between Aarhus and Randers opened in 1862, where the first railway station was also inaugurated. Later, several connection options were added, and the second railway station was built in 1884. The current railway station is the third and was inaugurated in 1929. Also in cultural terms, it claimed its reputation as "Jutland's Capital" at its many institutions such as art museum (Aarhus Museum 1877 ), The State Library (1902), many higher education institutions, the excellent hospitals and new theater (1900). In both the Schleswig wars, the city was occupied by the enemy. On May 31, 1849, there was a lucky encounter between the Prussians and Prussian dragons outside the city for the Danes. On Randersvej, at the north-western end of the Municipal Hospital, a memorial stone has been erected for this battle. The nearby residential building, Rytterparken, is named after the equestrian battle in 1849.

20th century
In the 20th century, Aarhus was both an industrial and a port city, and the port was expanded several times. In addition, Aarhus developed into an educational and university city with many educational institutions. The city became a financial, educational and cultural center for the whole of Jutland. Industry was an important part of the business structure during the period, but at the same time the service sector began to grow. The city's largest companies after World War II were DSB's central workshop, Frichs Maskinfabrik, Flydedokken and Århus Oliefabrik.

From 1970, the service sector grew at the expense of trade and industry and crafts and is now the most dominant sector in the city's business structure. Trade, however, continues to employ a large proportion of the population. With the country's first Bilka, the shopping center City Vest and the pedestrian street as a magnet, Aarhus has developed into Jutland's shopping center at the same time as it is the country's second largest education and research city. There is a large commute to Aarhus from large parts of East and Central Jutland, which causes traffic problems on the city's access roads. Although the service industries are dominant, there are / were several large industries in the city, including AarhusKarlshamn, Ceres Brewery and also a large electronics and metal industry.

Military history - barracks
Aarhus has been a garrison town since the 18th century, with the soldiers initially housed with private individuals.

Prince Ferdinand's Riding House, which was originally located east of Spain / Strandvejen approximately at the mouth of Jægergårdsgade, has now been demolished. It was built in 1818 for Prince Ferdinand's Dragons and was designed by Henrik Magnus Köhnke, who after his apprenticeship at the Royal Academy served in the engineering troops. In 1899, the riding house was demolished, but rebuilt in a slightly altered shape at the Vester Allés barracks.

In time came a couple of smaller barracks, Lewerckhusens Barracks in Mindegade and Bauditz Barracks in Søndergade in 1857.

Since then, in 1863, Sukkerhuset in Sukkerhustoften, now Brammersgade, has been converted into barracks in buildings that had been a clothing factory and sugar refinery.

By 1870, the city had about 1,000 permanent military personnel out of a population of 15,000, and additional barracks were needed.

Carl Lange was the architect for Rytterikasernen, Fodfolkskasernen and Garrison Hospital.

The first actual barracks to be built was the Dragon Barracks or Rytterikasernen 1876-77, which in 1934 was renamed Vester Allés Barracks. It was phased into use in the years 1875-78. The riding house, however, had been built as early as 1860.

In the years 1875-79, the Podiatry Barracks in Høegh-Guldbergs Gade was built.

In 1877, the Garrison Hospital was built in Thyrasgade, the current social office.


In 1889, the 3rd Artillery Department came to Langelandsgade Barracks. This barracks was bombed on 31 October 1944 by 24 Mosquito aircraft from the Royal Air Force, as it was the Gestapo's headquarters during World War II. As a result of the defense agreement in 1989, the Jyske Telegraph Regiment was moved to Fredericia the same year, and the buildings were gradually taken over by the Research Park and Aarhus University. 1990-93, the Army Operational Command used the area. On 31 July 1993, the Army's Operational Command organized a farewell parade to mark the end of Aarhus as a garrison town for 400 years. In August 1993, the last few hundred soldiers packed up and left Langelandsgade Barracks. On 1 August 1997, 5 departments from Aarhus University moved in.

Today, there is no other military service in Aarhus than the Home Guard and SOK. SOK has a bunker with communication equipment on Oddervej and office facilities etc. on Silkeborgvej.

Railway history
Between the regions
Aarhus-Langå-Randers Jernbane was opened in 1862 as Jutland's first railway, and the side line from Langå reached Viborg in 1863, to Skive in 1864 and to Struer in 1865. From Randers, the line was continued to Aalborg in 1869 and to Hjørring and Frederikshavn. in 1871. To the south, the Fredericia-Århus line was connected in 1868 to southern Jutland and - via the ferry routes across the Little Belt and Great Belt - the Funen and Zealand railway network. From Skanderborg, the line was continued to Silkeborg in 1871, to Herning in 1877 and to Skjern in 1881.

Aarhus Nærbane
In 1876 the section Randers-Ryomgård-Grenaa was opened, and in 1877 the side line came from Ryomgård to Aarhus - initially only to Aarhus Østbanegård, but in 1933 it was extended to Aarhus Central Station. The Randers-Ryomgård line, which a few years after the start had become a side line instead of a main line, was closed in 1971, but the Grenaa line Aarhus-Grenaa survived.

In 1884, the Aarhus-Odder-Hov section was opened. The Odder-Hov line was closed in 1977, but the Odder line Aarhus-Odder survived.

On 9 December 2012, the Grenaa line and the Odder line were merged into Aarhus Nærbane, so that it was no longer necessary to change trains on Aarhus H. Aarhus Nærbane is part of the first stage of Aarhus Letbane, which will start in 2016.

The only of the city's railways that did not depart from Aarhus H was the Aarhus-Hammel-Thorsø Railway, which was opened between Aarhus and Hammel in 1902 and in 1914 was extended from Hammel to Thorsø on the Diagonal Line. This line, which was closed in 1956, started from Hammelbanegården on Carl Blochs Gade 28. Until 1 July 2011, the building was used as a city museum. Now it has become the citizens' house and the volunteer center Folkestedet. Hammelbanen's route can still be followed on long stretches through Viby and Stavtrup.