Denmark’s second largest city, Aarhus, offers a vibrant art and cultural scene making it an excellent choice for an “art-house” weekend away. Its heady mixture of old-world charm, vibrant social life and rich beautiful scenery, make the perfect ingredients for a relaxing city break.
Aarhus is situated on the East Coast of Jutland and combines a blend of Scandinavian charm, European style and Jutlandic humour. Retaining its status from the 70s as Denmark’s “City of Music”, Aarhus has continued to grow its well-deserved reputation for nurturing and supporting the arts with theatres, museums, galleries and music venues popping up throughout the city. The picturesque streets of the inner city have a tempting cafe scene, while there is also an array of good restaurants and an opportunity to relax in some of the cosiest pubs in Europe. Whether you go shopping in the city’s main thoroughfare or in the narrow, winding alleys of the Latin Quarter, you are sure to be spoilt for choice.
If museums are more your thing than shopping, you will be impressed by Aarhus’s recent and most impressive development, the Aros Museum of Modern Art. Opened in 2004, this striking modernist white building has put Aarhus firmly on the map as a city of art and culture.
One of the largest and most architecturally impressive museums in Northern Europe, Aros Museum of Modern Art houses the largest collection of art in Denmark outside Copenhagen. The collection spans some 300 years, from traditional Danish to contemporary international works of art. Ever evolving, the museum’s newest installation on the roof, “Sky Space” by the Danish artist Olafur Eliasson, is due to open within the next year or two. In addition to this art powerhouse, Aarhus’s smaller modern galleries and handicraft workshops, showcase an inspiring collection of works from world-renowned to young contemporary artists. Covering everything from paintings, ceramics, glass and textiles to handmade jewellery, many are run and owned by the artists providing the unique opportunity to meet the person behind the works of art.
However, if less static art is more to your liking, you won’t be disappointed. Resonating throughout the various concert halls, music venues and local cafes, Aarhus caters to a wide variety of music lovers with everything from opera and jazz to rock and hip-hop. Building on its standing as the “City of Music”, Aarhus also plays host to a number of internationally acclaimed festivals including the popular SPOT festival in June, Aarhus International Jazz Festival in July and Scandinavia’s largest hip hop festival ‘Aarhus Took It’ in October.
Once your thirst for music has been quenched, why not check out some of the theatre action that Aarhus has to offer? Choosing what to see could be your biggest problem though, as there are more than 30 theatres in the city offering a greatly varied and colourful theatrical programme. From classical performances at the Helsingor Theatreâ€” Denmark’s oldest theatreâ€”to more experimental acts from Teater Gruppe 38, there is something to suit all tastes and ages. For a real treat, book a prime seat in the lavishly adorned Aarhus Theatre, with its extravagantly decorated interior, or in one of the eight auditoriums at the city’s sparkling palace-like glass Concert Hall, Musikhuset Aarhus.
With so much to see and do, an excellent way of experiencing all the arts is to stay during Aarhus Festival Week. Running from mid-August to the first week in September, the festival is themed differently each year and covers everything from theatre performances, concerts, opera and ballet to sport. Alternatively, in October, a condensed version, aptly named the “Night of Culture”, offers visitors the unique opportunity to visit buildings and institutions, which are normally closed to the public, to see a selection of musical and theatre performances, poetry readings and art exhibitions all in one night.
Complemented by an excellent range of restaurants, cafes and bars, Aarhus is the perfect weekend escape to have your fill of art in a city that is sure to satisfy the hungriest of appetites. For more information on Aarhus go to: www.visitaarhus.dk