Amazing Aarhus – European Capital of Culture 2017

Last updated May 24, 2021

This year is a big year for travel and tourism to Aarhus, Denmark. It is time for this beautiful town to be the European capital of culture. This means a whole year with activities and attractions in and around Aarhus. 

We went on a press trip with Visit Denmark to the beautiful town of Aarhus in Jylland. What an amazing place to spend a couple of days. We got the honor of taking part in their press conference where they presented the program for the whole year. We were given a huge book with everything that will be going on. The more I look in the book, the more do I want to spend the whole year in Aarhus.

There will be so much going on that it would be impossible to list it all here. However I do want you to get the information of what will be going on so that is the reason for this post. I have picked three of my favorite parts from the program and will list it month by month. In that case you can plan your trip to Denmark during a period when there is something special going on.
European Capital of Culture

What to do in Aarhus during the Capital of Culture year?

Do you like theatre? Like to eat? Do you prefer taking a bike ride? There is something for everyone. The theme will be “Rethink: Think the new, think anew, think again!” And the patron Her Majesty Queen Margarethe II wrote a message in the book. Here is a quote that I loved:
In Denmark, we enjoy a good celebration. An entire year of celebrating the best of Danish and international art – a year of inspiration and perhaps even provocation – is definitely worth looking forward to.
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The opening of the year as European Capital of Culture starts 20th and 21st January. It will be across the region and everyone is invited! There are some things extra not to miss out during the opening. Land of Wishes – Regional Children’s Opening is on the 20th. Dawn Ride is on the 21st and is a bike ride in the dawn. Message to the Future is presented by the Aarhus School of music and you will find them singing in the “Musikhuset” during both days. On the 21st Sunleif Rasmussen will share his fanfare that he created for this year.

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PS: Many of the events have a long duration and I am just listing in which month they start. Many of them will be open for long and some of them are permanent. Also keep in mind that even if I wrote Aarhus – the events will be scattered around the country.

Aarhus in January

  • 2017 inhabitants of Aarhus. Share your story. This is for everyone that has something to tell. This is for the people of Aarhus and the result will be of how it is to be an inhabitant of Aarhus 2017. I love the idea.
  • Thomas Hirschhorn – artist. He uses common materials such as cardboard, foil and plastic wrap. Make sure to check out his artwork.
  • Exhibition at Museum in Ostjylland. This will be one of the largest historical initiatives in Aarhus in 2017. It will offer you a historical tour stretching over 10.000 years.

Aarhus in February

  • Danish jewelry from the 20th century – a exhibition at “Den Gamle By”. Come and see iconic work by famous people. This sounds amazing and make sure to stroll around in “Den Gamle By” as well while here.
  • The Kunsthal and the Villages. There will be an contemporary art exhibition around nine villages in the central Denmark. Am I the only one who wants to see them all?
  • Seven Deadly Sins. Make sure to visit seven different museums to see all of the seven deadly sins in society today. Seven large scale exhibitions that needs to be seen.

Aarhus in March

  • Culture by Bike. Bike around a route and explore 450 km of beautiful Denmark. Make stops along the road and visit museums, take a dip and just enjoy life.
  • Stand-Alone. A solo performance festival. This is something unique and the only one of its kind in Europe. There will be theatre, dance and performance art.
  • The Overheard. Become attuned to the distinction between music, noise and ambient sounds. For example there will be forest megaphones – how cool is that?!

Aarhus in April

  • Tree Of Codes. Music, dance, lights and structure – all in one. This will be a collaboration that you do not want to miss! This will be played at the Aarhus music hall April 27th – April 29th. Make sure to check it out!
  • The Crime Book Festival. What better place to host this event than in a former prison? This feels so 2017. Different authors from around the world will be there. This will take place in the 1st and 2nd of April.
  • AquaSonic – An underwater Concert. That is exactly what is says – a concert under water! Have you ever seen that? Me either… not yet! This will be played the 1st and 2nd of April and again in November. I will not want to miss that!

Aarhus in May

  • UP! This will be a series of art exhibitions in the streets of Aarhus. This will make you look up and amazing art will be displayed in windows, rooftops and on balconies. What an amazing idea to make us look up!
  • Film in the Forest. Watch a movie surrounded by trees and take part in workshops and concerts. It says it is for children and families but I am adult and I would love to be there so I might end up in the forest. Riis skov, to be exact. This is held in May 12th to 14th.
  • See “Röde Orm”. This is a true viking saga that will be performed at the roof of Moesgdaard Museum. An event that I am sure will have a lot of visitors.

Aarhus in June

  • Life boats by – Marit Benthe Norheim. Huge sculptures that are made into boats and take you around the harbor and fjords. Yes you red it right – sculptures that are boats! What a great way to travel! This is a project that took eight years to create.
  • “Where there´s a will…” This will be an reconstruction of a prisoner who escaped from prison by digging a 18 meter long tunnel. You will learn of how he made it and follow in his footsteps. How cool is that?!
  • Hidden Places. It is time for some of Aarhus nooks and crannies to get a new life and gather people. The promise is that roof-tops will never feel the same again.

    European capital of culture, City center

Aarhus in July

  • Museum in Reverse. This is so cool (I think at least). Everything that is in the museum will be taken outside and vice versa. I have no idea of how it will turn out but I can’t wait to see it!
  • 29th Aarhus Jazz Festival. There will be more than 230 concerts in cafés, churches, concert halls and more. There will be both international artists and local talents.
  • Eutopia 2017. This will be an international festival that combines artists from all over the world. This will be showed from July 26th until July 30th.

Aarhus in August

  • The Motor Company. Den Gamle By in Aarhus will open a car dealer with a garage from the 1920s. Here you will be able to see old cars from that era and there will also be workshops and loads of fun stuff.
  • Aarhus walks on water. This will be a fashion show that will appear on a floating runway. I believe that this is a must see wether you are a fashionista or not!
  • River Art 2017. Between the 15th and 19th of August, the Sikeborg Harbour and Remstrup stream will become a work of art. Water by itself is art so it is super exciting to see how it will be done in real life. Exiting!

Aarhus in September

  • Food and more food. There will be focus on food during the whole year but in the beginning of September there will be a Food Festival. This will be the biggest food event in Northern Europe. That sounds so good… literally.
  • HUman NAture. This will be a theatrical experience with headphones. Yes once seated you will get headphones and enter another world. A world where a woman has lost her touch with nature.
  • Watermusic. The Randers Harbor will be transformed into a scene with lighting, sound and 3D projections. It is a love story between the land and water. Sounds like a must see thing in September.

Aarhus in October

  • Image Storm, Blasphemy, Gender and Otherness. There are images that have been baned over the years. Some of them because they were thought to be provocative and some because of their religious message. Now it is time to shine a light at censored images. This will be done in October.
  • New Danish Modern. Denmark is design and this exhibition will show just that. There will also be hands on workshops and Pop-up venues. Lets talk design!
  • 2097: We Made Ourselves Over. The theatrical group Blast Theory have created a work that will take the visitors on a journey. A journey to an unknown city in the year 2097.

Aarhus in November

  • Move for Life. This will be an inspirational event to make you want to move more. Run, jump, hike, hop and lots of stuff during November. A museum will be open for a midnight run to. I am not a runner but I thing I would do it at a museum.
  • A Magical Christmas Experience. Once again, Den Gamle By, will host their christmas market. What a magical place to have a christmas market. Open- air stalls and fire shows will leave you impressed.
  • Hunger. This will be a different hybrid of a theatre with puppets, dance and animation. This will be shown during November 11th and 12th.

Aarhus in December

  • Seahorses – Myths and Straw Bales. Icelandic horses, flamenco dancers and tractors, to name a few things you will se during this event.
  • World At Your Feet. Experience the worlds best flamenco dancers that interpret danish folk music and dance. This will be held in five different cities around Aarhus.
  • Enjoy winter and Aarhus. A point we added ourselves.

Aarhus all year

  • Nathan Coleys illuminated textwork. These will be able around the region during the whole year.
  • Andreas Bosshard SonicArc. Mixed and re-mixed composition that also includes public recording sessions.
  • Hesitation if Light. Aarhus iconic Cityring bridge will be light up! Can you imagine the pictures you can snap here?!

You can read more about European capital of culture Aarhus events during 2017 by visiting their website
All of the information and pictures where taken during a press trip with Visit Denmark. You can read more about it here.

For more things to do in Aarhus: Check out this City guide

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