[by Karin Barnhoorn]
You gotta love them, cities by the sea. They have the best of both worlds (including the opportunity to sail away into the great unknown if the urge comes up). Aarhus has exactly that and much more. Proximity of waves and nature, Danish Design and a variety of New Nordic Cuisine. What’s missing in this line-up? Culture. Well, it’s not without reason that Aarhus was European Capital Of Culture 2017, there is more art than one can admire in two days.
Where to start in Aarhus
Or first how to get there. Since there are several direct flights a day, Amsterdam – Billund is a good option. Only 50 minutes. Downside is that there is still a bus transfer of 1,5 hours to Aarhus city center left. Upside is that you can take in the lush, green Danish countryside.
I used the AarhusCARD, available at The Tourist Information desk at the – small – airport. Valid for the Xbus to the city, most museum entry fees, public transport and more.
Best way to get around is walk or bike. Bikes are for rent everywhere and there are more bike paths than road. No helmet needed, yeah.
Almost forgot: where to start. Rooftop! Up in the air for that birdseye view of Aarhus. Lunch at the just opened Salling Rooftop Restaurant, already the fav hang-out for all ages. Beehives, glass skywalk and incredible panoramic views of this friendly city-by-the-sea.
/ \ / \ RHUS 2017, EU capital of culture
Aarhus is a friendly host to many visitors and shares a unique cultural programme of Danish and European art. Theme for Aarhus2017 is RETHINK. Not only a theme but also a mindset since the European Capital of Culture should be a free space to experiment and rethink the way we live.
This theme provides Aarhus2017 with the opportunity to create a ‘cultural laboratory’ where innovation and alternative solutions can be developed and grow.
First culture fix must see is the ARoS Museum. Go immediately to the top and walk around in the grand rainbow installation by Olafur Eliasson for another 360 view of Aarhus. Work your way down on a Guggenheimisch way. I was deeply impressed by the BOY sculpture by Ron Mueck. Five (!) meter high and super realistic. As if he could move any minute, stand up and crack the ceiling.
I am not particularly a fan of open air museums, but Den Gamle By is fun. This village is divided in mid 1800’s, early 1900’s and the 70’s of last century. That last neighbourhood is all about walking through my youth!
Where to sleep in Aarhus
In a design hotel. Where else? Hotel Oasia is a B&B boutique hotel close to the Central Station. Perfect location to walk to different points of interests. With the Greenkey certification, Oasia has an eco-recognition for environmentally friendly business. What all rooms have in common is clean lines and Scandi design, Hästens bed and b&o phone and tv.
The lobby is Danish Design minimalistic, a place to read a magazine or meet with friends. Or type a blog post. The atmosphere is very cosy, or should I say hygge?
I am in love with the efficient bathroom, must be designed by a woman. Although small, well equipped with enough hooks, spacious shower and a tissue box with matching steel waist bin. Both mounted on the wall so no more fights with inimini Brabantia buckets placed on the bathroom floor.
Where to eat in Aarhus
Where not. Denmark equals New Nordic cuisine – in short: from farm to table in a sustainable, organic way – and that shows in the Aarhus’ food scene. From Michelin starred restaurants to popular food markets and cute little places in the Latin Quarter.
Nordisk Spisehus has a unique concept – and a chic interior. In close collaboration with leading Michelin-starred restaurants, the Danish chefs bring the world’s best gourmet dishes to Aarhus.
I had such a great evening at Haervaerk Restaurant. Great meaning not only the pure, organic food but also the enthusiastic, sincere team. Taste sensations from farm to table, as sustainable as the Danish get. Open kitchen, perfect playlist and cutlery rolled up in leather for that sturdy touch.
Danish Design, meet Beck & Kinch
If you happen to be in Aarhus between 12 and 31 october, do visit the New Danish Modern exhibition. This historical perspective on Danish Design creates a platform for the celebration of present and future design.
The exhibition is curated by the famous Danish Textile design couple, Annemette Beck and Sophie Kinch. Textile designer and architect. Mother and daughter.
I met both of them in their atelier close to the harbour area, impressed by the unique weaving process of their custom-made designs. They are the women behind numerous Chanel and Dior boutique interiors. To drop some names.
Masters in creating an ambiance where you really feel your surroundings. I could not stop touching all the samples, some fabrics are made of old bicycle tires.
Where to shop in Aarhus
Well, in the historic Latin Quarter. With its vibrant atmosphere and narrow, cobblestone streets. This area is the oldest part of Aarhus. Creative and trendy with vintage shops in backyards, a mix of artisans workshops, coffee shops, young designers and galleries. This is where you find Isabel Marant and Malene Birger. And the cute little shop of my favourite Danish chocolates, Summerbird. Tip: the Raspberry Red chocolates.
The Aarhusians (?) are relaxed with a lifely mix of youthful energy due to the 50.000+ student population. Quality of life prevails and connection to nature is important. More bikes than cars in this laid-back and charming city against a backdrop of cutting-edge architecture. Gender neutral restrooms and a Arne Jacobsen city hall clock makes it typical Danish town.
More 24H city short breaks
My stay in Aarhus was by invitation of Aarhus Tourism on behalf of Chapter Fifty. I only accept items or collaborations that answer positive to the question: “does it match my lifestyle?”. I will not promote anything that I would not wear, eat, sleep or see myself. Authenticity is very important to me. Words, photos and opinions are my own.