Not many cities are defined by a museum, but not many cities have a rainbow-coloured halo glowing day and night in its city centre. Known as the City Of Smiles, Aarhus offers the best of Denmark on a smaller scale than big-city Copenhagen. The youthful vibe is not illusory; thanks to the fact that one third of the city's population is between the ages 20 and 35, there is always something to do, whether attending a Coco Rosie concert in town or watching reenactments of Viking battles on the edge of it.
The city's star attraction is the ARoS Museum, whose building is the work of Danish architects Schmidt Hammer Lassen. ARoS is crowned by a rainbow halo created by the celebrated Icelandic/Danish artist Olafur Eliasson. Built with a pedestrian thoroughfare through its ground floor-the better to have people engage with the building even when on their way elsewhere-the ARoS rainbow halo has become the city's most recognisable symbol, displacing the enormous sculpture of a crouching boy by Australian hyperrealist sculptor Ron Mueck that is also found at the museum.
Such avant-garde art is de rigueur in Aarhus. As a city with more than 40,000 university students, Aarhus is a place that attracts young people from all over Europe and the world. There is a casual, almost Californian vibe here, a place where creativity and innovative are highly encouraged. The amusingly named Lunchmoney Gallery is a perfect example; owned and run by a 27-year-old young man, himself a student, to encourage up and coming artists to pursue their visions, Lunchmoney Gallery is located on Vestergade, an artsy street that is home to several galleries and bohemian cafés. Students of the city's respected Aarhus Art Academy, on this street as well, are immersed in a world of artistic support.
Another popular attraction in Aarhus is Den Gamle By (The Old Town), an open-air museum of Danish architecture that works to conserve the country's architectural history as much as to enlighten visitors to buildings and their uses in times past.
Thanks to an impetus put forth by Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary and the efforts of the ARoS Museum's director, Jens Erik Sørensen, Aarhus also enjoys its role as the host city for the Danish counterpart to Sydney's Sculpture By The Sea art exhibition. The Danish version takes place every two years in odd-numbered years, but the big Aarhus Festival is an annual event. The Aarhus Festival brings together artists, musicians, and other performers who take the city by storm with a calendar packed with action for ten days during the last week of August and beginning of September. This year's Festival takes place 26 August-4 September.
To encourage locals and visitors to enjoy the outdoors in summer, Aarhus runs a free bicycle program that lets anyone have a bike to use with a simple coin deposit that is returned when the bike is returned to any rack in the city. The bicycles have been available since 1 May and the program runs until 31 October.
Monday, 17 October 2011
Aarhus, Denmark's City Of Smiles
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: R.L.B