The art galleries, museums and festivals of Aarhus

View of Aarhus waterfront

With a large student population to entertain, it's no surprise to learn that Aarhus is packed with cultural attractions. Here's a rundown of the top museums, concert halls and festivals in Denmark's second-largest city.

Moesgård Museum

The Moesgård Museum's impressive archeology and ethnography collection is scattered across fields and woodlands as well as the three stories of the new, wedge-shaped central building. Spend an afternoon wandering past Viking churches and neolithic tumuli burial mounds, or study rune stones and take a peek at the Grauballe Man, the naturally preserved corpse of a man who was likely sacrificed during the Germanic Iron Age.

The museum, designed by Henning Larsen Architects and opened in 2014, is itself a marvel. Designed to blend seamlessly with the natural surroundings, its grass-covered roof makes for an ideal picnic spot in the summertime, while the ceilings were designed to allow natural light to seep into every level.

Moesgård Museum, Aarhus

Musikhuset Aarhus

The largest concert hall in all of northern Europe, Musikhuset Aarhus is the home base for the Danish National Opera, Aarhus Symphony Orchestra and Royal Academy of Music. Located just steps away from our Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel, Aarhus, its packed calendar of events welcomes comedy festivals, international artists and cabaret performances. The upcoming autumn season includes the hit musical Grease, running from September 16-20, An Evening with Crosby, Stills and Nash on October 9, and smash hit children's show Dinosaur Zoo on October 16-17.

Den Gamle By

If you liked the Viking towns at Moesgård, you’ll love the historical reenactments at Den Gamle By, an open-air museum that consists of over 75 historically accurate buildings. The oldest date back to the 16th century, with the most modern section recreating 1970s Denmark. A great way to get your whole family involved in history, kids can dress up in traditional clothing and visit the stables to pet horses. Between Easter and December 30, actors in authentic costume fill the stores and streets, ready to tell you all about their daily life in another time. With a Toy Museum, Poster Museum, Mintmaster's Mansion and Gallery of Decorative Arts also on-site, you need at least three hours to do Den Gamle By justice.

Aarhus Festival

One of the largest cultural events in Scandinavia, this year’s Aarhus Festival celebrates the theme Light, More Light. From August 28 to September 6, the city will host events ranging from gallery openings to stand-up comedy routines and performance art. The festival includes La Soirée Extraordinaire, a nine-night cabaret takeover of the Tivoli Friheden, and an art installation of five giant rabbit sculptures in City Hall Park.

For music, head to Multisal, Dokk1, near the Aarhus harbor, and watch the Aarhus Jazz Orchestra play Lights by Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard and Jacob Kirkegaard. To interpret the festival theme, the orchestra will play in near darkness, allowing listeners to experience how the body is affected by sound. Another highlight will be the The Light & Love of South Africa, featuring Dizu Plaatjies on marimba, accompanied by almost 100 students from the Royal Academy of Music. Many events are free, but some require tickets, so check online to make sure you don’t miss out.

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