Architectural Aarhus: Discover the 2017 European Capital of Culture

Your Rainbow Panorama ARoS Aarhus art museum

January 6, 2017 • lifestyle • Views: 5480

Denmark’s second city will be stepping out of Copenhagen’s shadow and into the limelight in 2017. Of course, Aarhus residents have known for years that their city has a lot to share and be proud of, and now the 2017 European Capital of Culture will get the chance to shine and show off its Michelin-star gastronomy and first-class attractions and events to the rest of the world.

The city will celebrate Danish cultural traditions with art, dance and music events, but it will also look to the future with a theme of ‘Let’s Rethink’. Let’s Rethink is about innovation, change, sustainability; and the stunning Scandinavian architecture we’ve seen from the city shows that Aarhus is already well on its way! Here are just a few of the 2017 European Capital of Culture’s architectural highlights:


Your Rainbow Panorama / ARoS Aarhus Art Museum

One of the biggest art museums in Scandinavia is crowned by a 360-degree rainbow-coloured walkway above the city. ‘Your Rainbow Panorama’ is a 150-metre-long pathway that shows off every angle of Aarhus through the whole colour spectrum.

Your Rainbow Panorama ARoS Aarhus Art Museum

Your Rainbow Panorama ARoS Aarhus Art Museum

The glass-panelled installation from Danish/Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson measures an impressive 52 metres in diameter, but the stunning architecture at the ARoS Aarhus Art Museum doesn’t end on the rooftop.

ARoS Aarhus Art Museum

The atrium’s curved balconies and coiling staircase create a focal point between the ten exhibition floors in Denmark’s second most-visited museum.


Moesgaard Museum

Innovative architecture meets prehistory at the striking new Moesgaard Museum. Covered in grass and moss, the museum’s sloping roof seems to climb out of the surrounding natural landscape south of Aarhus.

Mosegaard Museum, Aarhus, Denmark

Mosegaard Museum, Aarhus, Denmark

The ‘evolutionary stairway’ leading to the exhibition rooms is also one of the building’s key architectural elements. Rather fittingly, the terraced interior is inspired by archaelogical excavation – the world’s best-preserved bog body is the Moesgaard’s star exhibit!


Isbjerget / The Ice Berg

Old industrial harbour fronts are now prime property in many waterfront cities, and Aarhus has just been added to that list. Sharp peaks and troughs and cool colours give this residential complex an arctic optic that resembles floating icebergs all at sea.

Ice Berg, Aarhus, Denmark

Isbjerget site, Aarhus, Denmark

Part of the blossoming new Aarhus Ø district, the Building of the Year 2015 was designed by Danish architects CEBRA to optimise sunlight and spectacular sea views for its 7,000 residents. The building’s jagged lines and criss-cross structure lets in as much natural light as possible and means almost every apartment enjoys a view of the sea. The polished marble–white terrazo concrete composite walls are built to provide quality sunlight and withstand the salty sea air from Aarhus Bay.


Musikhuset / Concert Hall

A 2,000 m² foyer surrounded by glass on three sides makes the Musikhuset visually imposing, but it’s the architecture inside that makes it an absolute must for any audiophile. Since its ambitious 2005-2008 expansion, the largest concert hall in Scandinavia is now home to six different music halls. Each hall’s acoustics are built specifically according to a musical genre. The 2007 Symphony Hall’s proportions are inspired by one of the world’s most highly-regarded concert halls – Vienna’s Golden Hall.

Musikhuset, Aarhus Concert Hall

Musikhuset Aarhus Concert Hall

The atmospheric glass foyer houses various artworks and hosts free concerts every weekend. The inhouse restaurant, ‘johan R’, honours one of the building’s original architects Johan Richter.


Botanical Gardens

One of the oldest parks in the city has had an exciting update with its recent greenhouse renovations. C.F. Møller’s iconic original palm house has been restored and a brand new state-of-the-art tropical greenhouse has been added.

Aarhus Botanical Garden tropical greenhouse
With an organic, snail-like form, the 18-metre-high tropical hothouse fits right in with its botanical surroundings and allows an elevated walk above the tree-tops. The building’s domed shape and exact orientation according to the compass cleverly conserve energy and optimise sunlight conditions throughout the year.


City Hall

Eighty years after its conception, the Aarhus City Hall is still a shining example of modernist functionalism and Scandinavian design. The original 1937 design by Arne Jacobsen and Erik Møller didn’t include the 60 m tall landmark clock tower, but one was soon added to the plans to keep the townspeople happy.

Aarhus City Hall, Denmark

Outside the building is covered in 6,000 m² of Norwegian marble, while inside the architects opted for opulent brass and bronze detail, with oak parquet and ceramic tile flooring.

Visitors – and residents – obviously have a lot to look forward to from Aarhus, particularly in 2017. Along with its beautiful buildings and attractions, the city boasts some amazing restaurants and will be hosting hundreds of events this year. With so much going on, we suspect we may well pay Aarhus another visit before the year is through.


Pictures courtesy of; Ice Berg picture 2 source: Mikkel Frost on

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