Aarhus- A Cultural Jewel

Aros Museum’s rainbow roof

Aarhus is a compact, totally walkable little city that’s a three hours train ride north (and a few degrees colder) of Copenhagen.

So how did we manage to walk almost 8 miles (18,500 steps) on our first day? Walking around in circles at Olafur Eliasson’s extraordinary “Your Rainbow Panorama” circular roof atop the Aros Contemporary Art Museum! This is a spectacular topping to this luscious cake of a museum.

We spent two glorious days in Aarhus. Museums, gourmet meals, a beautiful harbor, and cafe-ringed canals, darling medieval streets filled with bakeries, cafes, boutiques and more. And a spectacular spired Gothic church (circa 1300) right across from us, whose bells pealed us awake at 8 am every day.

But the real reason we shlepped 3 hours to Aarhus was to see a library!

Dokk1 isn’t just a library, it’s a community center with art, cafes, play spaces for kids and windows everywhere providing light and respite from cold, rainy days. You could spend the day here… and we almost did! And did I mention the modern architecture that anchors it to the harbor or maybe vice versa. I first learned about Dokk1 and Aarhus from an article in the New York Times when it won the world library association’s award for best new library. Worth the trip if you love libraries & books!

On our second and rainy day, we took the bus to another architectural wonder 30 minutes away. The Moesgaard Museum has anthropological exhibits but it’s claim to fame is the beautiful building built right into the hillside. Tho I was more enamores of the little robot lawnmowers clambering all over the hillside!

Oh! I didn’t mention our hotel, The Hotel Royal. It was in fact a royals’ summer residence and now is an antique-filled, gold-plated (even the toilet)venue with Denmark’s oldest elevator. It’s not our taste or usual level of hotel digs but we loved the location right next to the narrow, cobble-stoned streets of the Latin Quarter and a convenient walk to everything else.

This morning, after another big Scandinavian breakfast, we strolled around the corner to our favorite bakery for sandwiches on rustic bread and pastries for a picnic on our 4 hour trip to Malmo, Sweden. I’m writing on the train, a good time to reflect on and curate our experiences for you, my dear readers!

Dokk1 Library
People “dock” here for hours.
Children welcome in this arty library cum community center
Aros Museum – Art that’s both serious and…
…and playful.
Canal life…
I wasn’t kidding about the gold plating everywhere at our Hotel Royal!
Medieval church

Moesgaard Museum built into the hillside — a pastoral setting outside town.

The hills are alive with robot lawneaters!


  1. Great article, loved the museum(s), especially the hillside …. and the robot gardeners!

    I think people get so taken with the “villagey” cafe setting they may fail to look up. Was very interested in the row buildings, most of which am guessing have been there for centuries (no?), each one a gem of design and construction, textures of materials and blending colors so that they don’t overpower but so well done.

    Loved the Eliasson rainbow walk. He did the “waterfall” under the Brooklyn Bridge some time back. It was interesting but not as composed and integrated as your experience in the rainbow.

    This trip, so long in coming, seems like it might surpass all others. And no pictures of sardines!!!!

    All good here….S

    Liked by 1 person

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