Aarhus Through These Eyes

After living in Melbourne my entire life I never thought that I could feel so comfortable in a place that is miles away from ‘Home’.

This little story is Aarhus through a temporary resident’s eyes, written while living in the city that now feels like an alternate Home.

View of Olafur Eliiasson’s ‘Your Rainbow Panorama’ Atop ARos, from the roof of Godsbanen

Aarhus Is

Aarhus is a city of old and new; respecting a rich cultural heritage while using education as a platform for leading the future. As a city that boasts an ancient Viking history combined with an ambitious, youthful population, Aarhus is a city inspired to change the future and make it a place where anyone can innovate on a local scale and contribute to a changed global consciousness.

Aarhus is a small city within a small country, a small city with big ideas and critical voices that are ready to share, innovate and create in collaboration with others.

Aarhus is a city that meets the sea, a city where the combination of nature and urban spaces creates a unique landscape that is waiting to be explored. This mix of nature and urban planned spaces promotes a collective respect for sustainable design and healthy living.

In Summer, the citizens of Aarhus can be found basking in the sunshine, swimming in the cool North Sea, exercising in the forest or sipping on a cool drink at a cafe on the cobbled streets of the Latin Quarter. They will be playing football in the botanic gardens, discovering new music in unexpected places and eating organic, seasonal produce in restaurants along the canals.

In Autumn you will see the landscape begin to undress before your eyes. The leaves will change colour and fall gently from the trees, blanketing the city in tones of red, yellow and orange. As the leaves fall and the sun starts to hide behind the clouds the rain will begin to fall, feeding the earth in preparation for the winter. At this time of year you will see the citizens of Aarhus enjoying the last moments of sunshine as the ‘City of Smiles’ prepares itself for the harshest annual change of season.

In Winter you won’t find the citizens of Aarhus outside so much, but you will find an abundance of hygge wherever you go. Winter is cosy season in the region’s capital, the season for dressing up as the landscape dresses down. Winter is the season where you’ll see red nosed Danes frantically pedalling on their bikes to reach the warmth offered by their destination. You’ll find them drinking sweet, dark Julebryg in cosy bars and getting together with friends to enjoy comforting meals around a big table. You’ll experience the excitement surrounding Christmas preparations, see quirky decorations at the old town, Den Gamble By, and bare witness to the silly Christmas traditions that are so entrenched in Danish culture.

In Spring, the trees begin to dress-up once more and the citizens of Aarhus re-inhabit the parks, forest areas and the seaside as they begin to enjoy nature once more. The University Park fills with students who are eager to learn, share, discover and communicate. A new academic semester brings with it a new group of internationals who offer diverse perspectives that enhance the city’s learning. The ‘City of Smiles’ returns to its happy place at this time of year as colour returns to the streets of the city and the faces of it’s people.

Aarhus is a small city with big ambitions, a place that nurtures creativity in every discipline and an historic community that is well on it’s way to further embracing diversity and substantially contributing to a sustainable future. The people of Aarhus are young minds and creative spirits with stories to share.

A version of this work was originally submitted as University coursework with the aim of promoting Aarhus as the European Capital of Culture for 2017.

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