Århus: Art City

Nestled between Aalborg and southern Denmark lies an enclave of culture known as Aarhus. A city of substantial size – 275,000 inhabitants – in a fairly small country, Aarhus packs a major artistic punch not to be missed.

Given my current zip code, booking transportation can be challenging (read: unacceptable foreign credit cards, Google Translate incompatibility), but chalk another one up for the Danes – they’ve got that on lock, too. DSB trains are efficient, timely, and extremely comfortable. As it was school vacation week, I opted to reserve a seat (always worth checking before booking!). Since my timing was flexible, I opted for the orange ticket – cheaper fares found at slightly less-traveled times. Very easy on the wallet in a country that leans towards the pricier side.

Pulling into Aarhus’ Central Station, I followed the signs to luggage storage. I easily deposited my overnight bag at the cost of 20 Danish krona for 24 hours (roughly 3USD). As I had opted to travel without a SIM card or an international phone plan – digital detachment being the vacation goal – I had prepped by downloading the city limits of Aarhus on Google Maps. Plugging in my first destination, the ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, I set off into the chilly, grey morning on foot.

My destination was less than a kilometer from the station and I spotted its famed rooftop installation almost immediately. The Rainbow Pavilion had attracted my eye on an Instagram feed, leading me to plan this stop on my return trip to Copenhagen.

ARoS did not disappoint. Within the museum’s impressive contemporary art collection, I spotted works by artists I recognize and noted a few new names to investigate.

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World-renowned American artist Julian Schnabel’s canvases stretch over 40 feet high in ARoS’ cavernous underground galleries. Though I’m not necessarily a huge fan, I have to give him credit for these massive undertakings.

After wandering the galleries, I made my way to the museum’s roof. Perched on a hilltop, the building already has a height advantage over the surrounding low-lying city below. If you add a tunnel of the color continuum, you’re in business – views for days, and ever evolving ones thanks to the blustery autumn day.

I enjoyed my time in Aarhus so much that I’ve made a promise to return. With delicious restaurants, pedestrian walkways, and plenty of good shopping, there’s a lot to love. A few hours later, I arrived found myself back in Copenhagen for the evening. After spending time loading up on groceries not found in Moscow, I wandered the canal sidewalks, watching the lights of the row houses dance on the water. Denmark has a very special charm, buttoned up in stormy navy blue skies and shimmering golden light. Until next time…