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Located in the Jutland region, Aarhus is Denmark’s second biggest city. A student population of around 41,000 – the highest concentration in Denmark – contributes to its vibrant cultural scene and youthful atmosphere. Most of them study at Aarhus University, frequently ranked among the world’s top 150.
Aarhus is often named as one of the happiest cities on the planet (Denmark itself is usually regarded as the happiest nation). This feeling is reflected by the city’s welcoming attitude to newcomers and tourists, who are helping Aarhus step out of Copenhagen’s shadow. And the optimism can even be witnessed in one of Aarhus’ top landmarks, which you’ve probably already seen on Instagram: the spectacular Rainbow Panorama above the Aarhus Art Museum, offering colourful views across the city.
Founded by the Vikings, Aarhus is now a compact, modern place that provides a friendly environment for international postgraduates. As European Capital of Culture in 2017, it punches well above its weight in a creative sense, hosting a wealth of galleries and ground-breaking contemporary architecture.
Aarhus also has a reputation for culinary excellence, boasting four Michelin-starred restaurants – remarkable given the city’s size. There’s plenty of student budget-friendly fare too, with a thriving street food scene.
A slightly less sophisticated – but nevertheless essential – part of Aarhus student life is the annual Kapsejladsen event at the university lake, which draws approximately 30,000 spectators. It’s a beer-fuelled relay race in rubber dinghies – a far cry from the Oxford and Cambridge boat race!
If you want a break from the city’s gloomy winters, you can pay a (free) visit to the Botanical Gardens’ Tropical House, which is home to plants from four climate zones.
Transport links to and from Aarhus are excellent, and Copenhagen can be reached in about three hours by train. Aarhus has its own airport, which is serviced by airlines from across Europe. Lego fanatics can reach Billund (the birthplace of the plastic bricks) in around 90 minutes by bus.
There is one public research university in Aarhus: Aarhus University, which offers more than 60 English-taught Masters programmes. Established in 1928, Aarhus University is typically ranked among the top 120 universities in the world.
Other higher education institutions in the city include Aarhus Tech, Business Academic Aarhus, the Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus and the Aarhus School of Architecture.
Aarhus has a modern knowledge and service-based economy, and is the home of several national and international firms. Arla Foods (one of the biggest dairy producers in Europe) has its headquarters in a suburb of the city, while Jysk (Denmark’s largest retailer) is also based there.
As you may expect from a country as eco-friendly as Denmark, there are also opportunities for careers in green energy: Vestas, the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer, is based in Aarhus.
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