Danish Language Blog

Aarhus Festuge 2012 Posted by on Sep 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

People enjoying life during the festuge. Notice the artificial green hill to the right, as well as the Aros art museum in the background (with its ”rainbow” artwork on the roof).

As I write this, Århus is slowly recovering from last week’s festuge [FESToo’eh] (festive week, party week). With a quarter of a million indbyggere (inhabitants), the second largest city of Denmark and the capital of Jylland (the Jutland peninsula) has indeed got the human resources to stage a party! 🙂

Århus Festuge (or Aarhus Festuge, as it was re-spelled last year) has been an annual tradition for a long time. The first week of september, the byråd (city council) and hundreds of medhjælpere (assistants) from a multitude of organizations go all out to make a great and memorable week for locals and tourists alike. Musicians, performers and writers from all over the world are brought in to entertain in such locations as Musikhuset (the music house); cafés and restaurants boom; unusual works of art are put on display in the streets. (A few years back you could take a seat in the world’s longest red leather sofa on Store Torv!)

No Danish festival would be complete without the Danish national drink – øl (beer). During the festuge, mobile vendors of fadøl (draught beer) pop up everywhere, alongside sellers of fastfood (yes, we use that word in Danish too). Bænk/e (bench/es) are placed in the public squares, and musicians and street artists entertain into the small hours. At Pustervig Torv (torv means ”square”) there’s usually a huge telt (tent) with happy people and bands playing inside. Go there for some raw covers of the most folksy Danish popular music!

Each festuge has a tema (theme). These themes may seem a bit random, but I guess the people in the city council have a great time brainstorming! 🙂 This year’s theme was ”Big – size matters”. (As the current administration firmly believes that the English language will attract more investors and tourists to Århus, the catchphrase appears just so – without any translation to Danish.)

One of the main draws of this year’s festival was a huge green area between Rådhuset (the city hall) and Musikhuset (the music house). True to the festival’s ”theme”, an entire street had been covered with grass mats, turning two neighboring parks into one! Furthermore, a couple of artificial grassy hills as well as an artificial geyser had been erected. The latter was spouting piles of vand [van] (water) every now and then – to many children’s great delight.

If you plan to visit Denmark in September 2013, be sure not to miss next year’s Aarhus festuge!


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About the Author: Bjørn A. Bojesen

I was born in Denmark, but spent large parts of my childhood and study years in Norway. I later returned to Denmark, where I finished my MA in Scandinavian Studies. Having relatives in Sweden as well, I feel very Scandinavian! I enjoy reading and travelling, and sharing stories with you! You’re always welcome to share your thoughts with me and the other readers.