There was so much to do when I moved to Aarhus that when I finally found an apartment, a job, some great friends, furniture, a residence permit, a Danish class etc. etc. it was a huge relief, but it also left a gaping hole. I found myself with actual free time. Amazing! Now what to do with it? Over the winter months, which, thankfully, have now finally come to an end, I’d find myself becoming restless after a day of work or classes. It was too dark (or cold or windy) to enjoy the harbour or Risskov, but I also felt that I was becoming slightly too familiar with the ‘Movies Featuring a Strong Female Lead’ category on Netflix. I needed to get out of the house and find new sources of inspiration, and luckily for me, there was no shortage of things to keep me entertained in Aarhus. I have a suspicion that it’s because Aarhus is a student town, but there always seems to be something going on – festivals, workshops, seminars, debates, mixers for all tastes and interests – and most of the time they’re free or very cheap. And although many events will be in Danish, there are still loads of things on offer in English too. Below is a list and links to some of the places I’ve found that offer thought-provoking, entertaining and educational events, and even though going outdoors is much more appealing now that the weather is warming up (a teeny bit at least!), if you find yourself twiddling your thumbs on a rainy evening, I’m sure you’ll be able to find something to keep you occupied in the list below.
- Godsbanen (‘freight track’) opened just a few years ago in 2012, as a centre for interdisciplinary art and culture production. Its events include everything from local artists’ exhibitions, to graphic design courses, storytelling and thematic talks, to craft workshops and markets.You can find their events on a calendar on their website and their Facebook page. They are unfortunately not translated into English, but don’t let that intimidate you, most of the events are accessible to all.
- Studenterhus Aarhus is well-known for its Tuesday international night and free coffee for group meetings, but it is less known for its evening courses. Throughout the Autumn semester, I went to a few of their Graphic Monday courses in InDesign and Illustrator, which have already been super helpful both for work and for formatting internship applications and my CV. The Studenterhus is great in providing for the international contingent at AU, and both its website and Facebook page can be read in English.
- Since Dokk1 opened last June, it has been a hugely popular place to study, with open, light areas for group work and a silent room for more serious study. Over the past few months though, they’ve really been finding their groove in terms of providing a beautiful backdrop for diverse and wide-ranging events. A few weeks ago I attended a great conversational lecture about feminism and philosophy held as part of the Århundrets Festival, and I’ve heard from a friend that the language exchange on Monday afternoons is brilliant for meeting Danes and practising your Danish. Dokk1’s definitely making a name for itself as more than ‘just’ a library. Their Facebook page is the best (and only, as far as I can tell) place to find all its events. Again, they events are mostly advertised in Danish, but English-speakers are always welcome – so I’d recommend doing a Google translate of their events page to find out whether there’s something of interest to you.
- You’ve probably already hit up everyone’s favourite rainbow coloured tourist attraction at ARoS, but I’d definitely recommend checking out their ARoS27 club, which costs 200kr and gives you free year-round entry, plus a free guest (if they’re under 28), as well as invitations to the Lounge nights were you can mix and mingle with other ‘youths’. But even if you’re the loner type and more inclined to wander amongst the artworks alone, I think it’s an incredible deal, and the regular change of exhibitions means that you’ll be able to make great use of the membership throughout the year.
I hope that these four venues will help you on your way when you’re lacking inspiration for what to do of an evening.
I am a 24-year-old from Melbourne, Australia studying a Master’s in International Studies here at Aarhus University. I first fell in love with Denmark as an exchange student in 2013, and – like so many others – couldn’t resist coming back! I moved to Aarhus in 2015, and have loved getting to know the City of Smiles over the past semester. If you want to see some pictures of my life here you can follow me on Instagram @daniellewellings or even better, check out #yourniversity and @AarhusUni for heaps of snapshots of student life at AU.