Guide: How to make the most of the Opening

Guide: How to make the most of the Opening


When the European Capital of Culture opens this Saturday, it will be all go in every way in Aarhus. Thousands of people will visit Aarhus when a lively parade with six huge, illuminated ships and a profusion of smaller boats move through the streets – accompanied by choir singers, live images, fireworks and entertainment.

From free city buses and car-free zones to coffee stalls, social media and the location of toilets: This is your guide to having a great time at the opening of Aarhus 2017.

Get ready for this year's greatest cultural event
Join us on Saturday 21 January at 19:00. It will be a blast! Experience the official opening of European Capital of Culture 2017 first-hand, when Aarhus begins the year with a large-scale international event packed with entertainment, fireworks and choir singing. The city will be transformed into a sea of warmth, light and hope for the future when thousands of choir singers and illuminated ships move through the streets of Aarhus in a spectacular parade.

A good experience for all – remember to bring a little patience
The procession starts at Musikhuset (the Concert Hall) at 19:00 and continues through the city, ending in a magnificent show at Aarhus Harbour by Mindet at around 20:30. The grand opening event is expected to gather between 50,000 and 60,000 spectators and participants, so the streets of Aarhus will be crowded.

We encourage everybody to show patience and consideration, so that we can all have a great evening! There will be designated spectator areas along the route by Rådhusparken (the City Hall Park), Hovedbanegården (the Central Railway Station), Rutebilstationen (the Central Bus Station) and by Aarhus Harbour at Mindet. Some of the places will feature big screens.

See the map of the route here

The weather forecast looks promising
According to, spectators and the many thousands of participants in the parade can expect clear weather with temperatures around 5 degrees. But remember to wrap up in warm clothes.

See the latest weather forecast here

Participation is free
You don't need a ticket to participate in the opening of Aarhus 2017. Follow the parade from the pavements along the entire route, or position yourself around one of the spectator spots in the city centre. Each of these areas will feature live activities for spectators to experience when the parade passes by.

City buses free of charge
The City of Aarhus and the Aarhus 2017 Foundation invite everybody to ride free of charge on the city buses in Aarhus between 14:00 and 00:00. Almost all city bus routes will be rescheduled between 16:00 and 23:00, and the stops in the city centre will be moved to Mølleparken, Nørregade and Harald Jensens Plads.

For information about schedules and changes to the bus routes

Car-free zones and alternative parking
We encourage everybody to cycle or use public transport. If this is not possible, you should be aware that for practical and security purposes, the city centre will be a car-free zone from 16:00 to 23:00 (Link: Map of car-free streets). It will therefore not be possible to park your car on the streets or in the parking facilities in the city centre that are within the cordoned-off area.

The organisers recommend that instead, you park outside the city centre in one of the following car parks. From here, you can get a city bus to and from the city centre free of charge.

In connection with the car-free zone from 16:00 to 23:00, please refer to the taxistands at Bispetorvet and the temporary taxistand in Sydhavnsgade.

Follow the event on social media, and share your photos with the rest of the world
Aarhus 2017 want to share the evening with the rest of the world and encourage everybody to take photos and videos throughout the event and share them via #aarhus2017 and #officialopening. The organisers will continually post images and videos on social media throughout the event. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.

Also remember that DR1 will broadcast the event live from 19:00.

Where to get food and drink
Throughout the event, you can buy coffee from BKI's stalls, which will be set up in the start and finishing areas. Please note that you can only pay by credit card or MobilePay – cash cannot be used. Bars, restaurants and cafés will be open as usual.

Find inspiration about places to eat here

A good experience for children and families
If you bring children to the opening ceremony, it will be a good idea to come early and position yourselves in the areas around the different spectator spots. These will have big screens so that the youngest children will also be able to watch what happens, even if you are not at the front. It will be possible to buy food and drink at the different restaurants and cafés in the city, but due to the large number of people expected, it might be sensible to bring food and drink with you from home.

Facilities for people with disabilities
The official opening is accessible for people with walking disabilities. The areas along the parade route have level-free access with an even and stable surface. The first part of the show can be experienced from Frederiks Allé by the Skating Rink / Ridehuset. At Aarhus Harbour, the last part of the show can be followed from a podium.

You can see a map of the disabled facilities here

Toilet facilities
Toilets, including some with access for people with disabilities, will be set up by Rådhusparken (the City Hall Park) and by the Harbour. In addition to these, you can use the city's other public toilets – see map.

Do you need further information?
You can find all necessary information at Aarhus 2017's website.

The website will be updated continually right through to the opening. For a map with practical info, see here.

In connection with the opening event, information booths will be set up by the City Hall, the Railway Station, the Bus Station and the Harbour. You can also call us at tel. +45 2017 0094 about practical issues – including traffic, parking and lost property.