ARoS Aarhus Art Museum (Aarhus, Denmark)

3 hours by train from Copenhagen, Denmark. Admired the scale of the art museum in a local city, got stuck in the permanent installation exhibition area.

Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Aarhus, Denmark. Aarhus is Denmark’s second-largest city, but it takes about three hours by train from the capital, Copenhagen. This is a large-scale art museum in a provincial city in Denmark.

A large building will appear 10 minutes walk from Aarhus Central train station. The building has 10 floors. The entrance is on the 4th floor, from the ground to the 4th floor to climb a gradual staircase to enter the building. When entered, there is a museum shop on the left, a reception desk in the back, and a nice restaurant and cafe area next to the reception desk.

The exhibition rooms are on the 0th, 1st, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 8th, and 10th floors. There are lounge and restaurant on 8th and 9th floors, likely used for special events. The building is 10 stories high, so you might imagine a high-rise building with a limited area on each floor, but each floor is quite spacious. Also, when visited, seven special exhibitions were being held. I have never seen anything of this scale.

The 10th floor on the rooftop and features the circular colored walkway for which the museum is famous. The circular walkway with its rainbow-colored exterior overlooks the city of Aarhus and the sea.

Elevators and spiral staircases provide access to each floor. Directly below the colored walkway on the 10th floor. There is an atrium to the 9th floor, and a spiral staircase leads from the 0th floor to the 9th floor. It is a space I have never seen before, and it is refreshing.

The exhibition room is next to the atrium. The space on each floor was not extremely large, but it did not feel cramped either. I particularly impressed the high quality of the contemporary art pieces on the 6th floor. A video of a cowboy making strange movements. A piece of Las Vegas billboard work, display of placards held by homeless people, a video about the US-Mexico border wall, and finally a giant male figure.

The giant male figure is the size of a 4m square box, and seems to be inspired by the Aboriginal people of Australia. The artist is an Australian named “Ron Mueck”. Similar figurine works by this person are also on display at the “Towada Art Center” in Japan. It is giant figure of a middle-aged woman, and title is “Standing Woman”. Both are impressive.

The most amazing part was the installation area on the 0th floor. The rooms are separate and one work in each room. The exhibit is permanent. When I visited there were eight works. In other words, there were eight separate rooms.

It comes down to personal preference, but Mariko Mori’s “Tom Na H-iu” and James Turrell’s light works are impressive. Mariko Mori’s Tom Na H-iu original work locates at a pond in Teshima, in the Seto Inland Sea in Japan. If you impressed on this work, you should definitely visit the original in Teshima in Japan.

In addition, the “Storm House” was a work recreated the scene of a storm occurring in the space of a Japanese house. Like Mariko Mori mentioned above, this work also locates on Teshima Island in the Seto Inland Sea. This museum may have something to do with Benesse Art Site Naoshima, which manages these two works.

Personally, I feel that the format of arranging a small independent room and displaying only one work has the effect of stimulating the senses of the viewer. I felt that it is worth visiting this museum to see this installation area.

Lastly, I would like to write about the restroom. The museum’s largest restroom, located on the fourth floor where the reception, restaurant, and shop locate, is unisex. There were no urinals for men, all rooms were private, and there were no separate spaces for men and women. I have seen this format in several places in Denmark and Sweden, and it may be a sign of the high awareness of gender equality (gender-free).

Although it is inconvenient to access, it is a wonderful museum that is worth to take time to have a surprise. Please visit.

Visited in 2024.

Basic Information

​■ Name : ARoS Asrhus Art Museum
■ Address : Aros Allé 2, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark
​■ Homepage:
■ Others

  • Aarhus is 3 hours by train from Copenhagen. Day trip from Copenhagen is possible. The museum is large, so it is better to have a plan on spending at least three hours, including lunch at the cafe/restaurant. It takes about 10 minutes to walk from Aarhus station to the museum. However, in winter, the road may be snowy, and the road in front of the museum is uphill, so you need to allow plenty of time.
  • Trains to and from Copenhagen do not run according to schedule, so you need to take this into account (in the author’s case, arrived 15 minutes late on the way, and the train booked on the return was canceled, the rescheduled train arrived in Copenhagen 40 minutes late).
  • The train was packed both on the way and back. Advance ticket purchase and seat reservations are strongly recommended.