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Aarhus (DK) is the European Capital of Culture in 2017. Aarhus is appointed as European Capital of Culture in 2017, supported by the Central Denmark Region and all of the municipalities in the region. The Aarhus 2017 project is a strong, regional joint venture, firmly rooted in the entire region.

The ECoC is among the most prestigious and visible cultural events. Each year two countries are appointed host countries for the European Capital of Culture (ECoC). Cyprus is the other host country in 2017, and the city of Pafos has been appointed ECoC.

Skive Lemvig




Holstebro Herning RingkøbingSkjern


Norddjurs Syddjurs

Silkeborg Aarhus IkastBrande

Skanderborg Horsens

Odder Samsø


What is the European Capital of Culture? EU has appointed Capitals of Culture since 1985. More than 40 cities have held the title. The object of the ECOC initiative is to strengthen European collaborations and highlight the richness and diversity of European culture. 2013: Marseille (FR) and Kosiĉe (SK) 2014: Umeå (SE) and Riga (LV) 2015: Mons (BE) and Plzeñ (CZ)

Radio Rethink

2016: San Sebastian (ES) and Wrocław (PL) 2017: Aarhus (DK) and Pafos (CY) Aarhus 2017 is a joint vision Aarhus 2017 is more than merely an arts and culture project. It will highlight urban development, integration, business development, tourism, infrastructure and international collaborations. All initiatives and projects will consistently reflect a broad degree of participation and involvement.

RETHINK RETHINK ”Freedom to think different – a laboratory for change” The theme reflects challenges of our time and our ability to think creatively. The project encourages involvement, participation and interdisciplinary collaborations. These collaborations will involve national as well as European partners.

Aarhus 2017 Vision Seminar

Challenges RETHINK addresses everyday lives and futures of citizens through new solutions for the challenges of tomorrow. RETHINK is the foundation for the Aarhus 2017 programme, compounded by five main areas: Cultural Infrastructure, Soft City, RETHINK the City, RETHINK Arts and Creativity and RETHINK Values.

RETHINK RETHINK implies that Aarhus 2017 wants to launch a cultural laboratory, where innovation and alternative solutions can find solid ground. The theme has united artists, civic organisations, cultural institutions, schools, businesses and municipalities in an effort to engage in many large and visionary projects.

Participation More than 8,000 cultural operators from all over the region and the city have already developed the theme through a number of workshops, meetings and debates, where they have also proposed specific projects. RETHINK is the product of a three year development process, which so far has generated around 100 concrete projects all over the region.

”Frit spil” (free play), workshop, Aarhus School of Architecture

Aarhus Skyline, Andreas Hvid

AIMS AND IMPACT Aarhus 2017 aims at: • Supporting long term develop- ment and significance of arts and culture • Enhancing growth through cultural development all over the region • Acting as a platform for innovation by scanning, building and creating new ways of collaborating across sectors, while developing cities, businesses and tourism in the region

• Confronting common challenges and working on joint European solutions • Developing strategic projects – some launching in 2013 – to fuel the 2017 programme • Mobilizing the transformation from a “City in Europe” to “a Euro- pean City”

Impact from Aarhus 2017 • The project strengthens the city’s long term international and crea- tive profile • The project will generate signifi- cant financial, social and not least cultural changes • The project should be seen as an urban development, which furthers short and long term development and growth

• 2017 creates spectacular, innovati ve and different cultural experi- ences for citizens and visitors • The programme strengthens col- laborations and networks between cultural operators, increases mobility among European artists and ensures high quality co productions in and across all arti stic disciplines

Organisation Aarhus 2017 has been established as an independent foundation, responsible for the further development and execution of the ECoC. The foundation is managed by a board of governors with 13 members. Seven of the board members are politically appointed, representing all citizens of the region.

The rest are representatives of the business and cultural sector. The chairman of the board is the mayor of Aarhus, Jacob Bundsgaard and Anders Byriel, CEO of KVADRAT a/s is the vice chairman

Agricultural machinery in RETHINK formation

Budget The Aarhus 2017 Foundation expects a budget of 500 m. DKK. Municipal and regional funding has been confirmed. Programme activities will account for 75 % of funds, and for the most part will be allocated to external partners. Project partners will add their own funds as well as event specific income. Total programme budget is expected to amount to 760 m. DKK.

PROCESS 2008-2012 Process 2008-2012 The process has included cultural operators, artists, citizens, schools, enterprises, municipal authorities and citizens. Each project is a product of actual needs, where cultural operators have collaborated on producing larger projects. My Hood workshop, Engdalskolen 5c, Sidsel Effersøe

Partnerships The implementation of Aarhus 2017 during the coming years is based on a number of strong, strategic partnerships with operators in the cultural, educational, business, communicative and civic sectors. This ensures a high degree of participation and rooting across the relevant communities. Theatre concert ”Hjertespejl”

Business Clusters The business clusters is an independent initiative. Around 70 businesses have created this structure because they acknowledge the value of strong involvement in Aarhus 2017.

Business cluster conference

European Networks Aarhus 2017 is characterised by employing a network mindset in many aspects of the project. Aarhus 2017 is involved in i.e. the ECoC network, Eurocities, Nordic City Network and Districts of Creativity, and Aarhus 2017 have made links to a number of international cultural operators, including fellow Capitals of Culture. Eurocities Cultural Forum

PROGRAMME AREAS RETHINK the City This programme area comprises new narratives with new perspectives on Aarhus past and future. Art routes, media routes and experience tracks will open the regional landscape, creating new connections between the periphery and the centre. Artists will work with local communities and city neighbourhoods, revealing new urban spaces for play and interaction. Many projects will connect art, nature and new media.

Smukfest, Skanderborg, Smukfest

RETHINK Values Democracy, diversity and sustainability are at the core of these projects, which includes a number of major international conferences. Local communities play an important part in grounding these activities, not least with projects involving children and young adults.

Sculpture by The Sea, Denmark. June 2009

Mejlgade for Mangfoldighed (diversity), Anne Dyhr

RETHINK Art and Creativity Festivals, major thematic exhibitions and brand new productions within all artistic disciplines, will redefine arts and creativity as a societal asset. The programme will generate change, shift perspectives and engage new audiences and local communities through art. A special programme will focus on creative industries i.e. architecture, design, fashion and new media.

Portland, USA 8th of February 2008, Vestas Workshop p책 Arkitektskolen Aarhus Portland

FIVE YEAR PROGRAMME Projects Programme activities will be launched from 2013 on, because many projects are linked to long term strategies, whereas others are new initiatives, which needs time to mature and develop. The programme will comprise 250-300 projects during the five years, and is expected to attract a total of 5 m. visitors. The Frame, Anders Bach

Masquerade, Festival of the Century, The Open University/FO Aarhus

The Cultural Programme for the year 2017 2017 will be the pinnacle, providing a year of intense, celebratory and enriching experiences. The programme is divided into three seasons – a reflexive spring, a green and open summer programme and an autumn filled with new technology and visions of the future, where youth and the young are pivotal.

Cultural Projects 2013-16 During 2013-2016, Aarhus 2017 will focus efforts on strategic development of the cultural and creative environments. The region will have around 25 new culture centres and museums by 2016. The four year competence development programme aimed at the cultural and creative sector will ensure lasting impact from Aarhus 2017 through prolific testing of new artists, formats and collaborators. Lights, Landscapes and Voices, Elle Mie Ejdrup Hansen

2017 The programme comprises approx. 100 larger projects and 200-250 smaller projects. At least half of all live programmes and exhibitions should feature productions and exhibitions specifically made for 2017.

Viborg Animation Workshop


RETHINK, Bispetorvet Night of Culture, 2011 All photos by Aarhus 2017, except where otherwise noted

Contact Aarhus 2017 E-mail: This brochure was published by Aarhus 2017 in January of 2013

CULTURAL INFRASTRUCTURE Cultural infrastructure offers the opportunity to rethink the framework for cultural production, in order to establish new relations with audiences and citizens. Involvement and participation must be increased to secure a dynamic, diverse and sustainable cultural sector. Many large cultural institutions are being built or rebuilt in the years leading up to 2017.

Moesgaard Museum is constructing new museum buildings in Aarhus, which will be finished by 2014, framing new and engaging presentations of history. The museum will present history, utilising new media, through play, learning and experience zones.

Moesgård Museum, Henning Larsen Architects

West Jutland Art Pavilion in Videbæk, which was built in 2012, focuses on the up and coming scene for art and culture, creating a new platform for interaction between local and international art, architecture and design. In 2017, Silkeborg will introduce a brand new museum, New Jorn Museum, which will visualise and communicate Jorn – his art, himself and his universe – in a unique way.

Dokk1 Aarhus’ new Main Library

New Museums Central Denmark Region is the location of four museum projects currently under construction or being planned during the build up to 2017. The Old Town in Aarhus is adding two neighbourhoods dubbed “the Modern Town”, from respectively 1927 and 1974, creating a unique narrative of industrialisation, urbanisation and social divides in society.

West Jutland Art Pavillon, Thomas Wolsing

Dokk1 in Aarhus Dokk1 is the largest of the urban developments, and by far the most ambitious cultural infrastructure project in Aarhus. Dokk1 is the library of the future, opening in 2014, and located where the city meets the harbour. The structure will become a European centre of culture, reflecting the 21st century through spaces for learning, play, debate, cultural events and even for quiet contemplation.

CULTURAL INFRASTRUCTURE New Production Centre The new hybrid art and production centre Godsbanen, opened in March 2012, establishing an innovative framework for culture production in Aarhus. The former freight yard of 10,000 m2 contains a complete cultural ecosystem with art and artists, culture producers and creative workshops.

Creative Incubators During the next decade, several buildings deemed worthy of preservation as well as abandoned industrial estates will be the new setting for a number of dynamic environments for creative industries and the culture sector. These incubators will act as regional platforms for Aarhus 2017 projects.

The Opening of Godsbanen (the Freight Yard), March 30th 2012

The Prison in Horsens Denmark’s oldest prison has been transformed, and is now an experience and knowledge centre, that will convey tales of punishment, justice, morals and ethics. The Prison launched a series of concerts in June of 2012, presenting Metallica for the opening event. The concerts will continue and culminate by 2017.

New Malt Factory in Ebeltoft The 150 year old former malt factory will undergo a comprehensive renovation, and will be a creative stronghold in the Djursland area. Ny Malt will house glass art, film production and design, with direct connections to major cultural and creative enterprises in Ebeltoft. New Malt Factory, Ebeltoft

Horsens City Centre Connection, RUMarkitekterne

Innovative City Centre Projects Horsens, Randers, Silkeborg and Viborg are experimenting with new methodologies for creating public spaces, which will increase social interaction in urban spaces. The goal is to revitalise historic quarters and find creative opportunities for neglected industrial estates.

KNOWLEDGE AND COMPETENCE DEVELOPMENT Knowledge and Competence Development Aarhus 2017 invests in development programmes within the cultural sector. This programme offers workshops, courses, education programmes, mentoring programmes, exchanges, residencies and job swaps for the culture sector. Aarhus 2017 expects more than 1,000 participants. Aarhus Theatre

Children and Young Adults Aarhus 2017 envisions the Central Denmark Region as a metropolis for children’s culture by 2017, with strong connections to similar Nordic and European networks. The European Centre for Children’s Culture is a projected part of the strategy, and will be responsible for communicating current knowledge on European level, while also securing competence development within their field.

My Hood, Gellerup 2010, Aarhus Children’s Culture

Future Art and Cultural Institutions 10-12 new educations and courses, linked through the 2017 Academytheme, offer artists, producers and administrators the opportunity to explore innovative, cultural methodologies. VIA University College implements the RETHINK-theme in many of their courses and programmes.

VIA University College, VIA University College

Creative Industries The Central Denmark Region is launching the most comprehensive, regional programme in Scandinavia, which will support and develop local, creative architecture, design and new media businesses. This programme is called “More.Creative”. Lynfabrikken in Aarhus, POLFOTO

RETHINK THE CITY RETHINK the City The city as a “cultural arena” is an approach, which Aarhus 2017 will expand through the notion that any piece of art can emerge on any given place in the city. This programme area comprises rural areas and urban landscaped, where memory and history are visible elements, strengthening the mutual sense of identity and space.

Moesgård Viking Rally, Pia Hernø

Routes and Tracks 17 historic hiking and biking routes across the region, will be charged with local tales, historical references, artistic installations and individual interpretations. For instance through the North Sea Route and “Hidden Places”, offering access to backyards and forgotten stories of the city for tourists and citizens alike.


Memory of the City Jutland & Europe City heritage is being rethought! A total of 12 special exhibitions at 12 cultural heritage museums explore routes, tracks and connections the past millennium between Jutland, Europe and the world. Exhibitions include Moesgaard’s “Vikings in Europe”, Industrial Museum’s “Made in Europe” and Gellerup’s “Turkish Immigrants from the 70s”.

Hidden Places, Annette Damgaard

Rethink the village The site offers a platform for contact between European villages, ideas and micro events. Projects will in-clude artists launching transformational processes in local communities.

Love Alley, Marianne Jørgensen, 2011

RETHINK THE CITY Open and Living City Aarhus 2017 presents a series of projects in urban spaces, including temporary and permanent activities.

The Wood, Main Square, Aarhus Festival 2010, Aarhus Festival

Mejlgade Lab+ Mejlgade Lab+ is an interdisciplinary neighbourhood development project in Aarhus, utilising the driving force of the many creative businesses, educational facilities and entrepreneurs.

Aarhus 2017, ECOC jury visit 2012

Playful City Urban spaces as a framework for play and physical activity in relation to various athletic disciplines is highlighted through a number of projects. The Ry Pulse Park has created spaces for sports and play throughout the landscape, and is expecting to develop motional activities for all citizens by 2017.


Skater, AFA (Aarhus Amateur Photographers)

Street Culture Aarhus and the region accommodate a vibrant street culture with hundreds of youths taking part in a rapidly developing sub culture. Skate Music Park is working on creating new opportunities for the Aarhus street environment, which comprises approx. 250 active skaters. In Kolind on Djursland, a former factory will host kraftvaerket. com, where all forms of street culture can be performed and practised.

RETHINK ART AND CREATIVITY Rethink Art and Creativity This programme comprises creative arts, including the creative sector and digital arts. The programme will invest in residencies, networks and co-productions to support the creative process.

Performing Arts Network Central Denmark Region, Carte Blanche

ARoS, The Building, Adam Mørk

Festivals Aarhus Contemporary comprises 10 professional festivals that will collaborate on presenting an exceptional programme with local and international music, drama, literature, films and media. Festivals include SPOT, SPOR, Aarhus Film Festival and ILT. European Edge is the collective name for the four month series of festivals, which will be the pinnacle of the programme.

Re-welcome Europe 2017 1992 saw the opening of the exhibition Welcome Europe at 12 art museums all over Jutland. The exhibitions paid tribute to the European Union, and now – 25 years on – Re-welcome Europe will examine artistic direction and European reality in the past 25 years. Museums in Randers, Esbjerg, Skive, Vejle, Aarhus and many more cities are part of the project.

Godsbanen, VETO at SPOT Festival, 2012

12 Full Moon Events 12 symbolic locations all over the region, will present 12 major live events. These events will be thematic stepping stones, guiding Aarhus and the region through each of the 12 months of 2017. Among the 12 locations are; Aarhus, Gellerup, Holstebro, Randers, Silkeborg, Horsens and Viborg. Odin Theatre, Odin Theatre

RETHINK ART AND CREATIVITY 19 Love Stories Tales of people driven by passion. Each of the 19 municipalities is represented in a musical void of words – a universal poem of images of 19 cinematic chapters. European instructors, Danish composers and musicians will collaborate on the film, referencing places, passion and people. Aarhus Film City, The TV series Dicte

Atlas, The Voxhall Foundation

The European Art House Øst for Paradis (art cinema) Voxhall and Atlas, Bora Bora, Gallery Image, Kunsthal Aarhus and Aarhus Theatre have joined forces on creating a significant platform for European media arts, performing arts and contemporary arts. 2013 will see the launch of the collaboration through development of regional and European networks.

Asger Jorn This series of exhibitions will celebrate the – to date – most influential Danish artist, and founding member of the COBRA-movement. The Re-acting Cobra exhibition in which artists reinterpret and rethink the COBRA spirit as a contemporary, radical art movement. Silkebord Museum of Art, Børge Venge

CAVI 3D Panorama, Jette Gejl, Annette Damgaard

Creative Industries Aarhus 2017 will host the Creativity World Forum during the autumn of 2017. The conference will strengthen the region’s function as a creative and innovative incubator. The theme will be “Solutions”, and we will present the collaborations, products and concepts, which are the product of camps, caravans and meetings during 2013-16.

RETHINK VALUES Rethink Values Democracy, diversity and sustainability are universal core values, which are indispensable to our perception of culture, and to our rethinking of future urban societies. Rethink 8220 The Gellerup Master Plan is supported by a five year cultural programme composed by local organisations. From 2013 on, Gellerup will create a platform for the exchange of ideas locally and throughout Europe.

Urban Guerilla Gardening, Aarhus, Annette Damgaard

Re-engaging C itizens Active citizenship is the focal point of this effort to strengthen citizen involvement. 1,000 (projects) x 10,000 (kr.) From 2013 to 2017 we support 1,000 innovative, local micro projects with 10,000 kr. per project. These funds will vitalise the creative growth layer, and thus make a difference. Projects involving local communities can inspire larger RETHINK projects.

Banner on highrise, the Gellerup Masterplan, Gellerup Folk High School

The Greening City Green quarters are created all over the city through active citizen involvement, i.e. recreational city parks, vegetable plots on walls and roofs or an entire residential area with green window flower boxes. By 2017 the green quarters will be visitor’s areas for tourists, citizens and professionals from the greening and urban gardening fields.

Rethink Radiology, project funded by the Rethink Pool, decorations of the radiology waiting room – Pernille Liv

Seven Deadly Sins Seven art museums in the Central Denmark Region will reinterpret the seven deadly sins; pride, greed, wrath, lust, gluttony, envy and sloth. This project will challenge and underpin the interrelation between art and nationality.

Skive Museum of Art, Mie Olise

Programme and Introduction Aarhus 2017  

Information on programme and background for Aarhus 2017 European Capital of Culture.

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