Aalborg

Aalborg

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Aalborg (or Ålborg) (Danish pronunciation: [ˈolb̥ɒːˀ] ( listen)) is a Danish industrial and university city in North Jutland. The city of Aalborg has a population of 104,885 [2] (126,556 including Nørresundby) making it the fourth largest city in Denmark in terms of population. The municipality of Aalborg has a population of 201,142 (2012)[3] making it the third most populous municipality in the country after Copenhagen and Århus.[4] The earliest settlements date back to around AD 700. Aalborg's location by the Limfjord made it an important harbour during the Middle Ages, and an industrial centre later. Today, the city is in transition from a working-class industrial city to a knowledge-based one.

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We found it hard to get a handle on Aalborg, sitting at the narrowest point of the Limfjord (the long body of water that slices Jutland in two). It’s Denmark’s fourth-largest city but feels somehow larger, more industrial and more impersonal than Århus (strange, given that Århus is more than double its size). Aalborg has lost chunks of its historical­ quaintness to industrial and commercial development, although the centre contains enough ancient half-timbered buildings to give you an idea of the kind of affluence its Renaissance merchants enjoyed. Aalborg is certainly handsome in parts, but it seems to lack a city heart, and the long-awaited waterfront rejuvenation is slow in coming. Meanwhile, tourism authorities are shining the spotlight on Aalborg’s ‘lifestyle attractions’ (shopping and dining), and indeed its restaurants are one of its best features. Sadly the accommodation doesn’t match up, and the city is crying out for a swish boutique crash-pad to woo the city-breakers. All in all, Aalborg’s a mixed bag but shows loads of potential. Traditionally it’s been ignored by foreign travellers, but there are enough diversions here to occupy a day or two for most visitors, from families to foodies, party animals to history boffins.