Aarhus Docklands – a large urban development project by the harbour

Aarhus Docklands is one of the largest harbour urban development projects in Europe. In Danish, it’s called “Aarhus Ø”, which both means “Aarhus Island” and “Aarhus East”.

The area has previously been used by the Port of Aarhus, which is a company owned by the Municipality. The planning process of the area began in 1997 when the city council adopted the master plan for the expansion of the Port of Aarhus (the industrial harbour) towards the east. In 1999, the municipality initiated an open city plan idea contest. Based on the winning proposal and public debate, the strategy for the transformation was adopted in the city council in 2003. In 2007, the City of Aarhus took over the first areas and in 2012, the first buildings were ready for citizens to move in.


The vision of the area has been to create coherence between the city and bay. Furthermore, it has been a priority to secure a mixed demography. Thus, it became a requirement that at least 25% of the residentials in the area, will be “social housing”, ensuring a solely cost-related and thereby comparatively low rent.

Sustainable aspects have played a big role in the construction of several building in Aarhus Ø. “Havnehusene” are e.g. equipped with photovoltaics, geothermal energy for heating and a big variety of energy- and water saving devices indoors, making them very effective.

The nearby “Pakhusene” even received golden standard in the DGNB certification due to their many smart functions, e.g. local sourcing of building materials, good bike parking possibilities and sustainable energy production on-site.

Several other buildings on Aarhus Ø have other sustainable qualities that are worth visiting when taking a tour around the area.


  • When fully developed, Aarhus Docklands will house more than 12,000 residents and 10,000 workplaces.
  • More than 800 citizens of Aarhus joined the city development process on the inner Aarhus Ø area.
  • When fully developed, the area will hold around 800,000 m² of floor space.
  • The free harbour bath is open all days during the summer months as well as during the weekends throughout the whole winter – including two saunas.

About author

Arhus is Denmark’s 2nd largest city and the  financial centre of the Central Denmark Region. The city has a catchment area of 1.2 million people within a one-hour travel range and is well connected to Copenhagen and Hamburg.

Primary contact
Stine Sparrewath

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