The ARoS in Aarhus is as famous for its art as for its modern museum building with a colorful panorama ring on the roof and Guggenheim-style staircase. The ARos is one of Denmark’s best art museum with particularly good temporary modern art exhibitions to complement its large Danish art collection. The ARoS is famous for the colorful rainbow panorama circular walkway on its roof while the large Boy statue by Ron Mueck is well-known way beyond Denmark.
The ARoS Aarhus Art Museum
The ARoS in Aarhus is one of Denmark’s most-famous and best art museums. This large museum has galleries spread over 10 floors in a modern building completed in 2004 just outside the center of Aarhus.
The museum covers art mainly from the last two centuries or so but the emphasis is mostly on modern art with frequently changing temporary exhibitions.
Four or five large temporary exhibitions are shown at any given time in addition to the more permanent galleries. These may be artist or theme specific. All mediums are embraced including installations, video, sculptures, paintings and drawings.
Permanent Exhibitions in the ARoS
The ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum owns Denmark’s largest art collection outside Copenhagen so has plenty of works to choose from for its more permanent displays. However, even the more classical Danish art is in temporary exhibitions but these tend to change every few years rather than once or twice a year like the modern art displays.
The “From Abildgaard to Kirkeby” for example is on display from 2014 to 2017. It shows the museum’s best Danish works from neo-classical and Golden Age eras to the present.
The lower level of the museum has a semi-permanent collection of nine installation art works with each taking up its own room. The lightening and mirror effects are particularly striking.
Boy and Other Major Works in the ARoS Aarhus Art Museum
A few further major works are on permanent display with some of the largest and best-known works in public areas that may be seen even from outside the ticket barrier areas.
The most famous artwork in the ARoS museum is probably Boy, 1999, by Ron Mueck. Other than the ring on the roof, this is the largest and at 500 kg the heaviest piece in the museum. Boy is an oversized but otherwise very realistic 4.5-meter tall sculpture of a boy squatting. It is impossible to miss (and can partly be seen without entering the museum). The facial expression of the boy seems to change depending on the vantage point of the spectator – from fear and anger to a more naughty, playful smile when standing between his elbows.
Another work on permanent display is Statue (Flora), 2003, by Rory Macbeth on the fourth floor outside the ticket gates. This is another very realistic statue but life size. A woman is dressed like an immobile street performer. Although some visitors drop coins in the basket anyway, she never moves.
The Colorful Panorama Ring on the ARoS Roof
“Your Rainbow Panorama” is a 150-m-long, 3-m wide circular footbridge on top of the ARoS museum building. It is the creation of Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson and required structural reinforcement of the building before it could be completed in 2011.
For many, walking in the ring is a highlight of a visit to ARoS and Aarhus. From 50 m up, visitors can see Aarhus through large glass panels with different colors every few meters – a true rainbow view of the city and fun to see how different color filters influence what elements are viewed most strikingly.
ARoS Aarhus Art Museum Visitors Information
The museum has a large atrium with flowing staircases that remind of the Guggenheim in New York. Once inside, visitors may follow any route but it is generally recommended to walk down past Boy to the lowest level and then work up to the rooftop rainbow panorama.
Ticket Prices of the ARoS
Children under 18 years enter the ARoS for free.
The Aarhus Card gives only 30% discount to the ARoS – it is not a great deal for visiting the top three museums in Aarhus.
Tickets are available online – same price but the system is currently in Danish only.
Opening Hours of the ARoS
The ARoS is generally closed on Monday but may be open on some public holidays and during school vacations.
Transportation to the ARoSThe ARoS Aarhus Art Museum, Aros Allé 2, 8000 Aarhus, is on the southwestern edge of Aarhus city center. It is around a ten-minute walk from the train station or the old town center. Several buses stop nearby but from the center walking is often easier.
Street parking is mostly payable and subject to time restrictions – the nearby Scandinavia Congress Center has a large parking garage (around DKK20 per hour).
Other Top Sights in Aarhus and Art in Denmark
The ARoS is one of the three wonderful museums in Aarhus. The others are the nearby Den Gamle By open-air museum while the fascinating Moesgaard Museum (archaeology and anthropology) is to the south of the city.
Not surprisingly, Copenhagen has the largest and best art collections in Denmark. The National Gallery of Denmark (Statens Museum for Kunst) has the largest display of art in the country while the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art to the north of Copenhagen is one of the best modern art museums in the world.