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Market town privileges were granted in 1441, but growth stagnated in the 17th century as the city suffered blockades and bombardments during the Swedish Wars.
In the 19th century it was occupied twice by German troops during the Schleswig Wars but avoided destruction.
It is a centre for research and education in the Nordic countries and home to Aarhus University, Scandinavia's largest university, including Aarhus University Hospital and INCUBA Science Park.
Being the Danish city with the youngest demographics, with 48,482 inhabitants aged under 18, Aarhus is also one of the fastest growing Danish cities, with an average growth of 4,000 people per annum since 2010. In the 1950s many jazz clubs sprang up around the city, fuelled by the young population.
The city ranks as the 92nd largest city in the European Union, and as number 234 among world cities. Aarhus is the principal industrial port of the country in terms of container handling and an important trade hub in Kattegat.