Recent & upcoming in Aalborg: food market, Spring Fair, orienteering event, fishing and ‘state of the city’ business report

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  • This Saturday, 5 April, Nordkraft hosts its monthly food market in the center’s main hall. Held every first Saturday of the month, the market offers cheeses, breads, and a variety of other foods produced in North Jutland to sample and buy. Doors are open from 10:00 to 16:00.
  • The annual Spring Fair takes place this weekend at Aalborg Congress & Culture Center. In addition to exhibits by over 200 businesses, public sector organizations, and artists, the fair offers entertainment and information/advice sessions by experts on a variety of topics. So if you’re interested in gardening, house improvements, housing, recreation, travel, adventure, food, hospitality, or style, check out the fair Friday, Saturday or Sunday (4-6 April) from 10:00 to 17:00. Entrance fee is 60 kr/adult (children 13 and under free) and 40 kr for retirees.
  • Aalborg’s Orienteering Club will offer a fitness and nature experience – Find the Way Day – Saturday, 5th April in Lundby Bakker to those familiar with and new to the sport. There will be courses of various lengths and anyone can participate. ‘We look forward to showing the sport to both those who know it and those who are curious to see what it is. Of course, we hope that some people think it’s so much fun that they want to try more and join the club,’ says Søren Flytkjær, chairman of Aalborg Orienteering Club. Orienteering is an ideal family sport and Aalborg Orienteering Club has chosen to have family-friendly member prices. This year Nordea Fund decided to go into partnership with Danish Orienteering Federation on Find the Way Day. ‘We hope that Find the Way Day gives children and adults a taste for orienteering fun, some good exercise and experiences in forests and parks,’ says Henrik Lehmann Andersen, CEO of Nordea Foundation, which supports activities that promote a good life. Participation in Find the Way Day is free. For more information on the event, including where to meet, click here.
  • Nordic Swordfish – aka garfish – have left the Atlantic Ocean to spawn in the Limfjord’s low, warm water. Thousands of the fish are gathering around near the coast and ‘waiting’ for an angler to catch them. On Sunday, 27 April from 13:00 to 16:00 Natureguide Aalborg, in collaboration with the Anglers Association, have arranged a fishing ‘expedition’ at Kystvejen 45, 9400 Nørresundby where you will be welcome to try catching the garfish under the guidance of highly experienced anglers. Bring your own fishing equipment or borrow some on site.
  • Aalborg City Association’s president, Nils Andersen, declared at last week’s annual association meeting that 2013 had been a good year for the city. The association’s primary task is to create initiatives that bring customers to the city. To that end, they were responsible last year for organizing Aalborg City blooms, Day & Night with Emmelie de Forrest, American Day, the Aalborg Cycling Grand Prix, Aalborg in Red (Aalborg i Rødt), the Spring Fair, Ordkraft i Nordkraft, the annual prize for best building façade, the Aalborg Regatta, Blue Festival, Pink Saturday, and Santa Claus and a very special Christmas market with real mulled wine at Gammeltorv – to name a few activities.

Andersen told the group that he thought they should be satisfied both at the kommune as well as the city level and praised city planners and politicians for being visionary and thinking long-term. ‘Even if we do not always seem to make the right decisions, we can look around and see that we have Denmark’s finest waterfront, a concert hall of international quality, and a world class university. Just looking at the numbers, we can see that Aalborg’s net population grew by more than 2000 people last year. We must be doing something right. Looking into the future, we see the realization in 2021 of a light rail that will connect the new hospital in Aalborg Øst with Mølholm via Aalborg’s center (Boulevarden, Østeraagade, Ved stranden) thanks to a 12 billion kr investment,’ stated Andersen.

He stressed that even if business is not as strong as it was in 2007 and 2008, and although there are empty shopfronts and other premises in the city center, Aalborg has not been hit as hard as other cities in North Jutland. ‘We can simply be happy that we function as the retail capital of North Jutland. We are the region’s locomotive…which means continued population growth and thus more customers to the city center,’ said the president.

Thanks, as usual, to the Midt-Vest Avis for these news clips, many of which are roughly translated by the blogger.

 

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Musikkens Hus’ opening a resounding success

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WP_000164Yesterday my husband and I had the enormous pleasure of attending the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra‘s opening concert at Musikkens Hus. It was sold out – all 1,298 seats (and then some – I’m pretty sure I saw a few added chairs at the end of a balcony row). The atmosphere was anticipatory and festive. Here we all were at the first official public concert in the new hall, a hall that has been planned for well over a decade (or two…or three).

It was almost enough to sit in the new seats and gaze arouWP_000159nd at the unique design and lighting created by the architects and acousticians. But then there was the music. Starting with Danish composer Niels Gade’s ‘Efterklange af Ossian’, the orchestra played with passion and energy. They stepped it up with Tchaikovsky’s Concert for Violin and Orchestra in D-major, which featured world-renowned Danish-Israeli soloist Nikolaj Znaider (we were close enough to see his fingers fly over his instrument and the beads of sweat collect on his brow), and finished with Elgar’s Enigma Variations. A standing ovation enticed conductor Rumon Gamba to request an encore of his players, which they gladly did – Elgar’s Enigma Variation IX (Adagio), also known as ‘Nimrod’. This piece has to be one of my favorites but I had never heard it played live. Starting softly, the piece builds to a swell and – at least for me – conjures significant emotion. I was nearly in tears, both times they played it. WP_000169

According to horn player Lauren Robinson, Musikkens Hus is one of the best concert halls she has ever played in (and that includes Carnegie Hall) and ‘it is especially wonderful when it is full of audience.’ We are privileged to live in a city that paid for such attention to detail that its orchestra members can say that – and that supports an orchestra made up of such a talented group of musicians.

For those readers who read Danish, here‘s a Danish blogger’s review of the concert.

Fireworks tonight on Limfjorden side of Musikkens Hus

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A firework show will take place tonight, 29 March, at 22:00 to commemorate the opening of Musikkens Hus. Firework show is free. And for those who would like to see Queen Margrethe when she arrives at the new concert hall, just show up at the entrance at 17:00.

Recent and upcoming in Aalborg: Musikkens Hus’ grand opening, WWF campaign for youth, Tanzanian children’s art exhibit, jazz concert, DST begins

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Photo courtesy of Lauren Robinson
  • A lot of the energy in Aalborg this coming weekend appears to be dedicated to the grand opening of Musikkens Hus. Many years of planning – and then building – will culminate in a 13-day opening program that begins Saturday, 29 March with a concert to be attended by Queen Margrethe. On the following day the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra will hold its own opening concert, featuring violinist Nikolaj Znaider and conductor Rumon Gamba. Over the following 11 days a diverse program should appeal to different kinds of audiences, including those who love jazz and blues, classical, choral, and contemporary music, and fans of Pirates of the Caribbean – the Curse of the Black Pearl, which audience members can watch while the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra plays the soundtrack live. For more information on the program and to purchase tickets for individual concerts, visit http://www.musikkenshus.dk/. Please note that several concerts are already sold out. Tickets for students and people under the age of 30 can purchase tickets for Aalborg Symphony Orchestra concerts at a reduced price of 75 kr. Click here for more information.
  • The Copenhagen Zoo has been attracting a lot of attention over the past month and a half for its decisions to euthanize a giraffe named Marius and then a family of four lions. The positive outcome of this story (whether you agree with the decisions or not) is that it brings wild animals to the forefront of our consciousness. In cooperation with said Copenhagen Zoo, the Odense Zoo and the Ree Park Ebeltoft, the World Wildlife Fund, which works to prevent extinction of animal species around the world, is inviting youths in Nordjylland aged 12 to 16 to act as wildlife reporters and compete for a chance to accompany the WWF on an expedition to Kenya and see with their own eyes the challenges and issues related to trade in endangered animals. Their watchdog task will be to conduct research, write articles and report on what they as young people in North Jutland can do to stop the killing of elephants and reduce pressure on African nature. The competition is part of a global WWF campaign called “Kill the trade”, which calls on governments worldwide to combat the illegal trade in ivory, among other things. Young people who would like to compete to join WWF on a trip to Kenya should join the expedition in pairs through the website http://www.wildschool.dk by Tuesday, 1 April. From there the WWF will select five pairs of students from Nordjylland to compete during one of three base camp weekends at the three sponsoring animal parks for the final seats. The trip to Kenya will take place 22-29 June, 2014. (Parts of this entry were translated by the blogger from the original Danish article in Midt-Vest Avis, 26 March, 2014, p. 40.)
  • Last Sunday, 23 March, an exhibition of historical children’s art from Dar es Salam in Tanzania opened at Hasseris Kirke (Church). The young artists belonged to the Kinondoni Young Artists, who for 10 years were part of a socially and creatively voluntary aid project financially and technically supported by Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke. The aim of the project was to support and develop imagination, creativity and social interaction among children and youth in Dar es Salam’s poorest neighborhoods. The exhibition was opened by Allan Vokstrup, who was the group’s teacher and mentor in the late 1980s and worked as an art teacher at Aalborg Cathedral School. The exhibition can be seen until early May. (This entry was translated by the blogger from the original Danish article in Midt-Vest Avis, 26 March, 2014, p. 38.)
  • Jazz lovers are invited to the Artbreak Hotel on Saturday, 29 March for a concert by Berlin-based trio Walsdorff-Melbye-Tom. According to the gallery’s website, guests will enjoy “open, interactive music drawing on jazz tradition mixed with contemporary improvisation at the highest level.” Doors open at 19:30 and the concert starts at 20:00. Tickets are 40 kr. See the gallery’s website for more information.
  • Don’t forget to ‘spring forward’ and turn your clocks ahead one hour when you go to bed Saturday night! Daylight Savings Time starts on Sunday, 30 March at 2:00.

 

Driving in Denmark: exchanging one’s license

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driving licenseMy husband and I come from Germany and the U.S., respectively, but when we arrived in Denmark we each had a Swiss driver’s license because we had most recently lived in Switzerland. Getting our licenses in Switzerland was a breeze – it involved very little paperwork and took little time, thanks to the efficiency of the motor vehicle office personnel in Lausanne. So we were a little apprehensive when we learned that we had to exchange those licenses (which are good for life!) for Danish ones. However, it turned out to be nearly as easy…

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Recent and upcoming in Aalborg: children’s theater, craft fair, vocal concert, half-marathon, art auction

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There seems to be a lot going on this weekend in Aalborg. Two events in Aalborg Øst, a play at the main library, a concert at Utzon Center (as the Aalborg Opera Festival winds down), and an art auction (next weekend, actually, but pieces of art will be on display prior). I missed last week because I was out of town AND I got sick (I do not recommend doing both of these at the same time!) but hope I’ve made up for it with the following listings. As always, a big thanks to Midt-Vest Avis, from which most of these are pulled!

  • For parents of children who understand and speak Danish, there is a great opportunity for your kids to see a play in the main Aalborg Library Saturday, 22 March from 12:00 to 12:45. Called “Al tid i verden” (‘All the time in the world’), the play will be an image-strong multi-media puppet performance about getting the very best out of every moment. Entry is free but tickets are required. You can order your tickets here. As of press time, there were only 10 left. Suitable for children four years and older.
  • On Saturday, 22 March the spring Creative Inspiration Fair will be held at Trekanten Library and Culture Center in Aalborg Øst. Members of the public are invited to browse the stalls of local artists and artisans, who will be selling their creations, as well as try their hand at a variety of crafts. If you’re a fishing enthusiast, come and try to tie your own fly…or if cloth ornaments are more your style, come and make your own. Hobby photographers will also be on hand to take your portrait and send it to you. Doors are open from 10:00 to 15:00 and entrance is free.
  • In arrangement with Aalborg Opera Festival, Utzon Center will host a concert by soprano Marianne Heuer and tenor Morten Krogh Mortensen on Sunday, 23 March at 14:00. The singers will perform pieces by Danish and Norwegian romance composers Grieg, Heise, Gade, Hartmann and Nielsen. Tickets are 100 kr. (60 for students and seniors). More information available here.
  • Are you a runner looking for a challenge this weekend? If so, the annual New Balance Half-marathon on Sunday, 23 March might be the perfect chance to get your first race of the season under your belt. As this is the race’s 10-year anniversary, there will be an added incentive to get your running shoes on and join in: all race participants who wear New Balance sneakers/trainers will be eligible to win one of two 5,000 kr gift certificates for New Balance products. Along the route there will also be festive activities, such as a pit stop in front of the Trekanten Library and Cultural Center for a hot drink and brass band “Gråbrødrene”, who will provide some musical motivation to keep going. Organizers from the Aalborg East Road Runners Club are looking forward to many participants in this year’s race, and have set the limit at 1000 runners. The entry fee is 200 kr. and you can sign up either online ahead of time (http://aalborg-roadrunners.dk/loeb/halvmarathon) or on the day from 11:00 to 12:45, as long as there are spaces available. The race will begin at Tornhøj Hall in Aalborg East, and as of press time more than 500 ​​participants had registered.
  • Danish art enthusiasts looking for new pieces are invited to an auction at Nordkraft Saturday, 29 March at 12:30 in Kedelhallen. Artwork by artists from across the country will be on display prior to the auction, Thursday and Friday, 27 and 28 March. Proceeds from the auction will go to Den Sociale Skadestue.

Recent and upcoming in Aalborg: Expat + Dane family event, book sale, nature tour, diving, Aalborg house prices rise

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  • Expat and Danish families are invited to participate in the Aalborg Main Library’s next ‘Expat + Dane Family: music and play for families’ event on Saturday, 8 March from 10:30 to 12:30. Music teacher Malene Horsfeldt will lead children in music-oriented play after which there will be free playtime and a light lunch. The aim of the event is to give expat families and Danish families a chance to meet and mingle. While Malene’s activity is targeted at children from 4 to 7 years and their parents, all ages are welcome. Entry to the event is free and no registration is necessary.
  • The Main Library will hold a book sale today and tomorrow (6 and 7 March) from 12:00 to 18:00 and Saturday, 8 March from 10:00 to 13:00. On offer are books, magazines and other materials the staff have sorted out from the library’s collection because they have seen too much wear and tear or are out-of-date. Come check out their great deals!
  • Aalborg Kommune’s nature guides will lead their next tour this Saturday, 8 March from 13:00 to 15:00. Destination: Urbans Kælder in Skovdalen, Aalborg. The guides will take you through Møllepark where you will be able to see and hear the park’s plant and animal life. They will also explain the many opportunities for challenging exercise activities in the park. Finally, you will reach Urbans Kælder, which stands in a place with an interesting cultural history. And in the depths of the cellar is a wintering area where the resident bats can sit undisturbed and wait for warmer times. On the trip you will enter the dark and watch the on-site residents. To join the tour, please meet in the parking lot at Aalborg Tower, Søndre Skovvej 30 at 13:00 and bring a flashlight. (Tour in Danish) (blogger’s rough translation of article in Midt-Vest Avis, 5 March, p. 36)
  • Have you ever wanted to learn to dive? Or are you just curious about what diving entails?  Do you need to update your diving equipment? Easy Dive, which is Aalborg’s only provider of five star PADI training, is offering an open house and spring sale this weekend (Friday to Sunday, 7-9 March) at their new facilities at Gugvej 140, Aalborg. Due to a large increase in business over the last year, the company recently moved from their old location to the new, where they now have over 690 square meters of space. Easy Dive offers several dives a week and gives customers many opportunities to remain active divers after they complete training. They also organize lectures on trips, the marine environment, and courses. To hear more about Easy Dive’s offerings and browse their new location, visit them this weekend! More details available here. (blogger’s rough translation of article in Midt-Vest Avis, 5 March, p. 26)
  • House prices in Aalborg have exploded over the last 10 years. According to numbers collected and analyzed by the Association of Danish Mortgage Banks, single-family homes and townhouses bought in 2003 had appreciated approximately 68% in price by 2013. The increase in Aalborg is much greater than other parts of the country where prices have risen only about 34% over the last decade. Thus, the price per square meter of single-family homes and villas in Aalborg Kommune have crossed the magic threshold and now lie above the average price level in Denmark. This was not the case in 2003 when development in Aalborg lagged behind the rest of the country. (blogger’s translation of article in Midt-Vest Avis, 5 March, p. 18)