Ten things you (probably) did not know about Horsens

Photo: Hanne Nielsen

Horsens – once, a dusty industrial and prison town – today, a living city of culture in rapid development. In many ways, Horsens is an interesting and exciting city with a unique story. Here, are ten things you probably did not know about the city.

1: Horsens is home to Denmark’s widest pedestrian street

The city’s lively main street is wide enough to accommodate cafés, food stands, sculptures and a cultural centre without the shopping experience being affected.

Søndergade, as the pedestrianised street is called was always a main thoroughfare in Horsens; however, only in 1992 were cars denied access and the pedestrianised street, as it is known it today, was constructed.

In addition to being the city’s shopping centre, due to its width, the pedestrianised street is often the venue of performances and cultural events such as concerts. There is always something going on in Denmark’s widest pedestrianised street.

2: The place name ‘Horsens’ derives from the words ‘hors’ (horse) and ‘næs’ (headland). ‘Horsens’ thus means "The headland with the horses"

When walking around Horsens’ streets today, you do not see many traces of horses. However, historically, horses have been one characteristics of the city. Tame and wild horses have characterised the landscape around the city.

At the same time, horses were an important mode of transport when goods were transported to and from the harbour.

Horsens was once known as a merchants’ town and lots of goods were therefore transported by horse-drawn carriage.

Today, motorised vehicles have changed the role of horses in society; however, but a horse still features in the city’s coat of arms dating back to the 16th century.

3: Russia’s royal family lived in Horsens. In 1780, the Empress of Russia – Katharina the Great – banished two princes and two princesses to Horsens where they lived for the rest of their lives in a large manor on the Town Square.

In the 1700s, a proper drama unfolded in Russia which created a connection with Horsens. In the latter half of the 18th century, Empress Katharina of Russia pardoned a number of princes and princesses who had been imprisoned for 35 years.

However, at the same time, they were banished from their native country. Horsens became the destination of the four royals.

They lived in Horsens until 1807 in a mansion in the Horsens Town Square – just opposite The Church of Our Saviour, where they were buried. Later, Princess Charlotte Frederikke of Denmark also lived in the mansion after having divorced King Christian 8.

The mansion has thus housed several banished royalty. The mansion was located where the address Torvet 2-4 is located today, so the building does not exist anymore.

4: Horsens accommodates 129 of the world’s 193 nationalities

Horsens is an international city characterised by great cultural diversity and openness. Horsens has hosted the International Festival three times, which is a festival showing exciting national cultures. Food, music and dance from around the world have brought the diverse culture of the city into focus.

Horsens is a big industrial city with companies employing international labour are quite common. At the same time, Horsens has evolved into a  city with many study opportunities and a large intake of foreign students from all over the world who add life to the cityscape.

5: Horsens hosts the largest medieval festival in Northern Europe

Every year, the Horsens Medieval Festival takes place at FÆNGSLET.

For three days, you have the opportunity to experience a medieval market, catchpenny shows, music and theatre at the huge festival that includes hundreds of stalls. Entry is free, and you are thus free to explore the festival and enjoy the authentic atmosphere.

You can buy a historic meal from one of the many food stalls or buy some of the unique products to take home. This eventful August weekend is the closest you will get to time travel.

The European Medieval Festival has been a recurrent event since 1995. For many years, it was held in the city centre, but was subsequently moved to a larger setting around the city’s most important attraction.

6: Horsens’ smallest culture centre is KUBEN – a large glass cube in the middle of the pedestrian street where everything from exhibitions to small intimate concerts spice up your shopping experience.

There is always something going on in the transparent glass building, KUBEN. While the crowds of the vibrant city life are milling by, you can let yourself be inspired or entertained by the many exhibitions and shows by the city’s cultural, sports and community life.

During the summer vacation, you find VisitHorsens in KUBEN where you may be inspired and receive information in connection with your holiday in the local area.

KUBEN is part of Mærk Byen, the efforts on the part of Horsens Municipality to support city life, which has added a large number of cultural activities to the life to the city.

7: The Danish explorer Vitus Bering (1681-1741) was born in Horsens. He is called “the Tsar’s Danish Columbus” and he proved, amongst others, that Asia and North America are not connected. Thus, there is a memorial park in Horsens named after him – Vitus Bering Park.

Vitus Bering is a much-loved son of Horsens. As one of the world’s greatest explorers, an ocean, a straight and an island have been named after him, amongst others.

As you walk around Horsens, you will probably encounter Bering, who has been honoured with many references in the cityscape. Parks, sculptures, streets, associations and sports teams have been named after the world-renowned explorer.

Vitus Bering is not only popular in Horsens, but also in Russia. Bering sailed under Russian flag for the Russian navy.
 

8: In 2006, Horsens hosted the two largest concerts ever held in Denmark. All of 2 x 85.000 people watched Madonna and The Rolling Stones as they each put on a spectacular show at the Forum Horsens.

Horsens is a distinct cultural city that specializes in megaevents. Especially large, international rock concerts have put the city on the map.

In recent years, major bands such as U2, Paul McCartney, Bon Jovi, Metallica, Bruce Springsteen and AC/DC have also performed major, sold-out stadium concerts.

In Horsens, there are many different venues which offer concerts with everything from international megastars to local amateur bands. At the same time, you can experience several music festivals in the music-loving city.

9: Horsens is the city in Denmark where the most pizzas are eaten.

According to a survey, Horsens is that Danish city where the most people choose to satisfy their hunger with a slice of flat bread topped with tomato and cheese. This particular Italian food is so popular that you find all of 35 pizzerias in the city. Whether you would like a classical Italian pizza, a Hawaiian or the one topped with kebab, salad and dressing, you can easily find it in Horsens.

Most people agree that pizza tastes good but, fortunately, the Horsens cuisine also has other things on offer. The city’s many, varied dining options offer dishes to suit all tastes. If you are into fine gastronomy, smart cafes or classical inns, Horsens has something for you.

10. Horsens is Denmark’s 8th-largest city but is about to grow to either the 7th or the 6th place

Horsens is a city in rapid development.

On several occasions, the city has been named the fastest-growing city in Jutland and it is quickly catching up with the slightly larger cities on the list of Denmark’s largest cities.

Growing cities are lively and active cities and as a guest and tourist in Horsens, where there is a jolly atmosphere in streets and shops, you really feel this.

At the same time, Horsens is a city in transformation that is preparing for life as a larger city. These years, therefore, you see lots of new buildings appearing  around the city centre as well as a new, state-of-the-art port area.

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