Aarhus or Århus (Danish pronunciation: [ˈɒːhuːˀs] ( listen)) is the second-largest city in Denmark. The principal port of Denmark, Aarhus is on the east side of the peninsula of Jutland in the geographical center of Denmark. Aarhus is the seat of the council of Aarhus municipality with 319,094 inhabitants and 252,213 (1 January 2013) in the inner urban area. According to Aarhus municipality, the "Greater Aarhus" area has a population of about 1.25 million people. The city claims the unofficial title "Capital of Jutland".
Aarhus is the main and biggest city in the East Jutland metropolitan area (Danish: Byregion Østjylland), which is a co-operation in eastern Jutland with 17 municipalities. With more than 1.2 million people living in the East Jutland metropolitan area it represents approximately 23% of the population of Denmark. Aarhus has the second-largest urban area in Denmark after Copenhagen.
During the Middle Ages the city was called Arus, and in Icelandic chronicles, it was known as Áróss. It is a compound of the two words ār, genitive of ā("river", Modern Danish å) and ōss ("mouth", Modern Danish munding; in Modern Icelandic this word is still used for "river delta"). The name originates from the city's location around the mouth of the stream Aarhus Å (English: Aarhus River), Å being the Danish word for a small river.
Through regular sound development, Medieval Danish Arus became Aars or Oes, a form which persisted in the dialects of the surrounding parishes until the 20th century. In 1406, Aarhus became prevalent in the written sources, and gradually became the norm in the 17th century. Aarhus is probably a remodelling after the numerous Low German place names in -husen, possibly as a result of the influence of German merchants.
With the Danish spelling reform of 1948 Aa was changed to Å. Some Danish cities resisted the new spelling of their names, notably Aalborg andAabenraa. Contrarily, Århus city council explicitly embraced the new spelling, thought to enhance an image of progressiveness.
In 2010, a majority of the city council voted for a name change from Århus back to Aarhus, and the renaming came into effect on January 1, 2011. Mayor at that time Nicolai Wammen argued that the Aa spelling would strengthen the city's international profile, help private enterprise and make it easier to access Aarhus on the internet.The Aarhus spelling has, however, always had some use in non-Scandinavian languages. There is considerable opposition to the Aa spelling and according to a May 2011 poll 59.8% of the city's inhabitants preferred the Åspelling.
Although the name on many signs and other physical media still reads Århus, official informational websites have effectively altered occurrences of Århus to Aarhus. Furthermore, certain geographically affiliated names have been updated to reflect the name of the city. An example is the Aarhus River for which the Danish name has been altered from Århus Å to Aarhus Å. However, in Danish it is always correct to write geographical names with the letter Å, while local councils since 1984 have been allowed to use the Aa spelling as an alternative option. When a local authority decides so, most newspapers and state institutions will re-adopt the pre-1948 Aa spelling and the Å spelling will in practice become second-place. However, the official authorities are the Danish Placename Commission and the Danish Language Committee, publisher of the Danish Orthographic Dictionary, which will keep Århus as the main name and have Aarhus as a new, second option, in brackets.
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