Omnibus prik

Proposal to list Aarhus University under consideration – again

Det Særlige Bygningssyn has proposed to list a number of Aarhus University buildings and a large part of the University Park for preservation again. This comes after the Agency for Culture and Palaces withdrew its original listing in April.

Parts of Aarhus University’s campus have been nominated for listing again. The central part of the University Park is nominated as an independent work of landscape architecture along with nine building complexes consisting of 26 buildings. Photo: Jesper Rais/AU Photo


Det Særlige Bygningssyn states:

“Det Særlige Bygningssyn views Aarhus University as a world-class example of Danish architecture. Together with Aarhus City Hall (1941 by Arne Jacobsen and Erik Møller), Aarhus University became one of the most iconic architectural works that helped profile Aarhus as Denmark’s young and forward-looking city. This made the university one of the early architectural expressions of the Danish welfare state, with a human scale environment that aims to create a good academic environment.”


  • The central part of the University Park
  • The first department building
  • The Museum of Natural History
  • Residence halls 4 and 7 including associated residential units
  • The Main Building (including the Main Hall)
  • The east wing of The School of Dentistry (building 1613)
  • The Book Tower (the library tower)
  • The administration building (building 1430), Stakladen (building 1423), the student building (buildings 1420 and 1422) and underground passageways
  • The Department of Mathematics’ main and transverse wings, lecture theatre and courtyards (building 1530, 1532 and 1534)

The proposal to list the university was first presented in September 2022, after which the Agency for Culture and Palaces decided in favour of it in March 2023. This prompted the Danish Building and Property Agency to appeal the decision, as they own and lease several of the buildings to Aarhus University. The listing was withdrawn after the Agency for Culture and Palaces determined that the basis for the listing was insufficient.


In its decision, the Agency stressed that it continues to believe that there are strong architectural and cultural-historical values that can justify a listing. However, the Agency assessed that “in light of the considerable physical scope of the proposal, the legal basis of the decision is not sufficient enough for the Agency to keep Aarhus University/the University Park and Vennelystparken on the listing as an independent work of landscape architecture.”

The listing of Aarhus University is the biggest listing in Denmark to date in terms of area covered.

Central part of the University Park to be listed  

The new proposal is very similar to the previous one. The same nine building complexes consisting of 26 buildings are nominated for preservation. The new proposal only includes what is described as ‘The Central Park’, whereas the original proposal included the entire University Park and Vennelystparken.

However, the proposal reads: “Det Særlige Bygningssyn considers the proposal as a first phase and recommends that future work be done to explore the option of extending the listing to include the rest of the University Park and Vennelystparken”.

AU: New proposal is acceptable

Aarhus University objected to the proposal during the consultation period in 2022. The university argued that there was no legal basis for the extensive listing and contested the premise that it is a single independent work of landscape architecture.

Rector Brian Bech Nielsen emphasised that the university has taken good care of its surroundings for over 90 years and continues to do so. The listing will also complicate the future development of the buildings, which is necessary if they are to adapt and evolve with the changing requirements of study environments, flexible learning environments and research facilities. 


Several of the criticisms raised by Aarhus University in their consultation response have been accommodated in the new proposal to make it more acceptable. Among other things, the reduced scope of outdoor areas included in the proposal makes a difference, according to Charlotte Lyngholm, Head of Campus Planning and Projects at AU Estates Projects and Development. She is still in the process of scrutinising the details of the listing proposal.

“At face value, it appears to be more acceptable. The fact that the outside area is smaller makes it more feasible for us to work with, as a university in constant development. Last time, we were also prepared to accept the listing of the buildings. However, we were concerned about the future maintenance and development of the listed buildings, which for example contain laboratories. We need to prepare manuals for all of the listed buildings and areas, so that we know how to work within this framework,” Charlotte Lyngholm says.

One of the notable changes in the new proposal is that it has been clarified what is special about the specific buildings and areas that are nominated. It is also specified that the preservation of the park stops at the plinths of the surrounding buildings. In the previous proposal, the listing included the exterior of the surrounding buildings – even ones that weren’t part of the listing.

No desire for a second phase

Charlotte Lyngholm has also noted that Det Særlige Bygningssyn considers the proposal to be the first phase of the listing of Aarhus University.

“It is important to emphasise that the university can accept the current listing proposal as long as there won’t be a second phase,” she says.

The consultation period lasts until 21 February 2024. After the consultation period, the Agency for Culture and Palaces has three months to decide whether to approve the listing proposal. Until the decision is made, the nominated areas and buildings will be treated as if they were listed.