The Old Town (Den Gamle By) in Aarhus is an open-air museum of market-town culture. One of Denmark's most-visited museums, it contains 75 historic buildings, gardens, shops and workshops offering a living impression of a market town circa 1850. The idea for the museum arose out of the National Exhibition in Aarhus in 1909 where a mayoral residence from 1597 was reconstructed. The success of this project spurred the founder of the museum, Peter Holm, to find a permanent location for the reconstructed residence and to create a museum depicting life as it was lived in the old market towns. The museum opened in 1914. Den Gamle By is currently seeking to expand with a modern provincial district of the period 1880-1940.
HM Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, patron of Den Gamle By, recounts her personal delight in the museum: I have known Den Gamle By all my life. And I clearly recall the times I visited it with my mother, both when we visited my paternal grandmother at Marselisborg Palace and when the Royal Yacht, the Dannebrog, put in to the Port of Aarhus. From my first visit, I remember three things in particular: the mayoral residence , the old apothecary's shop and then the fact that the museum includes houses from the 16th century – that impressed me greatly....Den Gamle By has a unique charm and is amazingly well constructed. It is as if the town envelops the visitor entirely." "