Horsens (Danish pronunciation: [ˈhɒːsn̩s]) is a city on the east coast of the Jutland region of Denmark. It is the seat of the Horsens municipality. The city's population is 63,903 (1 January 2024) and the municipality's population is 97,392 (as of 1 January 2024), making it the 7th largest city in Denmark.[1]

Street in the old town
Street in the old town
Official seal of Horsens
Coat of arms of Horsens
Horsens is located in Denmark
Location in Denmark
Horsens is located in Denmark Central Denmark Region
Horsens (Denmark Central Denmark Region)
Coordinates: 55°51′30″N 09°51′00″E / 55.85833°N 9.85000°E / 55.85833; 9.85000
Country Denmark
RegionMid Jutland (Midtjylland)
Founded12th century
 • Urban
29.7 km2 (11.5 sq mi)
5 m (16 ft)
 (1 January 2024)[1]
 • Urban
 • Urban density2,200/km2 (5,600/sq mi)
 • Gender [2]
32,092 males and 31,811 females
Postal code
DK-8700 Horsens
Area code(+45) 7

Horsens is best known for its culture and entertainment events. Horsens New Theatre is a cultural centre which holds over 200 events annually. It has managed to draw major names such as Madonna, One Direction, Paul McCartney and The Rolling Stones.[3]



It is believed the name Horsens derives from the old Danish words hors (horse) and næs (naze, headland). The name Horsens has been in use since the 12th century.



The earliest traces of a city are remains of a pagan burial site and houses dating back to the 9th century. In the 12th century, the kings Sweyn III and Valdemar I issued coins in the city. In the 13th century the city got its own legal code.

Excavations have shown that the city was expanded around 1300, with a moat going around the city and its harbour. Industrialization started from the middle of the 19th century. The population rose dramatically when people from the countryside moved to the city to work in the factories. The first Danish iron foundry outside of Copenhagen was opened as well as tobacco and textile factories.



Horsens lies at the end of Horsens Fjord in eastern Jutland. The city is surrounded by typical moraine landscape with low hills and valleys created by glaciers during the last ice ages. Horsens is 50 km (31 mi) south of Aarhus and 30 km (19 mi) north of Vejle, and approximately 200 km (120 mi) from Copenhagen.



The city is currently undergoing a positive development with new industry moving to Horsens, or expanding their activities already in Horsens. A lot of electronics and graphical companies are based there. Horsens also has the only Industrial Museum in Denmark. The city is also home to VIA University College which brings a lot of international students to move to this town.


A pedestrian zone

In recent years, much effort has been made to expand and improve cultural events. Several internationally known artists, such as Madonna, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Joe Cocker, Elton John, The Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, Tom Jones, Bryan Adams, David Bowie, José Carreras, Helmut Lotti, Westlife, R.E.M., Paul McCartney, Robbie Williams, The Rolling Stones, Dolly Parton, AC/DC, U2, Rammstein and Snow Patrol have performed, or have performances planned in Horsens.

Metallica has performed several times in Horsens.

Hard Rock/Heavy Metal band Pretty Maids is from Horsens.

One of the largest cultural events in Denmark is the annual European Medieval Festival on the last Friday and Saturday in August. The town centre of Horsens is transformed into the largest medieval market town in Northern Europe with activities and entertainment for families and children of all ages.

European Medieval Festival

Every March, Horsens hosts a Crime Fiction Festival. The Crime Festival – in Danish called Krimimessen – is an event for literary crime, mysteries and thrillers. The Crime Festival is organized by Horsens Public Library. Every year, many well-known crime writers visit Horsens.

The city is home to Horsens Industrimuseum, a museum showing the history of the industrial society. The museum shows technological development and developments in living conditions for workers.

Peter Sørensen from the Social Democrats is mayor of Horsens.

Vitus Bering, the famous Russian Navy captain, was born here.


VIA University College

The largest educational institution in Horsens is VIA University College, which offers a wide range of engineering, technical and business programmes for Danish and International students. In the summer of 2020, VIA University College accepted 1066 new students. That was 2.1% more than the number of students that were accepted to the university the year before.[4]



Horsens is the home to professional football club AC Horsens who play in the Danish Superliga. Their home ground is the 10,400 capacity CASA Arena Horsens.

From 2015 to 2018, the CASA Arena hosted motorcycle speedway, when it held the Speedway Grand Prix of Denmark, taking over as host from the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen, which had held the Speedway Grand Prix event from 2003 to 2014. Frederikslyst Speedway was another speedway venue located approximately 8 kilometres south west of the town, off the Frederikslystvej in the forest (55°48′47″N 9°43′23″E / 55.81306°N 9.72306°E / 55.81306; 9.72306).[5] It held the final of the Danish Individual Speedway Championship in 1995.[6]

Horsens is also home to professional basketball team Horsens IC who play in Basketligaen. The team plays at Forum Horsens which has a capacity of 3,300. The team has won the league 6 times most recently in 2014–15 and 2015–16 as well as winning the Danish Men's Basketball Cup 3 times most recently in the 2014–15 season.




Front facade of Horsens railway station.

Horsens is served by Horsens railway station. It is located on the Fredericia–Aarhus railway line and offers direct InterCity services to Copenhagen, Hamburg, Aarhus and Aalborg as well as regional train services to Fredericia and Aarhus.[7]



European route E45 runs by the city of Horsens.



From 1853 to 2006 the city housed the Horsens Statsfængsel prison, which held prisoners serving longer sentences. A notable prisoner was former minister of justice Peter Adler Alberti.

The last execution in peacetime in Denmark happened in the prison in 1892 when Jens Nielsen was decapitated in the courtyard.

Carl August Lorentzen was a safe cracker who became famous for his escape from the prison in 1949 when he dug a tunnel from his cell and out to freedom. When the guards discovered he was missing, they found a note from him with the words "Where there is a will there is a way". Lorentzen was captured a few days later on a nearby farm.

The old run-down buildings were not fit for a modern prison. In 2006 the prison was closed and the newly built State Prison of East Jutland was opened. The new prison, which is placed near Horsens, held the mass murderer Peter Lundin for a period.[8]

Since its closure as a prison, Horsens Statsfængsel has housed a crime and prison museum, and conference and business facilities. The prison grounds have been used for concerts.[9] It was considered as the venue of the Eurovision Song Contest 2014, along with two other cities in Denmark.

VisitHorsens (the local tourist office) moved to the Prison in 2013 and in 2015 a hotel called SleepIn has opened in the Prison.

Notable people from Horsens

Hans Svane
Vitus Bering

Public thinking and politics


The arts

Ludovica Thornam, 1885
Anna Bloch, 1904


Bent Schmidt Hansen, 1969

International relations


Twin towns – sister cities


Horsens is twinned with:

See also



  1. ^ a b "BY3: Population 1. January by urban areas, area and population density". Statistics Denmark. Retrieved 21 April 2021.
  2. ^ BY1: Population 1. January by urban areas, age and sex The Mobile Statbank from Statistics Denmark
  3. ^ "Disse verdenskendte kunstnere har optrådt i Horsens". VisitHorsens (in Danish). Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  4. ^ "Fortsat fremgang: 1066 studerende optaget på VIA i Horsens". (in Danish). 28 July 2020. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  5. ^ "Frederikslyst Speedway". Speedway Life. Retrieved 17 February 2024.
  6. ^ "Individual Speedway Norwegian Championship". Historia Sportu Zuzlowego. Retrieved 17 February 2024.
  7. ^ "Horsens Station" (in Danish). DSB. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  8. ^ "Peter Lundin hemmeligt gift" (in Danish). TV 2. 29 September 2008. Retrieved 10 March 2009.
  9. ^ "10 prison's now open to travelers". CNN. 13 March 2013. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  10. ^ Bain, Robert Nisbet (1911). "Skram, Peder" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 25 (11th ed.). pp. 194–195.
  11. ^ Bain, Robert Nisbet (1911). "Svane, Hans" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 26 (11th ed.). p. 175.
  12. ^ "Bering, Vitus" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 03 (11th ed.). 1911. p. 775.
  13. ^ IMDb Database retrieved 01 June 2020
  14. ^ IMDb Database retrieved 01 June 2020
  15. ^ IMDb Database retrieved 01 June 2020
  16. ^ IMDb Database retrieved 01 June 2020
  17. ^ IMDb Database retrieved 01 June 2020
  18. ^ IMDb Database retrieved 01 June 2020
  19. ^ IMDb Database retrieved 01 June 2020