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Guide / Aalborg
World-famous architecture and elegant pastries in Aalborg
Ditte Buus Nielsen, design manager of Skagerak at Fritz Hansen, guides us through the youthful city of Aalborg.
DITTE BUUS NIELSEN
26 May 2023

Who are you?

— For the past 10 years I have been working as Design Manager for Skagerak, now a part of Fritz Hansen. I am responsible of the design process and developing new furniture projects together with leading, international designers and other departments to ensure a cohesive and strong brand identity through the products. I have a background as industrial design engineer which have given me great tools in understanding production and project management and combined with a great interest in furniture and sustainability, I have found my career path towards the furniture industry. 

For someone who hasn’t been to Aalborg, how’d you describe it?

— Aalborg is a harbour city with a young and urban vibe due to the many people studying at Aalborg University. I have been living here on and off for 15 years and it has been in a transformation from an industrial city to a city with a lot of cultural activities and world-famous architecture. It feels like a big city but within a short distance you can be in some beautiful, natural settings such as forests or by the sea.  

My favourite thing that makes me proud of Aalborg: 

— One of my favourite spaces in Aalborg is the museum of modern art, Kunsten, designed by Elissa and Alvar Aalto. and Alvar Aalto. I am proud that such a great masterpiece is placed in the heart of Aalborg, and I feel lucky that I pass the beautiful, white marble building every day. 

Kunsten.

My favourite weekend routine: 

— I bought a house from 1959 a couple of years ago and together with my partner, I’ve spent a lot of my weekends with renovating the place. However, many mornings I find myself out in the garden with a cup of coffee and just enjoying the silence before the new day starts.

My favourite cultural spot:

The Utzon Center, located in the heart of Aalborg. It is an exhibition space for Architecture and Design, and I have had the pleasure to spend many hours during my studies and work in the beautiful building by Jørn Utzon.

My favourite breakfast place:

— I don’t go out for breakfast, but I really enjoy good pastry and my favorite place is a small bakery called Bread by Kaerup which has the best croissants in town, served on the most beautiful, Japanese porcelain from Arita1616.

My favourite place for dining out:

— A small, French-inspired bistro called Bistro59. The atmosphere is relaxed, and they always serve great food and wine.  

My favourite place for a creative or business meeting:

Huset i Hasserisgade is an inviting and creative space with room for meetings and you can also enjoy courses in different kind of craftsmanship such as ceramic and croquis. They also have a really good vegetarian café where you can enjoy a lunch or coffee.

My favourite excursion:

— There are many nature places you can visit within cycling distance. I really enjoy the area around the harbour with modern architecture such as the Utzon Center and Musikkens hus but I also enjoy visiting the small island of Egholm and Østerådalen.

My favourite local entrepreneur or creative I want to promote:

— I enjoy finding treasures at Pilegaards Antiques and Coin Shop which have been in the heart of the city for decades. I have found many great books about design and architecture, and they have a pile of antique posters which you can spend hours looking in.

My favourite hotel for a staycation:

— A short drive — approximately 50 minutes — from Aalborg, you can find yourself at the most amazing place in North Jutland. I would recommend staying at Svinkløv Badehotel near the Western sea coast at any time. Surrounded by sand dunes and pine forests, the small beach hotel offers a peaceful atmosphere with beautiful cuisine. I am a big fan of their layered cake with walnuts and lemon pie. 

My favourite route for a run or walk: 

— I live next by the forest in Aalborg where I often go for a walk or run. It connects many parts of the city and when you are inside it, you can’t even hear the buzzing from the city. You can easily reach the art museum, the zoo, or just take a break in one of the small open sunspots around it. 

My favourite place for fashion:

Grethe Grundahl in Jernbanegade, a shop with vintage cloth and a great selection of cloth from Ivan Grundahl. The selection is great and Grethe fills out the space with her warmth and friendly soul.

My favourite thing at home: 

— This must be my garden. It is filled with old plants and a 70+ year old walnut tree, which was planted when the house was built. Besides a couple of adopted rabbits running around, it’s a very peaceful place to be in, where I spend many hours in the spring and summer period.