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Aarhus, den næststørste by i Danmark, er heldig at have et kælenavn alle kender: Smilets by. Århusianerne er stolte over det og bruger det, uanset hvad kommunen ellers finder på at det skal hedde. Og det forstår man godt. Sloganet viser alt om hvad Aarhus er: en by med farverige, smilende mennesker. En venligt, hyggelig by, hvor man føler sig velkommen. Urban Code var heldige at komme til at lære mere om den mand, der formentlig har opfundet sloganet (enten selv eller som en del af en gruppe): Leo Kæraa, gennem hans søn.

Kim Kæraa om Smilets By-sloganet og om sin far, Leo Kæraa:

Aarhus kommune/v Aarhus Turistforening lavede en turistbrochure, som udkom i løbet af foråret 1938. Denne brochure er selvfølgelig ikke udkommet uden at turistforeningen har haft kontakt med Aarhus Reklameforening, som jo i sagens natur måttet forventes at vide lidt om, hvordan Aarhus som helhed kunne blive gjort mere synlig overfor resten af landet.
De facts, som jeg så kan beretter om er, at Aarhus Reklameforening i foråret 1938 skulle forberede en reklamekongres for alle reklameforeninger i Danmark, som skulle finde sted i Aarhus.. Den blev kaldt “2. danske reklamekongres” og skulle finde sted 20. og 21. maj 1938. De møder der blev holdt i den anledning var min far med til, thi formanden for Aarhus reklameforening Henry Lyre var min fars reklamekonsulent. Min far reklamerede rigtig meget og har nok være en af Lyres største kunder. Til denne kongres blev der lavet en turistbrochure, som jeg har vist dig forsiden af. Foroven står der “Aarhus smilets by”, og nedenunder “En turistbrochure fra Lyre”.
Jeg har selvfølgelig min fars ord for, at det var ham der kom med ideen til sloganet, som så er blevet taget op af turistforeningen, og selvfølgelig også helt logisk blev brugt til at annoncere kongressen i maj 1938. Og når jeg nu kender min far og hans iderigdom, så er jeg overhovedet ikke i tvivl om hans udsagn. Han var fuld af gode ideer, og selvfølgelig er ideen om sloganet sprunget fra panden i et split sekund under udarbejdelse af disse brochure. Ingen tvivl om det. Han leverede jo også på det tidspunkt de fleste smil i Aarhus. Klinikken lå på Banegårdsplads 8 over jernbaneapoteket og der ligger den stadig, dog med nye ejere.
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Aarhus, the second biggest city in Denmark, is lucky to have a nickname known throughout the country - Smilets By (City of Smiles). People from Aarhus proudly use it, no matter what other slogans the authorities are trying to promote. No wonder. The slogan stands for everything Aarhus is: a city of colourful, smiling people and a friendly, welcoming place. Urban Code was happy to find out more about the man who can be considered the author (or one of the authors) of the city’s nickname: Leo Kæraa.

His son, Kim Kæraa, tells Urban Code about the Smilets By/City of Smiles slogan and his father, Leo Kæraa:

In spring 1938 Aarhus Municipality and Aarhus Tourist Association published a special tourist brochure. Aarhus Advertising Association helped to publish it, as they knew how to ‘brand’ the city. At that time the Advertising Association was working on the 2nd Advertising Congress for all advertising associations in Denmark. It took place on 20 and 21 May 1938. My father went to the planning meetings, as the chairman of Aarhus Advertising Association, Henry Lyre, was his consultant. My father advertised his dentist business a lot and was probably one of Lyre’s biggest customers. Anyway, at the top of the brochure it says "Aarhus Smilets By" (Aarhus City of Smiles) and below “a tourist brochure from Lyre". My father told me he had invented the line to advertise his business (see photo). Then it was used by the tourist association and hence used to advertise the congress. As far as I now know my father and his imagination, I know it is true. I think that the slogan jumped from his head in a split second during one of those meetings. No doubt about it. At the time he also delivered the most smiles in Aarhus and used the slogan in his business. His dentist clinic was located at 8 Banegårdsplads above the railway pharmacy (Jernbaneapoteket) and you can still find it there, under new management of course.
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One of our ambitions in Urban Code was to create a design referring to the Viking spirit of Aarhus.

The Vikings, very much present in the pop culture, were the people living in the north of Europe, the area of today’s Sweden, Norway and Denmark. They spoke different dialects of Old Norse, which made it easy for them to communicate with each other. The word today is mostly associated with the ones who were warriors and went on raids to the neighbouring lands thanks to their fast boats, which could sail easily both on the rivers and through the seas.

Aarhus is one of the oldest towns in Denmark, along with Ribe and Hedeby, and was founded in 770 AD by the Vikings. The settlement stretched along the river and was called Aros, which meant ‘the town by the mouth of the river’. It became a vibrant trading centre with its perfect location on the coast and farming areas around the town.

Daria, who has designed ‘Thor for Aarhus’, was also inspired by the Viking mythology, especially Odin’s son - Thor. He was a hammer-wielding god associated with thunder, storms, lightning, oak trees, strength, protection of mankind, and also healing and fertility. Thor’s hammer was called Mjølner.

If you want to know more about the Vikings in Aros, read the book that you can see on the left.
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This is the first stage of the project called ‘Aarhus Artists for Aarhus’.

Thomas Kruse, the author of two colourful pictures is saying:

'I find inspiration in my dreams. I draw what happens in them. In my dreams I often meet both mermaids and angels. One day I hope to become an angel too. That is why I ride my bicycle almost every day!'
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‘My Aarhus’ by Helene Koefoed is a contribution to ‘Aarhus Artists for Aarhus’ series by Urban Code.

The inspiration for the painting comes from Helene’s sailing trips across the Aarhus Bay as she is a happy owner of a small boat. Looking at Smilets By from the sea she can fully appreciate its symbiosis with nature.

In her painting she shows diversity of Aarhus looking at it through the eyes of those who come here by ferries, boats or cruise ships. They can see a magnificent and modern coastal city with forests and beautiful beaches giving its inhabitants the best conditions for work and recreation. 
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Anne-Grete Andersen finds inspiration for her Viking drawings in the Viking finds and discoveries which are described and reproduced in numerous books on the Viking Age. The Vikings were enormously talented in ornamentation. Viking shields, sword hilts, rune stones, jewellery, jewel boxes and chests, coins, belt buckles and clothes buckles or pins are ideal starting points to Anne-Grete’s drawings.

The first design of ‘Viking Denmark’ is inspired with a picture on the large Jelling rune stone.
It was erected around 965 by Harald Bluetooth in memory of his parents and to commemorate Denmark’s conversion to Christianity.
The famous stone has three sides and it is often called “Denmark’s certificate of baptism.”
One side of the rune stone shows a four­-legged animal entangled by a snake.
The battle of an animal and a snake is a recurrent motif in the Viking art. Some scholars interpret it as the fight between Christianity (the animal) and the Viking beliefs (the snake) or the battle between the good and the evil.
Most rune stones were raised all over Scandinavia in the 10th and 11th centuries.
They were memorials raised to commemorate people or important events.
Originally the runic inscriptions and carved pictures on rune stones were painted in strong and bright colours.

Finally Urban Code's dream has come true. Being admirers of Hans Christian Andersen's works and life, we have been thinking of H.C. designs for quite a time. 'Butterfly' is the first design inspired by Andersen's fairy tale.

Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) was the profoundly imaginative writer and storyteller who in the 19th century revolutionised literature for children.
Andersen’s popularity is not limited to children: his stories express themes that transcend age and nationality. His fairy tales, translated into more than 125 languages have become culturally incorporated in the West’s collective consciousness and inspired ballets, plays, and animated and live-action films. Some of his most famous fairy tales include ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’, ‘The Little Mermaid’, ‘The Snow Queen’ and ‘The Ugly Duckling’.
The design by Urban Code combines Andersen’s two talents and loves - story telling and paper cuttings. Denmark’s world famous writer liked entertaining his friends and audiences cutting fantastic patterns out of paper.
The first design presented by Urban Code is inspired by the fairy tale from 1861 ‘The Butterfly’.
The English texts on the designs come from Hans Christian Andersen’s ‘Best Fairy Tales’ published by Macmillan Collector’s Library 2011. The translation was made by the celebrated Danish-American actor and translator Jean Hersholt.

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