The Aarhus City Council

The Aarhus City Council is the city’s supreme authority in terms of decision-making and the allocation of funding, and makes the final decision in cases – the so-called recommendations – from the City Executive Board. The council processes around 600 recommendations annually.

Meetings of the council

The Aarhus City Council has 31 members. Every other Wednesday, meetings of the council are held in the City Council Hall. These meetings are open to the public. 

The mayor chairs the meetings. At the beginning of each meeting, all cases on the agenda are reviewed to find out which cases can be decided ‘by the hammer’, i.e. where no members of the council have any comments on the case. The council then moves on to discussing the cases on which one or more members of the council may wish to comment. Some cases are considered behind closed doors, for example cases concerning individual citizens.

Permanent committees

The City of Aarhus has six permanent committees: one committee for each municipal department.

The six committees:                       

  • The Finance Committee
  • The Social Affairs and Employment Committee
  • The Technical Committee
  • The Health and Care Committee
  • The Culture Committee
  • The Children and Young People Committee

The City Council can refer cases for consideration in the committees, provided that at least three councillors during the first reading of a case in the City Council request this. The role of the committees is to shed light on the cases and submit their recommendations – reports – to the City Council for final decision.

Citizens and institutions are also granted audiences with the committees, and they can also on their own initiative discuss cases and summon the mayor or the aldermen for consultation.

As the Municipality of Aarhus is a municipality run by a City Executive Board, the permanent committees only serve as advisory bodies.

Overall strategy

The Aarhus City Council considers a wide variety of cases, but one of its key tasks is to establish the overall strategy for the municipality’s activities. This work is based on the so-called Aarhus model of comprehensive citizen involvement.

The Aarhus City Council makes overall decisions within four areas:

  • The municipality’s key values.
  • Interdepartmental policies such as integration policy, climate plan etc. In other words, often value-based decisions which apply to all activities in the municipality. These policies, which are often long-term, are continuously being revised and adjusted.
  • Sector policies and sector goals, for example the cultural policy, which describe values and goals as well as very specific initiatives and projects. They cover shorter periods of time, often the term of office of the Aarhus City Council, i.e. four years.
  • Goals for departments and institutions. These typically cover a period of one to two years and are linked to the department’s business plan. They very specifically describe what each activity area and institution must implement within the established time-frame.