Randers (ˈʁɑnɐs) is a city in Randers municipality (Aarhus County, Region Midtjylland) on the Jutland peninsula in central Denmark. It is Denmark's 6th largest city with a population of 55,739 (2004). It is the main town of the municipality and the site of its municipal council . Randers municipality has 93.644 inhabitants (2008).
The municipality is also a part of the East Jutland metropolitan area with 1,2 mio inhabitants..
Randers is Denmark's only natural river harbour, and it is situated on the banks of the River Guden (Gudenå), about above its mouth in Randers Fjord, and west-northwest of Copenhagen. This location has had great significance for the town as a sea merchant area. Barges on the Guden River and the Northern River (Nørreå) transported goods in to Randers from Silkeborg and Viborg for export, and in return came imported items.
Vast agricultural area, good transportation possibilities by both land and water, all helped to make Randers a dynamic center for trade and commerce. Known for the many access roads leading into the city, it has engendered the popular saying, "Where the waterway meets the 13 highways" ("Hvor søvejen møder de 13 landeveje").
Randers is referred to as Crown Jutland (Kronjylland) and the people as Crown Jutlanders (Kronjyde), probably due to the big Crown estates, i.e. the estates owned by the Crown, the King. The term Kronjyde was first used by Danish poets around 1750. Both Nicolai Frederik Severin Grundtvig (1783-1872) and Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875), and especially Nobel Prize laureate Henrik Pontoppidan (1857-1943), who was born in Randers, used the term.
Canute IV of Denmark (ca. 1043-1086), also known as Canute the Saint and Canute the Holy, and patron saint of Denmark, minted coins in the town. The peasants who rose up against him and his plans to attack England and its ruler, William the Conqueror, assembled in this town. Their uprising led to his death.
The town was fortressed throughout much of the Middle Ages. Today, however, the only sign of defensive walls is the evidence of their existence in street names. These streets follow a circular path, presumably following the location of the historic walls. Street names include Østervold ("Eastern Defense Wall), Nørreport ("Northern Gate"), Vestervold ("Western Defense Wall), and Lille Voldgade (Little Defense Wall Street").
A chronicle written at Essenbæk Cloister tells of a fire that ravaged the city. The city was destroyed three times in the 1200s, including in 1246 when it was burned down by Abel of Denmark's troops during the civil uprising against Eric IV of Denmark.
On a street in the town center is the house where Danish nobleman and national hero Niels Ebbesen, according to legend, killed Count Richard (Gerhard) III of Holstein on April 1, 1340 during the Kingless Times, when the entire country was pledged to German counts. This action led to further insurrection against the Germans. Ebbesen died in a large battle at Skanderborg Castle (Skanderborg Slot) in December 1340.
A statue to Ebbesen is erected in front of Randers' Town Hall today.
When King Valdemar IV of Denmark (Valdemar Atterdag) tried to assemble a government in 1350 after the mortgaging to the Holsteiners, the town was further reinforced with protection, and was often named as Randershus ("Randers Fortress"). This fortification was captured by dissatisfied nobility in 1357. In 1359 Valdemar attacked the captured city with the strength all of his forces.
In 1534 a farmers uprising tried to storm the town unsuccessfully. Massive moats were set up around the town under the rule of King Christian III (1536-1559).
During its peak there were alamost 170 merchants' estates in the area, and a sizeable navy that sailed around the world. Some of these old half-timbered estates and manor homes can still be seen in the town.
According to "The Popular Encyclopedia or Conversation Lexicon", Blackie & Son c 1890, it contained at that time an arsenal, a classical school with six professors, and had several industrial establishments, including manufactures of gloves, for which it had long been famous. The town was also known for salmon, rope, and pretty women.
The harbour near the town had only 7½ feet of water, but there was a good shipyard; and at some distance below, at the mouth of the fjord, there was another harbour with 9 to water, and roads with good anchorage in 4 to 5 fathoms. Randers was important militarily, and could encamp from 10,000 to 15,000 men in the town and its neighbourhood, in a position which could not easily be forced. Population in 1880: 13,457.
The town has had its share of problems in recent years before the political power switch, including problems with motorcycle gangs and municipal administration scandals.
The city's football team, Randers FC ("Randers Football Club"), plays in Denmark's best league, the SAS Liga (Superligaen). The club moved up from the lower ranks at the end of last season, where they also won the Danish Cup tournament. The club's manager is the renowned Englishman Colin Todd. Many football fans may also be familiar with their assistant coach Stig Tøfting, who is known as lawn-mower.