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In Erik Pontoppidan's Danske Atlas (Danish Atlas) it was described as "after Copenhagen, the best and most prosperous market town in Denmark".
After Denmark ceded Norway to Sweden in 1814, Aalborg lost its important role as the country's centre for Norwegian trade.
Aalborg's initial growth relied on heavy industry but its current development focuses on culture and education.
The major university is the University of Aalborg, founded in 1974, which has more than 20,000 students (as of 2016).
The University College of Northern Denmark is one of seven new regional organisations while the Royal School of Library and Information Science (RSLIS) provides higher education in library and information science.
With its theatres, symphony orchestra, opera company, performance venues, and museums such as Aalborg Historical Museum and the Aalborg Museum of Modern Art, Aalborg is an important cultural hub.
The Aalborg Carnival, held at the end of May, is one of the largest festivals in Scandinavia, attracting some 100,000 people annually.
A major exporter of grain, cement, and spirits, its thriving business interests include Siemens Wind Power, Aalborg Industries, and Aalborg Portland.