The first mention of Aalborg under its original name Alabu or Alabur is found on coins from c.
1040, the period when King Harthacnut (Hardeknud) settled in the area. 1075, Adam of Bremen reported that Alaburg, as he called it in German, was an important harbour for ships sailing to Norway.
The population grew in parallel with the development of many fine buildings in the city as merchants benefitted from their shipping routes from Norway to Portugal.
After Denmark ceded Norway to Sweden in 1814, Aalborg lost its important role as the country's centre for Norwegian trade.
The area around the narrowest point on the Limfjord attracted settlements as far back as the Iron Age leading to a thriving Viking community until around the year 1000 in what has now become Aalborg.
In the Middle Ages, royal trading privileges, a natural harbour and a thriving herring fishing industry contributed to the town's growth.
The football club Aalborg BK, established in 1885 and based at Nordjyske Arena, won the Danish Superliga in the 1994–95 season, the 1998–99 season, the 2007–08 season and the 2013–14 season.
Other sports associations include the icehockey club Aalborg Pirates, the men's handball team Aalborg Håndbold, the rugby club Aalborg RK, and Aalborg Cricket Club. Kennedys Plads has connected the city to Randers and the south since 1869.
Budolfi Church, now a cathedral, dates from the end of the 14th century and Aalborghus Castle, a royal residence, was built in 1550.