Aalborg emerged where the Limfjord Sound was narrowest and easiest to cross. This location made Aalborg an important trading post in the Middle Ages and later on an industrial centre that is more and more turning towards a knowledge economy. The municipality expanded in 2007 through the inclusion of neighbouring areas to include more than 190,000 inhabitants on 1,144 km². Aalborg is now the third largest municipality in Denmark.
The city of Aalborg is striving to make the city a place with an outstanding quality of life. Aalborg has for many years been a pioneer in the field of sustainable development. In 1994, the city made efforts to put local sustainability on the European agenda. This resulted in the creation of the Aalborg Charter that has been signed by over 2,500 municipalities across Europe. In 2004, this was followed by the Aalborg Commitments, a more binding statement through which cities commit themselves to work diligently for local sustainable development. It has been signed by 640 municipalities.
Besides its extensive experience in European cooperation, Aalborg has also already participated in the CIVITAS I phase. In the ARCHIMEDES project of the CIVITAS Plus phase, the city focussed at developing its expertise in sustainable mobility solutions. Aalborg particularly worked on becoming a Cycling City. A cycle motorway including traffic lights, dedicated cycle lanes, signposts, shortcuts, shelter and safety provisions, was introduced. Moreover, Aalborg established an environmental zone with restrictions on certain heavy goods vehicles to efficiently manage freight logistics. The city also took action to monitor and reduce congestion. Aalborg also worked with biofuels and developed local biodiesel supply infrastructure.