Thousands of children sang and danced Friday as the Danish city of Aarhus opened its year as European capital of culture, an honorary title it shares with the port town of Pafos in Cyprus.
The children's celebrations took place the day before the official opening ceremony, and was staged in Aarhus and 18 other municipalities in the Central Denmark Region.
Aarhus was the first European capital of culture to "open with events created and performed by children," organizers said.
"Children have a creativity and directness that challenge us to find new ways to work and be," said Rebecca Matthews, head of the Aarhus culture year.
Events on Friday include a performance at the arrival hall at Aarhus airport, the main square of the town of Randers was transformed into a winter landscape with Sami tents and story-tellers, and in Silkeborg, children created an island of wishes.
Saturday's official opening includes a ceremony at the Concert Hall with among others Queen Margrethe II, followed by a procession.
It will feature hundreds of musicians, choir singers as well as several thousand participants who will carry lanterns and several large Viking ships to create a sea of people and light.
Dawn bike rides are also planned at several venues in the vicinity of "the world's smallest big city" as the inhabitants of Aarhus affectionately describe their city.