Aberdeen is a city in North East Scotland; is the third most populous city in the country; has a 2020 population estimate of 198,590 for the city of Aberdeen, and 227,560 for the local council area – making it the United Kingdom’s 39th most populous built-up area. The city is 93 mi (150 km) northeast of Edinburgh and 398 mi (641 km) north of London, and is the northernmost major city in the United Kingdom. Aberdeen has a long, sandy coastline and features an oceanic climate, with cool summers and mild, rainy winters.
Traditionally, Aberdeen was home to fishing, textile mills, shipbuilding and paper-making. These industries have been largely replaced. High technology developments in the electronics design and development industry, research in agriculture and fishing and the oil industry, which have been largely responsible for Aberdeen’s economic growth, are now major parts of Aberdeen’s economy.
As oil reserves in the North Sea decrease there is an effort to rebrand Aberdeen as “Energy Capital of Europe” rather than “Oil Capital of Europe”, and there is interest in the development of new energy sources, and technology transfer from oil into renewable energy and other industries is underway. The “Energetica” initiative led by Scottish Enterprise has been designed to accelerate this process. Aberdeen has become a major world centre for undersea petroleum technology.
Aberdeen has two universities, the ancient University of Aberdeen, and Robert Gordon University, a modern university often referred to as RGU. Aberdeen’s student rate of 11.5% is higher than the national average of 7%.
The Aberdeen Art Gallery houses a collection of Impressionist, Victorian, Scottish and 20th-century British paintings as well as collections of silver and glass. It also includes The Alexander Macdonald Bequest, a collection of late 19th-century works donated by the museum’s first benefactor and a constantly changing collection of contemporary work and regular visiting exhibitions. The Aberdeen Art Gallery reopened in 2019 after a four-year refurbishment costing £34.6m.
Aberdeen is home to a number of events and festivals including the Aberdeen International Youth Festival (the world’s largest arts festival for young performers), Aberdeen Jazz Festival, Aberdeen Alternative Festival, Rootin’ Aboot (a folk and roots music event), Triptych, the University of Aberdeen’s annual MayFest (formerly the Word festival) and DanceLive, Scotland’s only festival of contemporary dance, produced by the city’s Citymoves dance organisation.
The first ever recorded game of football, was outlined by teacher David Wedderburn in his book “Vocabula” written in 1633, during his time teaching at Aberdeen Grammar School. There are two Aberdeen-based football clubs in the SPFL, the senior branch of Scottish football. Aberdeen F.C. (The Dons) play in the Scottish Premiership at Pittodrie Stadium. The club won the European Cup Winners Cup and the European Super Cup in 1983, the Scottish Premier League Championship four times (1955, 1980, 1984 and 1985), and the Scottish Cup seven times (1947, 1970, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986 and 1990). Under the management of Alex Ferguson, Aberdeen was a major force in British football during the 1980s.
The Royal Aberdeen Golf Club, founded in 1780 is the sixth oldest golf club in the world, and hosted the Senior British Open in 2005, and the amateur team event the Walker Cup in 2011.
Aberdeen Airport (ABZ), in Dyce in the north of the city, serves domestic and international destinations including France, the Netherlands, Spain, Ireland and Scandinavian countries. The heliport which serves the oil industry and rescue services is one of the world’s busiest commercial heliports. Aberdeen railway station is on the main UK rail network, LNER (London North Eastern Railway), and ScotRail has frequent direct trains to major cities Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness. London North Eastern Railway and the Caledonian Sleeper operate direct trains to London. The UK’s longest direct rail journey runs from Aberdeen to Penzance. It is operated by CrossCountry, leaving Aberdeen at 08:20 and taking 13 hours and 23 minutes. Today, all railway services to the south run via Dundee.
In 2012, HSBC named Aberdeen as a leading business hub and one of eight ‘super cities’ spearheading the UK’s economy, marking it as the only city in Scotland so designated. In 2018, Aberdeen was found to be the best city in the UK to start a business in a study released by card payment firm Paymentsense.