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The town prospered, becoming one of the largest communities in Denmark.Its prosperity increased when the merchant- and trade association Guds Legems Laug was established in 1481, facilitating trade with the Hanseatic League, The king frequently visited the town, where he held court and stayed in the old Aalborghus.The herring fishery linked Aalborg to the East coast of England, across the North Sea, both in commercial competition and cultural exchange.During the Middle Ages a number of important institutions were established in Aalborg, including Budolfi Cathedral in the late 14th century and the Hospital of the Holy Ghost, a monastery and nunnery founded in 1451 to help those in need.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.Trænregimentet, the Danish regiment for army supply and emergency medical personnel, is also in Aalborg.The Aalborg Carnival, held at the end of May, is one of the largest festivals in Scandinavia, attracting some 100,000 people annually.The major university is the University of Aalborg, founded in 1974, which has more than 20,000 students (as of 2016).
Aalborg Airport is just 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) northwest of the city centre, and the E45, a European route from Karesuando, Sweden, to Gela, Italy, passes through Aalborg.
In 1530 a large part of the town was destroyed by fire, and in December 1534 it was stormed and plundered by the king's troops after a peasants' revolt known as the Count's Feud led by Skipper Clement. From the 1550s to the 1640s, as a result of increased foreign trade, Aalborg enjoyed great prosperity, second only to that of Copenhagen.
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.
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In the Middle Ages, royal trading privileges, a natural harbour and a thriving herring fishing industry contributed to the town's growth.