The market square (Torvet) was positioned at the centre, midway between the harbour and the railway station.
Esbjerg is the main town for Denmark's oil and offshore activities, with companies like Maersk, Ramboll, Stimwell Services, ABB, Schlumberger, COWI and Atkins all having offshore-related activities in the town. The port has served the Danish offshore industry since oil and gas were first extracted from the North Sea in the early 1970s.Over the years, many of the city's visitors have arrived by ferry from Harwich, Essex, England, but this service closed in September 2014 having run since 1875.The harbour facilities are being expanded to answer the needs of the wind-turbine industry and container shipping traffic.The Esbjerg Performing Arts Centre was completed in 1997 to designs by Jan and Jørn Utzon.When approached by sea, the Man Meets the Sea is one of the prominent monuments, consisting of four 9-metre-tall (27 feet) white-coloured men, overlooking Sædding Beach.
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With an urban population of 71,618 (as of 1 January 2016 it is the fifth-largest city in Denmark, and the largest in west Jutland.Before a decision was made to establish a harbour (now the second largest in Denmark) at Esbjerg in 1868, the area consisted of only a few farms.Once Denmark's principal fishing port, the Port of Esbjerg is still a driving force for the town's economy.While it has a long history of ferry services to England, the town is by no means a tourist destination.In order to cope with enormous future increases in Danish offshore wind power, 12 companies, including DONG Energy and Bluewater Energy Services are already planning the establishment of a Green Offshore Centre in Esbjerg.
Historically, in addition to its success as a fishing port, Esbjerg established its position as one of the country's major export centres.The slaughterhouse and meat packaging facility, Esbjerg Andels-Slagteri, established in 1887, became Denmark's sixth largest by 1962.It later became part of Vestjyske Slagterier in 1986, and in 2001, it was acquired by Danish Crown.Initial planning of the town was conducted by chartered surveyor H.Wilkens in 1870 with streets laid out in the form of a rectangular grid.