There’s nothing quite like really getting to know a place and the best way to do it is to learn about the local culture and heritage. This is where museums come in – as the font of all knowledge, with informative exhibits, fascinating artifacts and intriguing tales. These are our top 7 museums in Europe;
Museum of Liverpool, UK – Whilst the new block-like building that houses the Museum of Liverpool may divide opinion. There’s no doubt that this is one of the best museums in the UK. And the museum holds the honour of the ‘European museum of the year 2013’ – high praise indeed. Situated right on Liverpool Docks, the structure itself is a modern landmark and the Museum opened in 2000. Housing over 6,000 objects which depict local culture and history, there are four main themes to the museum; The Great Port, Global City, People’s Republic and Wondrous Place. Exhibitions include paintings from local artist and author Beryl Bainbridge and of course a dedicated Beatles exhibition!
Musee Rodin, Paris, France – The Rodin Museum is dedicated to the works of the French sculptor Auguste Rodin who died in 1917. The fascinating museum in Paris features many of Rodin’s completed works of bronze and marble sculptures, both indoors and within the grounds. Pieces such as ‘The Kiss’, ‘The Walking Man’ and ‘The Thinker’ are contained within Rodin’s former home, at 79, rue de Varenne. Some pieces from Rodin’s personal collection are also on display from artists such as Monet and Van Gogh.
The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands – The superb Rijksmuseum opens its doors again this year following an extensive 10 year renovation programme. Also known as the State Museum (certainly easier to pronounce) the venue will once again showcase fine arts, crafts and history with the main draw being the superb collection of pieces from Dutch artists. Located on Amsterdam’s Museumplein the museum primarily focuses on pieces from the ‘Golden Age’ of the 17th century. First established in 1800, the Rijksmuseum features exhibits from Rembrandt, Frans Hals and Johannes Vermeer, with over 200 masterpieces on display.
V&A Museum, London, UK – The Victoria and Albert Museum is amongst the finest in London – which is a tough call in a city packed with superb museums; British Museum, Natural History Museum, Tate Britain etc. The V&A is primarily focussed on technology and design and features many exquisite decorative art and design pieces. There are some 145 galleries containing 4.6 million objects that date back 5000 years with classical art, jewellery, sculptures, ceramics and artifacts. Daunting? Yes! But with free entry, visitors can explore at their own pace. Founded by Henry Cole in 1852, the V&A attracts 2.3 visitors annually.
Prado Museum, Madrid, Spain – The Nacional del Prado Museo in Spain’s capital city is home to the most important art collection in Europe. Established in 1819, the Prado Museum receives some 3 million visitors each year keen to see the collections which have been amassed from Spanish royalty, the Bourbons and the Habsburgs. As you’d expect there are many pieces from the great Spanish artists such as Velazquez, Murilla and El Greco. The most well-known painting is ‘Las Meninas’ by Velázquez. The collection of paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings is huge with around 1,300 on display at any one time.
Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy – The Galleria degli Uffizi is home to an exquisite selection of Renaissance and medieval sculptures and paintings. Constructed in 1560 for the Medici family, most of the works in the collection also came from the Medici’s. the collection is absolutely vast with thousands of pieces from Greek, Roman, Renaissance and Baroque periods including the ‘Birth of Venus’ from Botticelli and ‘Venus of Urbino’ from Titian. The Uffizi is particularly popular during the peak summer season and buying forward-sale tickets is definitely recommended.
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen, Denmark – Established in 1958, the Louisiana Museum lies north of Copenhagen. With a large collection of both modern and contemporary art dating back to World War II, artists such as Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso and Francis Bacon. The sculpture garden features pieces from Jean Arp, Henry Moore and Alexander Calder. And if you wondered where the name of the museum comes from, the original owner named it after his 3 wives, who were all named Louise!