Europe is knitted together by layer upon layer of connections. Art and culture bridges national borders, with some splendid collaborations as a result. British Henry Moore sculptures can be found in the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design in Oslo. Artworks by French feminist Louise Bourgeois are on display in London’s Tate Modern. The British Museum is run by a German art historian, Hartwigg Fischer. The list goes on….
Here are some suggestions of dream cultural destinations in Europe, sent to me by fellow writers. Have you been to any?
The name of this Gothenburg museum translates as ‘World Culture Museum’, and its new ongoing exhibition, ‘Tilsammans’, or ‘Together’, is particularly apt. Aimed at families, including young children, it’s an interactive exploration of “the wonders and difficulties of living together”, covering questions like: How is it to miss someone? When do I fit into the group? Is it just silly to fight, or do we sometimes need to?
If you want to read more about Varldskultur Museerna, this post by The Bear and the Fox on Gothenburg with kids is a good place to start.
Did you know that the first museum dedicated exclusively to Picasso’s art wasn’t in Barcelona or Malaga but in Antibes, on the French Riviera? Picasso used the Chateau Grimaldi as a studio in the 1940s, and donated several works of art when he left. The place became the Picasso Museum in 1966 and is small but atmospheric, boasting luminous views of the Mediterranean and of Nice.
Phoebe at Lou Messugo, a gite set in the French Riviera, has written about her visit to the Picasso Museum here
The Bauhaus was an influential art school that punched above its weight. It only ran for 14 years, from 1919 to 1933, but it is said to be one of the most influential currents in modern design and Modernist architecture. The Bauhaus, considered to be dangerously radical, was persecuted and finally closed down under pressure from the Nazi regime.
The Bauhaus-Archiv, or Museum of Design, celebrates the history and influence of Bauhaus. And it’s not just about looking at exhibits: Bauhaus lab was a series of Saturday drop-in sessions for children, young adults and people to design their own creations using Bauhaus as inspiration. Museum Diary posted about the sessions here.
Alesund lies seven hours north of Norway’s capital Oslo, and is known for its art nouveau architecture. The Sunnmoere Museum charts Norway’s history, with preserved houses from medieval times through to the 20th century. It tells a story of hardiness and tough measures to survive the Norwegian winter. Houses are roofed with turf, to insulate their inhabitants; and the museum holds the largest collection of Norwegian boats, including the oldest ship ever found in Norway, and boats sailed by Viking marauders. Jennifer’s Little World visited the Museum, and you can read about her trip here.
Bran Castle is the legendary home of Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula, but did you know that it was also run as a hospital during World War II by Romanian Princess Ileana, a great-granddaughter of British Queen Victoria? The monarch was exiled to the US in 1948 following the communist takeover of the country, and ended her days in an American monastery. The castle itself is perched on a rock over a deep valley, with unparalleled views across the craggy terrain and deep forests of this area. Visitors can go inside the medieval castle, which is well-preserved and furnished with turn-of-the-century pieces, and visit a traditional peasant village in the valley below.
County Clare’s Bunratty Castle and Folk Park is a one-stop location to see reconstructions of several eras of Irish history. The castle is the most complete medieval fortress in the country; the folk park features 19th century life in action, with everything from a schoolhouse to a doctor’s surgery to a pub inhabited by actors in period costume; and there’s even a Regency period walled garden. Wandering Educators have written here about the folk park.
If you want to scroll back even further in time, and are visiting the east of the country (Bunratty is near Shannon, on the west coast), there’s always the ever-popular Dublin Castle, which began life in 1204, in Norman times. A Little Time and a Keyboard has written about it here.
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