Today, on International Museum Day, we celebrate the fact that many European museums are starting to reopen. Reported COVID-19 infections have been declining across Europe over the past weeks. As a result, several countries have already reopened museums or are planning to do so in the near future. An update of the situation in various countries can be found below. The list is followed by a selection of exhibitions and events that are either postponed, extended or canceled due to the pandemic.
Visit our CODART at Home page for the latest information about museums during the COVID-19 pandemic and for Dutch and Flemish art you can enjoy from home.
Museums reopening across Europe
Museums in Germany, Belgium and The Czech Republic have already started to welcome visitors or are planning to do so in the coming days. Governments in Austria and The Netherlands have announced to open their museums in late May or early June. No general opening dates have been announced for museums in France, the UK and Spain. The situation for museums in the US remains unchanged. We will communicate the reopening of American museums on CODART at Home when the situation changes.
The sixteen German states have set their own timelines for easing lockdown measures. Museums in Berlin were allowed to reopen on 4 May, but many remained closed. The Gemäldegalerie and the Altes Museum reopened on 12 May, but most of the other fifteen museums belonging to the Staatliche Museen will remain closed for now. Meanwhile, the Dresden State Art Collections, Hamburger Kunsthalle, and Alte Pinakothek in München have are already opened.
The National Gallery Prague opened its doors again last week. However, the scheduled exhibition on Rembrandt, which was to open mid-April, is postponed to the autumn. Opening and closing dates are yet to be confirmed.
The Belgian government published a three-step program for reopening the country. Museums are part of step two, allowing them to resume their activities on 18 May. Visits to the museum will be possible provided the number of visitors is limited and that social-distancing measures are respected. M Leuven opens on Monday 18 May, followed a day later by the museums in Brussels and the Rubens House Museum.
Musea Brugge announced on Facebook that it will open the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk on 18 May, and the Arentshuis, Groeningemuseum, Gruuthusemuseum, and the main Museumshop located in the Arentshof on 19 May. All other locations of Musea Brugge will remain closed until further notice.
Most Austrian museums are scheduled to reopen in May. The Kunsthistorisches Museum will open again on 30 May. However, the other museums that are governed by this institution, such as the Imperial Treasury, will be opening months later (either on 2 July, 2 September, or 1 October). The Picture Gallery of the Akademie der Bildenden Künste Vienna (currently at the Theatermuseum) will open starting 1 July 2020. Other important collections such as the DomQuartier Salzburg and the Albertina Museum are to reopen soon, on 16 and 27 May respectively. The latter has extended its exhibition The Renaissance of Etching. From Dürer to Bruegel until 31 October.
On 1 June, all museums are allowed to receive ticketed visitors only. Most Dutch museums are expected to reopen, including The Rijksmuseum and The Mauritshuis.
Local French museums were allowed to reopen on Monday 11 May, although the number of accessible museums is limited. Among the regional museums with Dutch and Flemish art is The Musée de Flandre in Cassel that reopens Tuesday 19 May. Major institutions such as the Louvre are rumored to resume their activities in June.
Although the Spanish government is allowing shops to reopen, museums are closed at the time of writing. The country’s best-known museums, including The Prado and Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, have not yet confirmed any reopening dates.
According to the latest information of the Museums Association, British museums are expected to remain closed until at least July.
Rescheduled exhibitions and events
A handful of exhibitions have officially been rescheduled. We expect more exhibitions to be postponed to next year over the coming weeks and we will update these exhibitions on our website.
In Prague, the exhibition Rembrandt: Portrait of a Man will be postponed to the autumn of 2020. The same goes for Arnt the Sculptor of Images – Master of animated Sculptures at Museum Schnüttgen in Cologne, although no alternative opening date is yet announced. In the Light of Cuyp will open in Dordrecht in October 2021. Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar is looking into rescheduling the Allart van Everdingen exhibition to the second half of 2021.
The Rembrandt House Museum in Amsterdam reopens to the public on 2 June and announced to extend the exhibition Black in Rembrandt’s Time until 6 September 2020.
The second phase of the restoration of The Night Watch has also been rescheduled due to the pandemic. The initial plan was to start in August 2020, but this is no longer feasible. It will now take place in early 2021.
See CODART at Home for the latest updates.