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Museums in the Benelux

Something – maybe everything - in the museums of the Benelux will bowl you over, whether it’s Dutch Masters, Mondrian or Van Gogh in Holland, medieval armour and furnishings in Luxembourg, or comic book and music museums in Belgium housed in superlative Art Nouveau buildings.

 

In Holland there’s always a museum nearby. The Hendrikje Museum of Bags and Purses displays the history of the western lady’s handbag from the late Middle Ages up to the present day. If you don’t already know the difference between an 18th century chatelaine bags and a 19th century reticules, you will after you explore this unusual museum. See lines and squares and color at The Hague Municipal Museum, home to the largest collection of paintings Piet Mondrian. The Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAi) is much more than a museum. With more than 30 exhibitions per year in seven halls, the NAi presents an attractive overview of architecture, both at home and abroad. Don’t forget the iconic Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh collections!

Belgium has museums on topics ranging from Fencing (the sport, not your garden boundary) to Fine Arts, ensuring something to suit every taste. Highlights include the Fine Arts Museum (do see the Brueghels and the Magrittes), Scientastic (a highly interactive science museum for kids right in the heart of town), the Royal Museum of Central Africa (for an excellent overview of a fascinating continent) and the Museum of Natural Sciences (for the largest dinosaur collection in Europe, plus the shell, insect and North Sea galleries). Visit the Musical Instruments Museum and the Magritte Museum on the Mont des Arts before you head down the hill to the stunning Art Nouveau building housing the Comic Strip Museum. See Tintin and his friends here or at the spectacular new museum dedicated to Hergé, his creator. The museum is built in the shape of an elongated prism that seems to float on the forest of ancient trees.

Besides its picturesque site and the remains of its ancient fortress, Luxembourg City distinguishes itself by its rich and varied cultural offering. Walking tours to discover its charms can easily be extended by one or more visits to museums and art centres, true gems of art and history, before topping off the evening by a music concert, theatre show, dance performance, conference or literary cabaret. The Luxembourg City History Museum, located at the heart of the old city features permanent collections and temporary exhibitions illustrating the very ancient history of the capital of the Grand Duchy in an original manner.

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