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Art and Culture in Amsterdam

Countries:

Netherlands
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Rijksmuseum
The Rijksmuseum is one of Amsterdam’s grandest and most popular museums. Its vast collection showcases iconic art and a wide variety of artefacts that reflect more than 800 years of Dutch and global history, including jaw dropping paintings by the likes of Rembrandt, Van Gogh and countless more Dutch greats. With 80 galleries and 8000 objects on display, there’s never enough time to view the complete collection of treasures! Before you’re even inside the museum, you can enjoy the artistic whimsy of the sculpture-filled garden designed by Pierre Cuypers in 1901. Among the intricate topiaries, water features and colourful flowerbeds, an enormous wingnut tree looks over the play areas, installations and temporary exhibitions in the summer. And also its is only in Amsterdam would a national museum allow cyclists to speed right through it! The Rijksmuseum’s passageway connects the two halves of the atrium, with glass panels giving passers by a glimpse into the museum’s grand interior. The passage’s excellent acoustics make it popular among street musicians.
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Van Gogh Museum
The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is one of the most popular museums in the world, attracting visitors from every corner of the globe. Naturally, this is in large part due to it housing the largest collection of works by Vincent van Gogh – more than 200 paintings, 500 drawings and 700 of his letters. Having originally opened on Museumplein in 1973, the Van Gogh Museum has been expanded and modernised over the years, ensuring it's a truly cutting-edge exhibition and visitor space. For both locals and far-travelling visitors, the Van Gogh Museum is a unique and inspirational experience. Alongside the legacy of Vincent van Gogh's instantly recognisable impressionist works, such as his landscapes, self-portraits and still lifes – especially ‘Sunflowers’ – the museum provides opportunities to track the artist's development and compare his paintings to works by other artists from the 19th century – those who inspired him and those who drew inspiration from him.
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Jordaan
The Jordaan is possibly the most famous neighbourhood in the Netherlands. Akin to the reputation enjoyed by London’s Cockneys, this once working-class bastion was renowned for tight community bonds, radical politics and a love for drink and over-the-top sing-a-longs. Gentrification of decades past has attracted more galleries, restaurants, specialty shops and upwardly-mobile residents to its scenic streets but there’s undeniably still a distinct atmosphere to be enjoyed here. The Jordaan begins at Brouwersgracht, just west of the Amsterdam Central Station and arches around the western side of Canal Ring between Prinsengracht and Lijnbaansgracht before ending at Leidsegracht. The area north of Rozengracht is a more ‘touristy’ and commercial section, although the quieter area to the south is no less scenic.
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The Hermitage
The biggest branch of the world-famous Hermitage in Saint Petersburg can be found in Amsterdam. Discover top works from the Russian collection in changing exhibitions. The museum was established in the Amstelhof, a monumental building on the Amstel river, in 2009. The art collection of the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg had become so extensive that the museum decided to put a range of works on display in branches. The biggest of these can be found in Amsterdam. The Russian art was initially on display in a small building but the Hermitage in the Amstelhof opened its doors in 2009. Just a year later, the museum welcomed its one millionth visitor. The Hermitage is one of the top attractions in Amsterdam.
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Music dome Nering-Boegel
In the middle of the oldest oldest city park in the Netherlands, "Het Worpplantsoen", from 1852 until about 1955 a beautiful music dome stood. When it was demolished, the park also lost its soul. A park restoration followed in 2004 and to give the park its deserved icing on the cake, a group of motivated city dwellers replaced an almost faithful copy of the octogonal music dome.
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Brother Church
The Broederenkerk has a long and rich history from around 1300, when a monastery was established here, where a church was built from around 1335. The Broederen Church, also known as the St. Lebuïnus Church, is a church in Deventer, built between 1335 and 1338 by order of Eleonora of England, then Duchess of Gelre. Before the church was built, a monastery was founded at that place around 1300 by the Franciscan Friars Minor. The name of the church is derived from these brothers. Anyone who takes a look at the Broederenkerk will notice how special this building is in the center of Deventer, both outside and inside.
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Temporary Art Centre
Come to TAC (Temporary Art Centre)! Platform for cultural productions and performances, 70 art studios, young experimental stage, theatre, parties, café and restaurant.
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Museum aan de Stroom
Visitors to Antwerp have been flocking to the hip Eilandje district, an old dockside neighbourhood, to visit the MAS | Museum aan de Stroom, which opened in 2011. This is where the city and the port – the second largest port in Europe even – converge. The stunning architecture and the museum collection are perfect examples of this. The MAS has a phenomenally large collection, which to date comprises about 500,000 items, including artworks and utensils. New objects are constantly being added to the collection. The museum uses its entire collection to weave a new narrative, based on five universal themes, on just as many floors. The MAS takes a closer look at power politics and world ports. At how food shaped and will shape today’s metropolises in the past, present and future. And at life and death, of people and gods, in the upper and under world. Moreover, the third floor and the walking boulevard host some fascinating and highly diverse temporary exhibitions.
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Zeeuws Museum
The Zeeuws Museum, a special museum focusing on the history of Zeeland, is located in the beautiful old abbey in the city center of Middelburg. Admire historic wall tapestries, beautiful regional costumes, and special finds from Zeeland. The collection of wall tapestries of the Provincial-Executive of Zeeland is the pride of the Zeeuws Museum. The provincial government of Zeeland commissioned a wall tapestry depicting the battle of Bergen op Zoom in 1591. When the tapestry was completed four years later, the Provincial-Executive of the province of Zeeland decided to commission more tapestries depicting naval battles in Zeeland. After a number of relocations during and after WWII, the tapestries have now been reunited at the Abbey of Middelburg.
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Saint James's Church
St James‘ Church is the starting point for pilgrims journeying to the burial place of St James the Greater in Santiago de Compostela. The church is also known for the resting place of Rubens. This church, which is within short walking distance from Antwerp’s main shopping street Meir, is one of the largest churches in Antwerp. Like so many other European cities Antwerp also has a sanctuary for St. James. In the early fifteenth century there was a hospice here, which welcomed Northern European pilgrims travelling to the tomb of the apostle James in Santiago de Compostela. In 1413 a chapel, dedicated to St. James, was added to the hospice. Soon the chapel proved too small. As a consequence construction started on the current church in Brabant Gothic style in 1491. It would take no less than 175 years to complete the church. St. James’s Church served as parish church for several smaller crafts and guilds and religious brotherhoods. The choir was completed during the Baroque period with the tombs and chapels of wealthy families. The most famous memorial chapel is that of the Antwerp Baroque master Peter Paul Rubens. He painted the altarpiece Madonna Surrounded by Saints in the chapel. Elsewhere in the church you can admire a masterpiece by Jacob Jordaens. St. James’s Church has one of the oldest working tower clocks.
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Cathedral of Our Lady
The Cathedral is an iconic treasury, with an impressive collection of major art works, including a series of paintings by Rubens. Now, after twenty years, the seven-naved church has been restored to its former architectural glory. Fascinating features include Rubens’ ‘Elevation of the Cross’ and his ‘Descent from the Cross’. After 169 years of construction the cathedral of Antwerp finally dominated Antwerp's skyline in 1521 with a height of 123 metres. It's the highest Gothic building in the Low Countries. Any visit to Antwerp starts with a visit of the Cathedral of Our Lady!
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Vlaeykensgang
The secret Vlaeykensgang alley dates from 1591 and connects Hoogstraat, Oude Koornmarkt Pelgrimstraat with one another. Walk through the gate at Oude Koornmarkt 16 and you feel as if you have journeyed back in time. In the past this alley was where the shoemakers and the poorest people in the city lived. The shoemakers were also in charge of sounding the alarm bell of the cathedral. These days you can find antiques stores and art galleries here as well as the exclusive restaurant Sir Anthony Van Dyck. The atmosphere is very intimate which is why many people also like to come here to listen to the carillon concerts during the summertime.
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The Rubens House
In the heart of Antwerp is the home of Peter Paul Rubens, the famous 16th-17th--century Baroque painter. For four hundred years, he and his work have been a source of inspiration and a reference. And to think that he created the bulk of his work in this house. Rubens was a fan of Rafael’s, the Italian painter. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that in 1610, just as his idol, Rubens designed his own city palace. Near the Meir, which has always been a sought-after part of the city. This is the house where Rubens created his masterpieces, his children played in the garden and he received his high, noble and even royal guests. And in the meantime, a team were working hard on his paintings in the studio. At his peak, Rubens could not cope alone and led a team of professional artists.
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Der Aa church
It may be hard to imagine because the Vismarkt is currently one of the busiest locations in Groningen, but it is believed that during the Middle Ages the Drentse Aa was an inland harbour here, with a wooden church. In 1226, the church received its official name: Kerk van Onze Lieve Vrouwe ter A, currently Der Aa church. Today it is used as a location for receptions, concerts, symposia and exhibitions.
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Saint Peter's Church
Saint Peter’s stands in the very centre of Leuven. It was built as a Romanesque church in 986, and it is therefore the oldest church in the city. In 1176, the building was ravaged by fire (probably for the first time), and two centuries later, part of the church again burned to the ground. In the 15th century, the Romanesque building was gradually taken down to make way for the Gothic church you see today. This process took more than a century. Over the last century, Saint Peter’s Church has undergone several extensive renovations, returning it to its full glory. That is why Saint Peter’s Church is now generally recognized as one of the finest examples of 15th-century Brabantine High Gothic architecture, and it is an unmissable tourist attraction in the city of Leuven.
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M-Museum Leuven
The museum displays old and new art inspired by Leuven’s versatility. The collection is mainly focused on the art production in Leuven and Brabant from the Middle Ages to the 19th century. It includes Constantin Meunier, Jef Lambeaux and Georges Minne. In addition to the permanent collection, M also presents temporary exhibitions of both old masters and contemporary artists. Discover the personalised offer for groups and families. The impressive architecture deserves special attention. Designed by Belgian top architect Stéphane Beel, the complex integrates historical buildings and contemporary architecture. Don’t miss the enclosed garden and roof terrace.
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Leuven Town Hall
The town hall is Leuven's pride and joy. Moreover, it's one of the best-known Gothic town halls worldwide. It took three architects and thirty years to build it. Leuven's 'Hall of Fame' features 236 statues, which were only added to the façade after 1850. These days the town hall merely has a ceremonial function after the city's administrative services moved in 2009. The tourist information center is situated on the side of the town hall. Also daily guided tours are available. The guide will tell you about the construction history of this Gothic gem. You will discover the story behind the 236 sculptures on the façade. Afterwards, you can visit the foyer, the reception rooms, the large and small Gothic Hall, the wedding hall and the council hall. Every third Saturday of the month you can visit the cellars under the town hall. These cellars have housed the ‘Jaartallen’ collection since the very first edition in 1890. The entrance is located at Grote Markt square next to the town hall’s flight of step.
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Dr Guislain Museum
The oldest mental asylum in Belgium, which dates back to 1857 is in Jozef Guislainstraat. Today it houses an absolutely fascinating museum. It was the visionary Dr Guislain who was one of the first to think of mentally ill people as patients with a right to humane treatment. The shame that was felt at the way psychiatric patients had been treated in the past was the impetus for founding the Dr Guislain Museum in Ghent in 1986. Dr Guislain Museum in Ghent aims to break down the many prejudices that still define what is ‘mentally ill’ and what is ‘normal’. Discover the permanent collection and find out about the history of psychiatry, as well as an international collection of outsider art or art brut. The temporary exhibitions are always great too.
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House of Alijn
The House of Alijn museum in Ghent puts the ordinary daily life of 20th-century people in the spotlight. This was once the ‘Children of Alijn hospice’. It is the only almshouse—a charitable institution where the old and sick were cared for—to have been preserved in Ghent. Traditions and rituals belong to the past and present. Daily routines and special events determine the rhythm of your life. During your weekend trip to Ghent, enjoy the customs, traditions and rituals at the House of Alijn museum that recall a recent or more distant past. Go ‘Back to the future’: rediscover your very first baby photos, marbles in the playground, your first love, the excitement of the summer holidays... The way we approach ‘occasions and emotions’ changes over time: it is both personal and universal. Find out that everyday life is anything but ordinary. Enjoy these collective memories in the lovely courtyard garden and a typical working-class pub. We recommend it!
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Design Museum Gent
Wild about design? Be sure to visit the Design Museum Gent. A modern, open building lurks behind a magnificent 18th-century façade. This impressive city residence in Rococo style was bought by the City of Ghent in 1922 and used it to house the Design Museum. The temporary exhibitions complement the magnificent permanent collection, from art nouveau to trends in contemporary design. Even if you don’t need to go, the toilet enclosure at the museum is well worth a visit. The bathroom wing was built in defiance after Design Museum Gent kept being refused the funds for expansion by Ghent City Council. When it did get a permit for a huge monumental work of art, a huge toilet roll with toilets hidden inside it, a message was added with a double meaning: ‘de pot op’. Literally it means “go to the loo” but what the expression really means colloquially is “go to hell”, giving the figurative finger to Ghent City Council.
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Atomium
Unavoidable icon of Brussels en Belgium, important place for international tourism, unique creation in the history of architecture and emblematic vestige of the World fair in Brussels, the Atomium is today the most popular tourist attraction of Europe’s Capital. The Atomium was constructed for the first post-war universal world exhibition (EXPO 58) The nine spheres represent an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. They represent the faith one had in the power of science and moreover in nuclear power.
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STAM - Ghent City Museum
The STAM is the ideal place to start your cultural holiday in Ghent, an unmistakeably contemporary building against a historic backdrop. Ghent is a city of every era, and the same applies to the modern Ghent City Museum: the 14th-century abbey, 17th-century convent and new 21st-century building all form part of the STAM. The STAM tells the story of Ghent from the Middle Ages to the present day, with imaginative collections and interactive multimedia. The past, present and future of the city are presented in a clear and interesting way: from mediaeval metropolis to city of knowledge and culture. The eye-catcher at Ghent City Museum, the STAM, is a gigantic aerial photograph of Ghent (measuring 300 m2!) that you are allowed to walk all over. Use the multimedia app to see Ghent in detail in four different centuries. ‘Views of Ghent’ shows a view of the city in 1534, maps from 1641 and 1912 and a contemporary aerial photograph. Ghent’s ‘arts quarter’ is not only home to impressive historic buildings, but also to quiet green spaces, parks and gardens where you can fully recharge your batteries.
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Museum of Fine Arts Ghent
The strength of the Museum of Fine Arts (MSK) in Ghent, one of the oldest museums in Belgium, lies in the varied nature of its collection, which is nothing short of remarkable. Never before have old masters and modernists hung side-by-side so perfectly as in this iconic museum building. At the end of the 18th century, Ghent was under French rule and many of the city’s art treasures were seized. Some of them can still be seen in the Louvre in Paris today. Rebellious Ghent wasn’t having any of it and slowly began to establish a wide-ranging art collection, searching for years to find an appropriate building. The ideal location was found in the building designed by the architect Van Rysselberghe in the Citadelpark, a museum with a fantastic feeling of spaciousness and a lot of light. The collection, which ranges from Hieronymus Bosch to Rubens and Magritte, has never been shown more attractively than it is today. It covers an enormous variety of paintings, statues, drawings, etchings and tapestries, from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. An auditorium, a library, a children’s workshop and a brasserie turn the MSK into a contemporary, multipurpose complex where you can spend many a pleasant hour surrounded by beauty during your weekend trip to Ghent. Why not take a virtual peek inside the MSK now?
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SMAK Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art
Lovers of contemporary art absolutely can’t afford to miss a visit to the S.M.A.K. during their weekend in Ghent. The Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art, or S.M.A.K. for short (in Dutch), was founded in 1999 and is located opposite the MSK in a former casino building. The city of Ghent is known for its rebelliousness, and its contemporary art museum is every bit as dynamic and unconventional as Ghent itself. The collection is considered to be the most important collection of contemporary art in Flanders, with world-famous works of art from Belgium and abroad. Every four months, the museum exhibits a selection of these works in alternation with original, often daring exhibitions. Recover at leisure from the assault on your senses in the museum café. Under the inspiring leadership of the controversial curator and ‘art pope’ Jan Hoet, the former ‘contemporary art wing’ of the MSK was given its own museum, the S.M.A.K. The permanent collection at this museum for contemporary art includes top Belgian and international works of art by Cobra, pop art, minimal art, conceptual art and arte povera artists, who are now among the most famous artists in the world.
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The Belgian Comic Strip Center
The Belgian Comic Strip Center has been honouring the creators and heroes of the 9th Art for more than 25 years. The regularly renewed permanent exhibitions and a diversified programme of temporary exhibitions enable visitors to discover the countless aspects of comics art. Tintin and the Smurfs lead the way towards further adventures, an encounter with a world where creativity has no limits. Enhanced by an exceptional Art Nouveau home designed by Victor Horta, the Belgian Comic Strip Center is just as much a tribute to the pioneers as a glimpse of contemporary comics art.
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Grand Palace of Brussels
The Grand-Place is the central square of the City of Brussels. All over the world it is known for its decorative and aesthetic wealth. The Grand-Place is surrounded by the guild houses, the City Hall and the Maison du Roi. The Grand-Place is considered as one of the most beautiful places of the world. The Grand-Place of Brussels was registered on the World Heritage List of the UNESCO in 1998. Nowadays, numerous festive or cultural events are organized on the Grand-Place: the Flower carpet (77 x 24m, event organized every 2 years in mid-August and with more than 500.000 begonias; the Ommegang which commemorates the tribute created in 1549 during the coming of Charles the Fifth in Brussels to present it his son, the future Philippe II; the Christmas tree; the daily flower market; the procession of the Meyboom and concerts.
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Basilica of the Holy Blood
The Basilica of the Holy Blood is a Roman Catholic basilica in Bruges. The church houses a venerated relic of the Holy Blood allegedly collected by Joseph of Arimathea and brought from the Holy Land by Thierry of Alsace, Count of Flanders. The double church, dedicated to Our Lady and Saint Basil in the 12th century and a basilica since 1923, consists of a lower church that has maintained its Romanesque character and a neo-Gothic upper church, in which the relic of the Holy Blood is preserved. The treasury, with numerous valuable works of art, is also worth a visit.
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Groeningemuseum
The Groeninge Museum offers a varied overview of the history of Belgian plastic arts. Although the Flemish Primitives are a high point, you will also marvel at top 18th and 19th-century neoclassical pieces, masterpieces from Flemish Expressionism and post-war modern art.
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The Horta Museum
The Horta Museum is established in the private house and studio of the famous architect, Victor Horta (1861 - 1947). Built between 1898 and 1901, the two buildings are characteristic of Art Nouveau at its peak. The house has kept intact most of its interior decors: mosaics, stained-glass windows, furniture, paintings and murals form a collection whose every detail evokes harmony and sophistication. The museum is also a centre for research into Victor Horta and Art Nouveau. The architect's personal archives, a collection of blueprints for his buildings and a library are open to the public by arrangement.
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K 20 Art Collection North Rhine-Westphalia
The history of the North Rhine-Westphalia Art Collection began in 1960 when the state government acquired a collection of 88 works by the painter Paul Klee. The Klee collection is the foundation of the "Foundation Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen" founded by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia in 1961.
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Gehry Buildings
The art and media center Rheinhafen by Frank O. Gehry (USA) is divided into three contrastingly designed parts of the building and looks like a giant sculpture.
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James Ensor House
Do not fear. To truly understand the master, you must visit his house at least once. The displaying cupboards full of crazy, bizarre, bewildering objects will bring you into the atmosphere of his work, breathing in the air on the piano nobile will do the rest. The Ensor House is closed since November 15th, 2017. Reopening will be after finishing the constructions of the Ensor visitor centre. Keep an eye on the website for more information! The interactive experience centre will offer extensive information about Ensor the artist and the world he lived in. Each of the five experience rooms highlights a specific theme, including Ensor’s studio, the masks, Ensor and Ostend, Death and finally, Society and criticism. The experience centre will also host temporary exhibitions with unique engravings and prints by James Ensor. The perfect place, in other words, to immerse yourself in the artist’s world and work and learn more about this complex and fascinating figure.
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Kunsthalle Emden
This nationwide well-known museum with the attached painting school is thanks to the founders Henri and Eske Nannen. The founder of STERN, Henri Nannen, opened a house for his collection in 1986 in his hometown of Emden, predominantly art of the Classical Modern Age.
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Aachen Cathedral Treasury
Charlemagne's palace, the era of coronations and the tradition of pilgrimages have produced an unique and magnificent church treasure whose most famous pieces are on show today in the Cathedral Treasury. The oldest piece is a Roman sarcophagus which portrays a scene from ancient mythology, and in which Charlemagne was initially buried. From Charlemagne's palatine school in Aachen comes a book cover carved from ivory and showing scenes from the story of Christ's resurrection. According to medieval legend, several other pieces of the Cathedral treasure belonged to Charlemagne himself, one of them a hunting horn fashioned from the tusk of an elephant.
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Ansembourg Museum
This private mansion, built in approximately 1740 for a banker, pays witness, through its architectural features and decorative arts that are typical of Liège, to the sophisticated lifestyle of this era. Art objects are on display, whilst furniture from Liège and the rest of Europe depict what the interiors of the time would have resembled. The Ansembourg Museum also proposes exhibitions throughout the year which promote one aspect or another of the collections from Liège's museums. For the Ansembourg Museum, this beautiful mansion built around 1740, the first phase of restoration will soon begin. In 1903, the city of Liège acquired the building, which in 1905 became its museum of archaeology and decorative arts.
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The Grand Curtius
Discovering 7000 years of art and history! What is the Grand Curtius Museum? This museum contains more than 7000 years of regional and international artefacts and more than 5200 items displayed in chronological or thematic order. You also can find prestigious collections from the archaeology, decorative arts, religious art and Mosan arts, as well as the weaponry and glass. The Grand Curtius located in the historical heart of the Ardent City, the Grand Curtius offers a fresh perspective of the city, houses gardens and a cafeteria that are open all year round.
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The Football Museum
The Football Museum is embedded in Dortmund's art and culture mile, which includes the Dortmunder U, the Harenberg City Center, the RWE Tower, the Museum of Art and Cultural History and the City and Regional Library.