28 October 2012

Musea others

Back to Amsterdam. We took a Museum card so visited several museums, but renovations were the order of the day. The modern art museum, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, was closed for renovations, opening the weekend we left. We’ve seen tons of impressionists and the like so no particular loss. The Van Gogh museum was busy and interesting for his development rather than masterworks but van Gogh’s not a favourite either. More interesting is the Rjiksmuseum, which is immense with a matching large collection, but this, too, was under restoration and had a disappointingly small subset of its collection on show, perhaps 20 rooms. There were Rembrandts and the Night watch, of course, and some other works of delicacy and still lifes and upright Dutch citizenry, but this was a disappointingly limited display. We visited several other museums on the card, but not so memorable.

This is not the full range of museums we encountered. An interesting trio in Bergen showed us the life of 1200s fishermen in Norway, the bachelor lives of representatives of the (German-originated, first multinational) Hanseatic League and the stone banqueting halls of mediaeval times. The Polar museum in Tromso was small and masculine, dealing with hunting and exploring. Ålesund was rebuilt after a fire in 1904 and has a gem of a museum of Art Nouveau, the Jugendstilsenteret, but its town architecture is a display in itself. Oslo has the Viking Ship Museum which is small but stunning: three virtually complete Viking ships dated ~CE900 and excavated from burial mounds around 120 years ago.

Good on the sensible Dutch and German and Norwegian museums that allow photography as long as it’s without flash.

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