Skip the line: 7 of Europe’s best online exhibitions to check out this summer
Europe’s museums house some of the world’s best artistic masterpieces and oldest ancient artifacts.
But catching a glimpse of these treasures is not always easy. Too often, visitors have to spend hours queuing, tending to sore feet and resisting the urge to ditch the queue in favor of an ice cream.
Luckily, some of the best museums on the continent are accessible from the comfort of your own home.
In the digital age, you can stroll through the British Museum, pop into Amsterdam’s Rjiksmuseum, and browse sculptures in Florence – all before lunch.
Without further ado, here are seven of the best virtual museums and exhibits to check out this summer. You won’t even have to change pajamas.
The seven best online museums to visit in summer 2022
1. The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
The National Museum of the Netherlands welcomes more than 2.5 million visitors a year – and for good reason. Many are drawn to paintings by Dutch masters, including Vermeer’s The Milkmaid and Rembrandt’s The Night Watch.
Thanks to the Internet, you don’t have to settle for a distant glimpse. Instead, get up close and personal with deep dives in the museum’s most famous paintings.
2. The British Museum, London
With over 8 million objects, this gargantuan museum houses one of the largest collections in the world.
Thanks to the museum’s partnership with Google Arts and Culture, most of them are free consult online. From the ancient Islamic world to Egyptian mummies, there’s something for everyone.
If you find the number of exhibits a bit overwhelming, check out one of the “stories” curated by museum staff. Highlights include a whirlwind tour of Iron Age Celtic art and an in-depth look at the Rosetta Stone.
3. The Museum of Broken Relationships, Zagreb
Sometimes relationships don’t last – but things do.
Home to hundreds of donated possessions, this unique museum documents heartaches and breakups through the objects that survive romantic relationships.
From a dominatrix’s stilettos and an old sailor’s cap to a fluffy piece of navel, the objects in this museum offer a poignant reflection on love and loss. Much of the collection is available to browse on line.
4. The Vatican Museums, Vatican City
The Vatican Museums are home to huge art collection amassed by the popes from the 17th century. The regular admission price is €17 – but online you can access 360-degree virtual tours of the Vatican’s seven most popular sites for free.
Marvel at the magnificent ceiling of the famous Sistine Chapel, hand-painted by Michelangelo and his assistants. Be sure to zoom in on the beautiful details.
5. The Dalí Theatre-Museum, Figaro, Spain
Dedicated to the life and work of surrealist artist Salvador Dalí, the Dalí Theatre-Museum is a masterpieces in itself.
Adorned with buns and topped with giant eggs and massive versions of Oscar’s statuette, this isn’t your typical museum. Indeed, it is also a tomb – according to his last wishes, the artist is buried in the central room of the museum.
Every part of the museum is accessible in this virtual tour.
6. The Pergamon Museum in Berlin
The Pergamonmuseum is on Museum Island in the historic center of Berlin, but many of its exhibits can be viewed from home.
As the name of the museum suggests, the most famous of these is the Pergamon Altar, a magnificent construction commissioned by the Ancient Greek King Eumenes II in the 2nd century BC.
This excellent online exhibition tells the story of the altar in all its glory.
7. The Louvre, Paris
If you’ve ever visited the Mona Lisa, it’s unlikely you’ve come closer than three meters. The painting is so popular that visitors have to bend over a sea of choppy phones to get a decent look.
But the museum’s ‘Mona Lisa – Beyond Glass’ app promises to ‘bring the artwork to life’ through viewing in a 360 degree panorama.
The Louvre is also home to several excellent online exhibitions, with topics ranging from the connection between art and political power to Darth Vader.