Famed European museums begin to reopen from the coronavirus shutdown: ‘A day to celebrate’

Visitors pass Rembrandt's Night Watch in the reopened Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Monday, June 1, 2020. The Dutch government took a major step to relax the coronavirus lockdown, with bars, restaurants, cinemas and museums reopening under strict conditions.

AMSTERDAM (AP) — In the Netherlands, the intimate gaze of the Girl with the Pearl Earring can once again startle and entice visitors. Down in Spain, the rusty maze of steel sheets by Richard Serra is a wonderland anew for art lovers. And at the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam can drop jaws like it has done for ages.

As Europe slowly emerges from the coronavirus pandemic that has killed well over 150,000 in the continent and crippled some of the world’s biggest economies, Monday let a brilliant ray shine through the gloom as several of the top museums globally reopened to flaunt their riches.

All of the Netherlands rejoiced in a relaxing of the lockdown measures that have kept people away from bars, restaurants, cinemas — as well as some of the greatest cultural institutions in the world.

More:Theme parks will look different when they reopen. Disney, Universal, others unveil plans

“Welcome back,” said Rijksmuseum General Director Taco Dibbits as the first visitors filed into the vast museum in central Amsterdam

At the adjacent Van Gogh Museum the welcome came with — what else? — sunflowers. Any visitor leaving the museum was given one of the yellow flowers famously depicted by the Dutch painter’s brush to celebrate the re-opening.

Visitors leaving the reopened Van Gogh Museum were offered a free sunflower in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Monday, June 1, 2020. The Dutch government took a major step to relax the coronavirus lockdown, with bars, restaurants, cinemas and museums reopening under strict conditions.

Across the continent, museum officials rejoiced as visitors were let in again.

“Today is a day to celebrate, a day of great joy, said director Barbara Jatta, as her Vatican Museums reopened on Monday. “The significance of this reopening is hope. It is a great hope that we can return to the normality.”

Some 1,600 people reserved tickets in advance to see the Sistine Chapel and its sublime walls and ceilings on the first day the Vatican Museums opened to the public after a three-month coronavirus shutdown.

The show of people delighted Jatta. “I must say today is also a day of double celebration.”

Is international travel allowed yet? See when Spain, Mexico, Italy, UK plan to reopen borders

During peak summer months, the Vatican Museums routinely would have an hours-long line of tourists waiting to enter since there was no advance reservation system to schedule visit times.

In so many museums now, the phenomenon of over-tourism is making space for cultural tourism, especially since so few foreign visitors can come in.

Now, instead of standing shoulder to shoulder, only able to gaze upwards at Michelangelo’s ceiling, visitors had space to move and explore the exquisite details of the high Renaissance master.

Where suffocating throngs once forced everyone along in a sweaty shuffle, the only sensory impediment was a protective mask.

This picture taken on May 11, 2020 shows the social distancing marks on the ground at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. - Dutch restaurants, cafes, museums and theatres will be allowed to accommodate a maximum of 30 people, including staff respecting the social distancing rules from June 1, the Dutch government said.

In Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum there were, for once, more people depicted in Rembrandt’s Night Watch itself than visitors looking at them.

At the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, Spain, the price of one ticket bought this month will include a 3-month museum membership.

Museums all over the world have been struggling to get through the pandemic crisis and UNESCO has said that one in eight might have to close their doors for good. Some of the major institutions in Europe have been losing over 2 million euros ($2.2 million) a month.

Steadily, ever more of Europe’s main museums will reopen.

In Madrid, the Prado and Reina Sofia open again on Saturday.

In Paris, the Impressionist palace that is the Musée d’Orsay will open from June 23 and the Louvre, home of the Mona Lisa — perhaps the Girl with the Pearl Earring’s strongest rival — will welcome visitors again on July 6.

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/destinations/2020/06/02/coronavirus-european-museums-begin-reopen-after-shutdown/5316278002/

News Related

ORTHER NEWS

Trump’s ‘mission accomplished’ moment is premature and deadly. We have not defeated COVID.

Desperate for crowds and adoration, Trump has put his most fervent supporters at risk of getting a deadly disease. Future historians will be astonished. Read more »

NFLPA president JC Tretter says NFL is putting season, players at risk with its coronavirus approach

NFL Players Association president JC Tretter said Tuesday the NFL is putting the 2020 season at risk with its coronavirus approach, calling on the league to better “prioritize player safety.” “Like many other... Read more »

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro says he tested positive for the coronavirus

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro says he has tested positive for COVID-19 after months of downplaying the virus’ severity. Bolsonaro confirmed the test results while wearing a mask and... Read more »

Venice Film Festival forges ahead amid COVID-19 pandemic with reduced lineup

The show will go on for the Venice Film Festival in September, but with a few modifications due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizers said Tuesday that they are pushing forward with plans for... Read more »

Amtrak offers buy-one, get-one promotion on its sleeper trains amid COVID-19 — with a catch

Amtrak wants you to have sweet dreams the next time you travel — so much so that it’s sweetening the deal on its sleeper “roomettes.” The rail service is offering a buy-one-get-one-free discount... Read more »

Florida teen treated with hydroxychloroquine at home before dying of COVID-19, report says

FORT MEYERS, Fla. – The family of a 17-year-old Florida girl who died last month from COVID-19 treated her symptoms at home for nearly a week before taking her to a hospital, a... Read more »

Mookie Betts worried MLB coronavirus testing woes could prevent him from ever playing for Dodgers

During nearly four months away from the game, Mookie Betts said he “stayed away from baseball to keep myself sane.” It’s not hard to understand why. The 2018 American League Most Valuable Player... Read more »

Tom Hanks doesn’t get ‘how common sense has somehow been put into question’ with coronavirus

Read more »

Can Gov. DeSantis force Florida schools to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic? Some school leaders seem doubtful.

PALM BEACH, Fla. — As concern about the state order spread online, some school leaders said: Not so fast. As Florida educators puzzle over how to start the new academic year, Gov. Ron... Read more »

Texas surpasses 200,000 coronavirus cases after 4th of July holiday weekend

AUSTIN, Texas – Texas reached 200,000 total COVID-19 cases Monday, just 17 days after crossing the 100,000 threshold, a figure that took the state nearly four months to hit. The grim milestone came... Read more »