Belgium’s ‘Stay At Home Museum’ labelled the best lockdown show

The remarkable series about greatest Flemish masters are available online

Photo: Flemish Tourist Office. Jan van Eyck.

The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium partly reopened their doors with access to the Old Masters Museum since 19 May. Visitors are asked to buy their tickets online as much as possible, using the museum’s webshop, and are invited to follow an outlined trail through the collection.

The museum introduced a quota for visits per hour to spread the number of people safely throughout the day and those buying a ticket online, will be asked to choose a timeslot.

Step-by-step reopening of the Fin-de-Siècle Museum, Magritte Museum, Wiertz Museum and the Meunier Museum, are also under consideration, but always keeping an eye on the safety of both the visitors and staff.

During the crisis caused by the coronavirus epidemic, the Flemish Tourist Office, in partnership with several museums, kicked off Stay At Home Museum project to continue welcoming visitors despite the lockdown, by organising a virtual guided tour of the main museums in Flanders. The greatest Flemish masters were presented, from Van Eyck, to Bruegel and Rubens. There were also a question-and-answer sessions with an art expert after the visit. These tours are still available on YouTube, with sign language and subtitles in different languages. It is not a surprise that the BBC has even proclaimed this project the “best lockdown entertainment”.

The organisers of the project said that the Stay At Home Museum project is a real success. The first two virtual tours achieved more than 330,000 views from nearly 40 countries. In total, nearly 2.5 million art lovers have visited the Stay At Home Museum.

Art lovers can still admire Bruegel’s masterpieces on a guided tour of the second-largest collection of works by the artist in the world at Bruegel – Museum of Fine Arts Brussels led by Museum director Michel Draguet.

The Rubenshuis is the former home and workshop of Peter Paul Rubens in Antwerp. Purchased in 1610, Rubens had the Flemish townhouse renovated and extended on the basis of designs by Rubens himself. And its doors are open through Ben Van Beneden, the director of the Rubens House, who virtually delivered a personal tour of the home where the master painter lived and worked.

The project offers many other remarkable series, which are also worth seeing.


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