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Welcome to the City of Museums

With over forty museums, Basel can well boast of being one of Europe’s cities with the best contemporary cultural facilities. A large number of these numerous museums feature the plastic arts as their central theme, displaying works that range from antiquity to the present. The city’s penchant for collecting has its origins in the 16th century, when collectors hailed from both the private and public sectors. Several private collections have been opened to the public in recent years, augmenting the supply even further.

The Kunstmuseum Basel – the Beginning of Everything

This is the most significant museum in Basel and the largest in Switzerland. Its collections, which date back to 1662, feature works running from the Middle Ages up to the present. Hans Holbein enthusiasts are in for a treat if they come here, as it boasts one of the largest collections of this artist’s work.

The Beyeler Foundation – a European Collector’s Classic

This foundation, housing the collection of the spouses, Ernest and Hildy Beyeler, is one of the largest and most important in central Europe. It is a compendium of classical modern art, from Monet, Cézanne and Van Gogh to Picasso, Warhol, Lichtenstein and Bacon. The counterpoint to these figures is a display of tribal art from Africa, Oceania and Alaska, the contrast producing an interesting result. Also well worth seeing are the surroundings of the beautiful building – designed by Renzo Piano – with its priceless garden.

The Tinguely Museum – an In-Depth Look at the Artist’s Sculpture Machines

Dedicated to the life and work of the Swiss sculptor, Jean Tinguely. The interior of this original building, the work of the architect, Mario Botta, houses the sculpture machines that brought him fame, in addition to documentation, photographs and drawings of his work.

The Antikenmuseum (Museum of Antiquities) – in Search of the Classics

This is the only Swiss museum devoted to ancient Mediterranean art and civilisation. The collection features pieces dating from between the 4th millennium BC and the 7th century AD, sourced from the ancient Egyptian, Greek, Italic and Roman cultures, as well as works from the Near East and Cyprus. Featured are Greek ceramics and sculptures and the section dedicated to ancient Egypt.

Klingental – the Region’s Art Trends

Housed in the Klingental convent church, the Ausstellungsraum Klingental is dedicated to the region’s artistic production.

Schaulager – A Space for the Experts

The building housing this unusual space was designed by the Herzog & de Meuron architects studio. Directed at a specialist art audience, it also hosts events for the public at large and is innovative even in its conceptualisation. It is not intended to be a run-of-the-mill museum, but a storage facility open to the public which houses the undisplayed works of the Emanuel Hoffmann Foundation.

HeK – a Look at New Media in Art Production

The Haus der elektronischen Künste Basel (House of Electronic Arts Basel) specialises in art created using electronic media, known as “new media” or digital art. There are facilities for hosting all kinds of activities associated with these new trends in art. It also hosts the Forum for New Media, as well as Shift, Festival of Electronic Arts.

Schoenthal – Open-Air Sculpture

The former Romanesque convent of Schoenthal, situated half an hour from Basel, houses the Stiftung Sculpture at Schoenthal, a not-to-be-missed sculpture park featuring nearly twenty works by Swiss and international artists. The Romanesque church has been converted into a gallery for temporary exhibitions of contemporary artworks.

Have you taken note of all the art you can see in Basel? Check out our flights here and see it all first-hand.


Text by ISABELYLUIS Comunicación

Images by Forgemind ArchiMedia, Jean-Baptiste Maurice, John Lord, régine debatty, Rosmarie Voegtli

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European Car Free Day: The cities with the highest awareness

Want to join in European Car Free Day? The aim of this initiative held every 22 September is to raise awareness about climate change by encouraging people to make their routine journeys on foot, by bike or by public transport. This year, as well as leaving your car at home, we invite you to inject some fun into it: get away to the European cities that are implementing policies to favour pedestrians and take a quiet stroll through the streets without worrying about the traffic.

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Mulhouse la gran desconocida de Alsacia

In this part of France two cities hog most of the visitors – Strasbourg, undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in France, and Colmar, capital of the wine-producing region. However, the little known jewel in the newly created region of the Great East is Mulhouse, once an independent republic, located where three counties meet – France, Germany and Switzerland. Possibly on account of that privileged position, Mulhouse is now one of France’s most active cities in terms of creativity and culture, also partly driven by its importance in the 19th century as a textile centre, which has endowed the city with an interesting industrial heritage.

Mulhouse is the City of Art and History, the first city in the Alsace to be awarded this distinction. One of its major reference points is the Place de la Réunion, the heart of its historic centre, where the easily recognisable standout feature is the pink-coloured old Town Hall. Another landmark in the square is the Protestant Church of Saint-Étienne, with a campanile affording stunning views of the city. Permission is required to go up it.

Mulhouse was one of the first major centres of the textile industry in France. This is attested in the Museum of Printed Textiles, which each year hosts a thematic exhibition linked to some well-known designer. Likewise, the Wesserling Park - Textile Ecomuseum which offers dramatized tours and fashion shows. Other major draws include the examples of industrial architecture (reconditioned former brickwork factories), and the street art and contemporary art to be had in the city centre.

Another venue worth visiting is the Cité de l’Automobile (featuring the Schlumpf Collection), situated just five minutes from downtown Mulhouse. Considered one of the leading automobile museums in the world, it showcases over 400 vehicles, prominent among which is a large collection of Bugattis. The Automobile City, divided into five distinct areas, is a truly interactive museum. Interesting audiovisuals about the automobile industry are screened, while a number of simulators enable visitors to experience what it feels like to drive a racing car.

On the outskirts of Mulhouse, the town of Ungersheim is home to the Alsace Ecomuseum, the largest of its kind in France. Here you can learn about the traditional divisions of the Alsace, what their schools used to be like and what the leading trades were. The most important craftsmen were blacksmiths, cartwrights and potters. It is also amazing to see how they used to cook in earlier times, and how they distilled local spirits. Additionally, you can taste some authentic, traditional dishes like celery gelatine, potatoes with nettles and basil sorbet.

Lastly, if you want to try Alsatian cuisine, we recommend you head for a winstub, the equivalent of a pub in the Alsace – the Restaurant Le Cellier is an ideal example. There you can taste such local specialities as fleischschnakas, an exquisite dish of noodle dough stuffed with meat, flammkuchen or tarte flambée, thinly rolled out bread dough with a topping of raw onion, bacon and single cream, and sauerkraut, accompanied by delicious Alsace wines. And, the best place to go for a drink at night is Le Gambrinus where the atmosphere is welcoming and the craft beer is excellent (bière du Bollwerk).

Mulhouse lends itself to a weekend tour. The EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg, shared by France, Germany and Switzerland, is just 30 minutes away from the city centre. More information on the flights here.

Text by Tusdestinos.net

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Dürer’s Nuremberg

Albrecht Dürer’s “The praying hands” and “Young hare” are some of the most widely reproduced works in art history. But, would this great artist have liked his work to be engraved on chocolate bars or Christmas decorations? Probably not, as his paintings are featured in the most important art museums in the world. If you look close enough, some spots in the city of Nuremberg reveal traces of Albrecht Dürer.

The Artist in His Workshop

Albrecht Dürer was born on 21 May 1471 in Nuremberg and died on 6 April 1528. He is buried in Nuremberg’s Johannisfriedhof. His father, Albrecht Dürer the Elder, moved to this city from Hungary in 1455 and married the daughter of a goldsmith. Of his 19 children, only 3 males survived, all without issue.

His first self-portrait was painted in 1484 while training in his father’s goldsmithery. It is still preserved today. Since Albrecht Dürer intended to become a painter after training as a goldsmith, his father sent him to the workshop of the painter, Michael Wolgemut, between 1486 and 1490. There he learned painting, wood carving and metal engraving.

His training took him to Basel in 1492 and to Strasbourg in 1494, among other places, where he made a living by selling books. In 1494, Albrecht Dürer received a dowry of 200 florins after marrying Agnes Frey, the daughter of a Nuremberg goldsmith. This led Albrecht to open his first painting workshop. Thanks to his mother-in-law’s relatives, he was able to come into contact with the city's upper class.

A Medieval and Renaissance Man

Living in the early Renaissance led Albrecht Dürer to strive for perfection through the technological advances of the time. He was a multifaceted genius who, in addition to painting, also explored other genres such as drawing or art theory. Noteworthy are his studies of proportion, geometry and design. Here is a review of  his legacy in the city of Nuremberg.

First, some of his works are exhibited at the German National Museum (Germanisches Nationalmuseum), one of the world’s most important research centres for Albrecht Dürer. This museum also features exhibits of German culture from pre-history to the 20th century, the most notable of its kind in the country. Their permanent exhibition includes works by German painters and sculptors, as well as sections on archaeology, weapons and armour, musical and scientific instruments, and even toys. This museum also features Dürer’s “Hercules kills the Stymphalian Birds”. However, if you would like to discover the painter in his everyday and creative life, nothing better than visiting his own house. Dürer lived and worked in the Albrecht-Dürer-Haus from 1509 until his death in 1528. After a multimedia performance you can follow the audio guide tour of this 4-storey house, narrated by “Agnes”, Dürer’s wife. The highlights of this visit are the interactive demonstrations of his recreated workshop, a print store on the 3rd floor, and a gallery with his originals and reproductions in the attic.

Some 150 metres down the street, a monument dedicated to the artist – the ­ Albrecht Dürer Monument­ –stands in the Albrecht-Dürer-Platz. Interestingly, the Felsengänge lies beneath this monument. This is a 14th-century  underground labyrinth with four levels that used to house a brewery and a wine cellar. It was used as an air-raid shelter during World War II. You can visit this maze by going to the beer store on Burgstrasse 19.

Dürer’s Everyday Life Revisited

A good way of getting to know Dürer’s life in Nuremberg is by visiting the Stadtmuseum Fembohaus. This museum, which gives a comprehensive overview of the city’s history, features the restored rooms of a 16th-century merchant’s house. For taverns and eateries, look no further than Goldenes Posthorn. After going through its heavy copper door, you will find yourself in a gastronomic paradise that has been feeding Nuremberg citizens since 1498. Here you will find great local sausages, as well as many other country dishes – hard to find in other places – in addition to vegetarian options. Another tavern from those times is Marientorzwinger. This is Nuremberg’s last zwinger – a tavern built within the walls of old military quarters. This is a picturesque establishment offering wholesome Franconian produce, in addition to simple vegetable dishes. You can choose between their unpretentious dining room and the luxurious terrace. To drink, nothing better than a Tucher beer from Fürth.

To stay the night, we recommend the Dürer-Hotel, a four-star establishment located in the historic centre, right next to the Imperial Castle. Its bedrooms and lounges are uniquely decorated, perfectly combining tradition and modernity – after Albrecht Dürer’s perfectionist spirit. Oh, and, their cuisine is spectacular, with breakfasts that include confectionery, cold meats and local cheeses. Their products are high quality and organically produced in the region.

Dürer is synonymous with Nuremberg. Come and discover the city of this emblematic Renaissance artist. Remember, you can visit any time of the year. However, if you do so in spring or summer, the weather will likely be better, and you’ll be able to enjoy the old city’s splendid terrace cafés. Check out our flights here.

Text by ISABELYLUIS Comunicación

Images by ISABELYLUIS Comunicación, Tourismus Nuernberg

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