Get ready to add a few more line items to that European museums checklist, as new exhibits are sprouting continent-wide. Far from the standard Vatican-Louvre-Accademia itineraries, Europe’s latest openings investigate everything from pre-human species to the terror of Germany’s Third Reich. Whether you’re the artsy type or a history buff, we’ve rounded up three of our picks to tack onto your next trip.
The Metz Pompidou
In a move to spread France's cultural riches around the country, President Nicolas Sarkozy opened the Metz Pompidou May 12 in Metz, a small cathedral town 170 miles east of Paris. Instead of curating a permanent exhibition, the Metz will display six-month or yearlong rotations of artwork from the Paris Pompidou’s collection. The rotations kick off with “Masterpieces?,” which showcases more than 800 pieces from 20th-century greats such as Pollock, Miro, and Matisse and encourages visitors to question whether those artists deserve as much admiration as earlier masters.
Topography of Terror Museum
Hitler’s headquarters in Berlin – known as the “center of evil,” where the dictator housed his secret police Gestapo, a prison, and Nazi leaders – is now home to a museum and library that documents the Third Reich’s operations and Germany’s fallout after the war. The buildings opened May 7, and the new exhibits add substance to a site that, without a museum or many official displays, already drew more than 500,000 visitors each year.
The Neanderthal Museum
Launched in February in Krapina, Croatia, The Neanderthal Museum chronicles evolution in a 24-hour period (mankind first clocks in a 23:5) and uses all senses to recreate Stone Age life. Visitors can examine hyper-real statues of the ancient race and view Neanderthal remains, but the central exhibit pulls out all the stops: The smell of sweat and burning meat and Stone Age sound effects fill the room as a Neanderthal family gathers around a fire in a cave.